Candidate: Sherrie Wallington, PhD, MA, Assistant Professor of Oncology;, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC), Georgetown University (GUMC) Medical Center, Washington, DC. Dr. Wallington's chief academic and research goal is to transition to independence as a social and behavioral scientist investigating the role of health communication to address cancer health disparities. Environment: Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center is a high-quality research environment and is well suited for the success of Dr. Wallington's career development experience, proposed research, and her transition to an independent scientist. In the event of an award, the institution is committed to ensuring that Dr. Wallington fulfills all the requirement of this award, as detailed in the Director's letter (see Institutional Environment component of this proposal). Research: This proposed research emphasizes the need to increase knowledge of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and the HPV vaccine among low-income African-American mothers, a population that lacks HPV knowledge and has a high incidence of cervical cancer. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is estimated to be the most common sexually transmitted infection. High-risk HPV types can cause cervical, anal, and other genital cancers. However, public awareness and understanding of the sexually transmitted human papillomaviruses and the available HPV vaccine are low, particularly among racial ethnic minorities and women of low socioeconomic status. In the District of Columbia (DC), legislation passed in 2007 mandates that all female students enrolling in the sixth grade at a DC school must received the HPV vaccine or not received the HPV vaccine because of an opt-out clause. Many DC parents and community groups have questioned the efficacy of the vaccine, the clarity of the current opt-out form, and the failure of DC to provide a visible HPV public information campaign. DC has the highest cervical cancer rates in the United States. This lack of HPV education is leading to significant knowledge gaps and communication inequalities, particularly among minority and underserved populations, in the access to information and the inability of parents to make informed decisions with balanced and accurate information. To achieve a significant effect on combating cervical cancer, eliminating HPV knowledge gaps is essential. One strategy is to first educate mothers. Thus, this study seeks to develop a health communication randomized controlled HPV educational intervention in DC that targets African-American mothers who have unvaccinated daughters between the ages of 9 and 17. Participants will be randomized into one of two arms, a group intervention arm or a wait-listed control group arm.
The specific aims and hypotheses to be tested are:
Aim 1 : To conduct a randomized controlled trial health communication intervention to increase knowledge awareness about HPV and the HPV vaccine among low socioeconomic status African-American mothers. H1: African-American mothers receiving the group educational intervention will have greater HPV and HPV vaccine knowledge awareness compared to the wait-listed control group;
and Aim 2 : To assess the factors associated with mothers acceptability or non-acceptability of the HPV vaccine for their daughters. H2: Mothers receiving the group educational intervention will have greater HPV vaccine acceptability for their daughters than the wait-listed control group. Findings from this research will assist with translating and disseminating HPV evidenced-based findings to a population with low HPV knowledge awareness and high cervical cancer rates thereby addressing the important goal of reducing and eliminating cervical cancer disparities. [H3: Daughters of mothers receiving the group educational intervention will have a higher rate of vaccine uptake than daughters of mothers in the control group.]

Public Health Relevance

of this research is that it seeks to translate and disseminate evidence-based findings about HPV to a population with a heavy burden of cervical cancer and represents an extraordinary opportunity to reduce and eliminate HPV and cervical cancer disparities.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1-RTRB-E (M1))
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Ojeifo, John O
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Georgetown University
Internal Medicine/Medicine
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United States
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Harvey, Valerie M; Patel, Hitesh; Sandhu, Sophia et al. (2014) Social determinants of racial and ethnic disparities in cutaneous melanoma outcomes. Cancer Control 21:343-9
Sween, Jennifer; Wallington, Sherrie Flynt; Sheppard, Vanessa et al. (2014) The role of exergaming in improving physical activity: a review. J Phys Act Health 11:864-70
Monnat, Shannon M; Wallington, Sherrie Flynt (2013) Is there an association between maternal pap test use and adolescent human papillomavirus vaccination? J Adolesc Health 52:212-8
Mueller, Noel T; Noone, Anne-Michelle; Luta, Gheorghe et al. (2012) Information channels associated with awareness of human papillomavirus infections and vaccination among Latino immigrants from safety net clinics. J Immigr Minor Health 14:183-8