IPVC 2021 Virtual Poster Walk with Dr. Jennifer L Gills

IPVC 2021 Virtual Poster Walk with Dr. Jennifer L Gills

Dr. Jennifer L Gills, Postdoctoral Fellow, Vaccine Evaluation Center, British Columbia Children’s Hospital Research Institute and School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Canada

Judging by my difficulty in narrowing down which insightful posters to highlight from the Public Health, Epidemiology, and Implementation Science track, the tagline for the 34th Annual International Papillomavirus Conference, IPVC2021, could not be more accurate… “Research & Education for HPV Elimination” a lofty goal? According to the outstanding research at IPVC2021, I think not!

To realize elimination of HPV and associated cancers as public health threats, we must ensure equity in access to and participation in HPV prevention. Santella et al used qualitative methods as part of a larger community-based participatory research project to examine barriers and facilitators to HPV self-sampling among Inuit women in Canada, who have disproportionately higher rates of cervical cancer than the general Canadian population. In their poster, “PERCEPTIONS OF INUIT WOMEN AND NON-INUIT HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF HPV SELF-SAMPLING AS AN ALTERNATIVE CERVICAL CANCER SCREENING METHOD IN NUNAVIK, NORTHERN QUÉBEC”, Santella et al note that Inuit women and their non-Inuit care providers had largely concordant views, identifying the key barrier as being a system founded on Western values and practices. Facilitators were identified to promote HPV self-sampling including co-developing and utilizing culturally responsive educational strategies.

There are numerous posters highlighting the importance of education for achieving our collective goal of eliminating HPV-associated cancers. The ingenuity of our community in this respect is inspiring (see posters by Lee et al #274 and Szwarc et al #472). The Risk-based Screening for Cervical Cancer (RISCC) project team has developed a resource to support training healthcare providers for optimal implementation of HPV-based screening programs by providing up-to-date evidence curated by leaders in HPV research (Bruni et alUP-TO-DATE OPEN-ACCESS COURSE ON HPV-BASED CERVICAL CANCER SCREENING”). The team is working to expand the existing, well-received training modules to increase their relevance globally, particularly to support adoption and implementation of HPV-based screening in low-resource settings.

There is a series of great posters from the Proyecto Precancer study team, who recognize that “an effective healthcare system is needed to prevent cervical cancer deaths”. Their poster, “APPLYING DELIBERATIVE DIALOGUE TO IMPROVE FOLLOW UP OF HPV POSITIVE WOMEN IN IQUITOS, PERU”, brings their implementation science focus to the forefront, presenting results from the impactful knowledge translation technique, deliberative dialogue. The ‘solutions-focused’ approach not only identified pressing issues that prevented follow-up for HPV positive women, but also identified community assets that could be leveraged to overcome such issues. This body of work highlights concrete ways we can support people in their HPV-associated cancer care because, as noted in their poster, “DAY OR NIGHT, NO MATTER WHAT, I WILL GO”: WOMEN’S PERSPECTIVES ON CHALLENGES OF RECEIVING FOLLOW-UP AFTER ABNORMAL CERVICAL CANCER SCREENING RESULTS IN IQUITOS, PERU, people are highly motivated to participate in HPV prevention but need systems-level support to overcome any barriers.

These and all the other great posters at IPVC2021 remind us that our community continues to work to make HPV and associated cancers a thing of the past. But you be the judge and check out the rigorous and innovative science… “Research & Education for HPV Elimination” … lofty goal or credible future?