News release: Mayo Clinic pediatrician named Minnesota’s 2018 HPV vaccination champion

News Release
December 20, 2018

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Mayo Clinic pediatrician named Minnesota’s 2018 HPV vaccination champion

Award given by national cancer and public health organizations

Dr. Robert M. Jacobson, professor of pediatrics in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and pediatrician in the Mayo Clinic Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, has received Minnesota’s 2018 HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention ChampionAward for his continual efforts to promote human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination and its power to prevent cancer.    

Led jointly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Association of American Cancer Institutes and the American Cancer Society, the HPV Vaccine Is Cancer Prevention Champion Award program recognizes clinicians, clinics, practices, groups and health systems that are going above and beyond to foster HPV vaccination in their community.

The HPV vaccine is recommended for adolescents at age 11-12 years, but uptake has lagged far behind the other vaccines recommended at that age, which are meningococcal and Tdap vaccines. In Minnesota, only about 19.5 percent of 13-15-year-olds have completed the recommended HPV vaccination series. The story is different for Dr. Jacobson’s patients. For his 13-15-year-old patients seen in the last 24 months, 71.2 percent have completed the HPV vaccine series and he continues to strive for more.  

“Dr. Jacobson’s dedication and results can’t be ignored,” said Kris Ehresmann, director of the infectious disease division at the Minnesota Department of Health. “He is showing that there are effective strategies for improving HPV vaccination rates and protecting young people from dangerous cancers that can develop later in life.”

According to CDC, 33,700 women and men are diagnosed with a cancer caused by HPV infection each year in the United States, but more than 90 percent of these cancers could be prevented through HPV vaccination.

Low HPV vaccination rates have been attributed to vaccine hesitancy among parents, a lack of understanding about the benefits of the vaccine and not receiving a strong provider recommendation. Since the HPV vaccine was introduced in 2006, Jacobson has worked to help Mayo Clinic as well as other local, regional and national organizations improve HPV vaccination rates by addressing these issues. A few examples of his efforts include:

  • Giving numerous trainings and presentations to colleagues on how to strongly recommend HPV vaccine and have conversations with vaccine-hesitant parents.
  • Leading Mayo Clinic’s efforts to train pediatric residents in addressing vaccine hesitancy using a simulation training so they can practice having conversations with parents.
  • Serving on multiple vaccination workgroups and advisory committees both locally and nationally to advance vaccination best practices.

“Dr. Jacobson is an enthusiastic advocate for HPV vaccination locally, regionally and nationally,” said Lila Rutten, professor of health services research in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. “Our clinic and our community are incredibly grateful to have someone with such expertise and dedication to vaccination efforts.” 

Jacobson continues to try to learn more about effective ways to increase HPV vaccination rates. He was recently awarded five years of funding from the National Cancer Institute to evaluate evidence-based strategies to increase HPV vaccination in the primary care practice at Mayo Clinic.

The HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention Champion Award honors up to one champion from all 50 U.S. states, eight U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States, and the District of Columbia. Immunization programs submit nominations for the champion in their state or territory. Nominees must be aclinician, clinic, practice, group or health system that treats adolescents as part of their overall patient population and must have an HPV vaccine series completion rate at 60 percent or higher for their adolescent patient population.

To read Jacobson’s profile on CDC’s website, and to learn more about the HPV Vaccine Is Cancer Prevention Champion Award program, please visit HPV Vaccine Is Cancer Prevention Champion.


Media inquiries:

Doug Schultz
MDH Communications

Kelley Luckstein
Mayo Clinic Public Affairs