Getting Social, Creating Change

karen peak

Using Social Channels to Create Awareness for HPV

MPH Nurses Making an Impact

Since 2006, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has been available for young adults but it has been largely underutilized, says Master of Public Health (MPH) professor and Chamberlain Doctor of Nursing Practice graduate Karen Peak, DNP, MPH, RN. She discovered a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that stated only 65 percent of females and 56 percent of males received the HPV vaccine, which were low numbers compared to the school-required Tdap (tetanus) vaccine that has an 88 percent use rate.

Under Dr. Peak’s direction, an eight-week social media campaign was created to increase awareness of the harmful effects of HPV (e.g., cervical cancer) with a goal to increase the number of vaccines administered to children ages 9 to 17 at her practicum site – a small, local public health department in Missouri. Through a combination of Facebook, Twitter and the practicum site’s website, Dr. Peak distributed messaging intended to target parents of children within the children’s targeted age range. 

By the end of the campaign, the practicum site saw a 150 percent increase in the number of HPV vaccines administered in the targeted population – far more than Dr. Peak’s goal of increasing the number by 50 percent. 

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