Skip to the content

Importance Of HPV Vaccine To Be Discussed At Free Event April 5

Importance Of HPV Vaccine To Be Discussed At Free Event April 5

Nationally Known Entertainer And Speaker Christine Baze To Appear

Berks Community Health Center (BCHC) is pleased to invite the public to “A Talk About the HPV Vaccine,” on Thursday, April 5, starting at 6 PM at the Miller Center for the Arts, Reading Area Community College, 4 North 2nd Street in Reading.

 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)  infections cause over 17,000 cancers in women and over 9,000 cancers in men each year, and are thought to cause 70% of oral and throat cancers in the United States.  In Pennsylvania, HPV rates are the lowest of the three vaccinations recommended for adolescents aged 11-12, and are much lower than the Healthy People goal of 80% coverage. Per the 2017 National Immunization Teen Survey, the completed vaccination rate for Pennsylvania is 58% for females and 44% for males, for a combined total of 51%. The vaccine is recommended for boys and girls starting at age 11-12, and for young adults through age 26.

“BCHC received a grant to sponsor this educational event for the community, in support of raising the rate of HPV vaccination among our eligible patients and to increase awareness in the community of the importance of HPV vaccination,” said BCHC CEO Mary Kargbo.  The health center will also improve screening for oral cancers through this grant by purchasing Veloscopes for all dental rooms, and will be using reminders and other outreach activities to increase the vaccination rate.  The funding came from The Pennsylvania Department of Health, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (Department). 

Christine Baze is the featured speaker and she will share her story of surviving cervical cancer, and explain why she wants to make sure teens, young adults, and parents know about the (HPV) vaccine and how it can prevent cancers in both females and males.   Christine Baze is a musician, cervical cancer survivor, Founder and Executive Director of The Yellow Umbrella Organization.  As a cervical cancer survivor and advocate, she has stood in front of more than 85,000 people, including policy makers, groups, and consumers to share her story, music, hugs and tears to create awareness of HPV, cervical cancer, and opportunities to prevent this deadly disease.

Of note, Christine was named one of MS. magazine’s “50 Women of the Year” in 2003, she was given a Presidential Leadership Award in 2005, and in 2007 was named one of the nine “Women Who Shape the World” in Shape magazine. She has shared the stage and opened for a number of national musicians including:  Sheryl Crow, Ben Folds, Kaki King and The Fray.  Most recently Christine can be seen in the award winning documentary, “Someone You Love: The HPV Epidemic,” as one of 5 women whose lives were forever changed by HPV and cervical cancer.

Christine served one year as a committee member for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health HPV Initiative, in addition to being a member of the steering committee for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Cancer Control and Prevention Network, and co-chair for the HPV workgroup.  Currently Christine serves as a member of the National HPV Roundtable.

The doors will open at 6 PM, Christine Baze will appear at 6:30 PM, followed by questions and answers moderated by Berks Community Health Center Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Mary Kelleher, at 7:30 PM.  Every attendee will receive a free raffle ticket, and several gift cards and gift packages will be raffled off during the event.

The public is invited to attend.  Additional support for the event has been provided by the Reading Area Community College Nursing Program, the Berks Immunization Coalition, and the Cancer Committee of Penn State Health-St. Joseph’s Cancer Center.