Reaching American Indian youth with HPV education

July 28, 2014

Almost all cervical cancers are linked to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV vaccinations and routine Pap tests make cervical cancer one of the most preventable cancers. Unfortunately, the cervical cancer mortality rate for American Indian women is 5 times that of the U.S. rate. This death rate, coupled with low vaccination rates and a lack of culturally appropriate cancer prevention education materials for American Indians make the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Community Grant to the Minnesota Cancer Alliance so important.

“There is a lack of knowledge and awareness about HPV and the vaccine,” noted Heather Hirsch, Cancer Program Manager for the Minnesota Department of Health. This grant will help reach American Indian youth aged 11-18 years and their parents with educational materials for HPV vaccinations.


“The parents have provided significant feedback about why certain messages and photos do or don’t speak to them or seem relevant to their families, thus underscoring the need for development of culturally tailored materials,” added Ms. Hirsch. The project also includes the distribution of the educational materials and reminder mailings through Minnesota Cancer Alliance’s partner organizations serving American Indian communities throughout the state.

minnesotacancerallianceThe Minnesota Cancer Alliance is one of four 2014 Grantees awarded $10,000 for projects to increase cancer prevention at the community level. Prevent Cancer is fortunate to distribute community grants thanks to our funders. The Minnesota Cancer Alliance is one such partner in the country doing great work at the critical community level.

Increased HPV vaccination rates have the potential to greatly reduce cervical cancer deaths. There is a great need to educate American Indian communities about vaccination and promote uptake. The Foundation is proud to support the vital work of the Minnesota Cancer Alliance in addressing cervical cancer and HPV-associated cancers in Indian Country.

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