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Home 9 All 9 CenCal Health Awarded American Cancer Society Grant to Improve HPV Vaccination Rates in Santa Barbara County

CenCal Health Awarded American Cancer Society Grant to Improve HPV Vaccination Rates in Santa Barbara County

Dec 18, 2018

Grant Will Fund Expansion of Program to All Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics

CenCal Health recently received a Collaborative Cancer Control Project Grant from the American Cancer Society to improve vaccination rates for human papillomavirus (HPV) in South Santa Barbara county. The $10,000 award will be used to implement multiple HPV vaccination improvement projects in partnership with the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics. HPV is a common virus that infects 4 out of 5 people at some point in their lives, and can lead to cervical, anal, and throat cancers and to genital warts.

“One of our key cancer control priorities is to prevent HPV cancers by increasing HPV vaccination,” said Raquel Arias, State Health Systems Manager at the American Cancer Society. “Engaging partners like health plans and federally qualified health centers is critical to drive HPV vaccination rate improvement. We are excited to be supporting CenCal Health and Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics in their efforts to protect families from HPV cancers.”

The HPV vaccine is a safe and effective cancer prevention vaccine, but vaccination rates remain low. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that in 2017 only 49% of adolescents were up to date on all of the recommended doses of the HPV vaccine. CenCal Health, the local Medicaid plan, achieved an HPV vaccination rate of 52% for 2017 in Santa Barbara County. The American Cancer Society has set the ambitious goal of 80% HPV vaccination in the U.S. by 2026.

In November of 2017, CenCal Health saw a noticeable difference in HPV vaccination rates between north and south Santa Barbara County, and has been in the planning stages of a targeted improvement project for south county starting at the Isla Vista Neighborhood Clinic. This grant will allow CenCal Health and the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics to expand the improvement project to all Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics.

Beginning January 2019, CenCal Health plans to utilize digital education tools to support the HPV vaccination project. Upon arrival at a clinic, patients will be presented with tablet

computers in the waiting room or exam room. The digital education tool is expected to promote the importance of, and improve knowledge of the HPV vaccination. The goal is to increase the vaccination coverage level of 2 doses of the HPV vaccine by age 13 for both females and males, as recommended by the CDC. The education program using hand-held digital devices is projected to be a sustainable long-term intervention to maintain improved HPV vaccination completeness among adolescents.

CenCal Health also plans to hold targeted trainings on HPV vaccination best practices with Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics and work with staff to identify an HPV vaccination champion at each location. In addition, guardians of adolescents who are due for HPV vaccination will receive co-branded reminder notifications to schedule an appointment to have their child vaccinated. “We are pleased to partner with CenCal Health on this project as a means for reducing the risk of HPV-related cancers,” said Dr. Charles Fenzi, CEO/CMO for Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics.

CenCal Health will track the progress of these interventions through December 2019 to determine effectiveness and best practices, which can then be shared with other primary care physicians within its network.

“We have previously partnered with the American Cancer Society on HPV vaccination rate improvement,” said Bob Freeman, CenCal Health CEO. “Their funding of our program in cooperation with the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics will undoubtedly increase the vaccination numbers in south Santa Barbara County, preventing HPV cancer and improving lives”.

About CenCal Health

Serving the community since 1983, CenCal Health provides comprehensive health coverage to nearly 180,000 men, women and children enrolled in Medi-Cal. This regional health plan partners with over 1,500 local physicians and other providers to deliver quality patient care to approximately 1 in 4 residents of Santa Barbara County and 1 in 5 residents of San Luis Obispo County. CenCal Health also collaborates with community-based organizations to address social determinants of health while increasing members’ access to medical care and reducing costs. The oldest Medicaid managed care plan of its kind, CenCal Health is a local public agency that employs close to 250 people at offices in both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. For more information, visit

About American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society’s mission is to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer. With the help of millions of supporters, the American Cancer Society launches breakthrough research, creates empowering resources for people to outsmart cancer, enables local communities to support those affected, and convenes powerful activists to create awareness and impact.

About Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics

SBNC consists of 4 medical clinics, 2 dental clinics, an integrated care clinic and health promotion services. They are a critical health safety net for Santa Barbara County and provide care to over 21,000 unduplicated patients a year, or 1 out of 10 people in this community.

Press Contact: Sheri Mobley (805) 845-5627, (213) 509-9816