The St. Jude HPV Cancer Prevention Program recently convened a “think tank” to inform actions to improve HPV vaccination coverage within rural communities. In simplest terms, the reason for this think tank is because in rural areas of the United States, people experience higher rates of HPV cancers and have lower HPV vaccination coverage as compared to people living in more urban areas. Rural life is a choice made by 1 in 5 people, but they do not choose to be at higher risk of cancers, including HPV cancers. We must do more to make sure those living in rural America are protected too.
A think tank is a group organized for interdisciplinary discussion and debate to provide advice to inform action. Think tanks can create social and intellectual settings for people to dig deep into challenging issues, establish common ground and move an agenda forward that seeks to address the challenge.
Our think tank focuses on problem solving and igniting action. We have convened a group of experts and thought leaders to share bold, creative ideas, put forth suggestions and also push back. The think tank structure is designed to result in actionable steps for us at St. Jude and our networks and partners. This group of assembled experts is tackling the persistent challenge in HPV cancer prevention in rural areas with honesty, transparency and fearlessness. The think tank will meet formally through the end of August.
We will share the outcomes of the think tank process on our website stjude.org/hpvrural. We invite you to join the listserv to stay connected to these efforts. We also have resources available for your use today:
We are gathering existing resources focused on improving HPV vaccination within rural communities in the U.S. If you have resources to share, please email us at PreventHPV@stjude.org.