Ann Blackford


College: Communication & Information

Intervention Proves Successful in Protecting Appalachian Women From Cervical Cancer

Published: Jan 22, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 22, 2013) — An intervention created by a group of University of Kentucky faculty has proven successful in encouraging young women in an area of eastern Kentucky to complete the series of HPV vaccines to guard against cervical cancer.


In 2012, cervical cancer affected approximately 12,000 women in the United States and was responsible for another 4,200 deaths. In rural eastern Kentucky, women are more likely to die from cervical cancer than women residing elsewhere in the United States.


“The worst part about these statistics is that no woman should ever experience cervical cancer,” said Robin Vanderpool, assistant professor of health behavior in the University of Kentucky College of Public Health.


Cervical cancer, a disease that is both preventable and treatable, remains a national public health concern particularly for women in medically underserved communities, such as those in Appalachian Kentucky. 


The most common prevention strategy currently is the three-dose human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Despite the availability of the HPV vaccine, evidence suggests that young women are simply not completing the entire vaccination series as recommended for full cancer prevention.


UK faculty from the College of Public Health, College of Communication and Information, and Rural Cancer Prevention Center collaborated on the development and implementation of a DVD intervention designed to promote the completion of the HPV vaccination series among young adult women in the Appalachian communities of the Kentucky River Health District.


“Getting these women in the door for the first [HPV vaccine] dose is only half the battle,” reported Vanderpool, the corresponding author for the project. “We are focused on helping these women finish all three doses and follow-up with age-appropriate screening [Pap testing]. The challenge is staying engaged with the patient through the six-month vaccination schedule.”


Additionally, the research team wanted to  teach young women about the value of having regularly scheduled Pap tests throughout their lives and reinforcing this as being necessary even after having all three doses of the vaccine. So, the idea of “1-2-3 Pap” was created. After talking with young women from the community to understand barriers to vaccination and Pap testing, Elisia Cohen, associate professor in the Department of Communication, developed a 13-minute DVD message using local ‘stars’ from Appalachian Kentucky.


"We found that young women were eager to participate and had important stories and advice to tell,” reported Cohen.  “These women provided credible scripts explaining why receiving all three doses of the HPV vaccine combined with screening for cervical cancer, were two ways their generation can now protect themselves against this deadly disease.”


The video targeted women ages 18-26 years old, and encouraged them to make their own choice about completing the vaccination series. The research team partnered with nurses from the local health departments and set up free vaccine administration sites throughout the community in popular local places. The video was shown to a randomized group of young women after receiving the first dose of the HPV vaccine, and followed-up with standard reminder phone calls for the remaining dosages.  


The researchers were impressed to find that the DVD worked. Young women enrolled in the DVD intervention were 2.5 times more likely to come back and complete the HPV vaccination series compared to women receiving standard-of-care (reminder phone calls only). More importantly, these results translate to fewer women being at risk for cervical cancer.


The research team is looking forward to seeing this effect in similar campaigns. “These findings can be replicated for other subpopulations, and scaled to fit statewide or even national campaigns,” said Vanderpool. “We are excited to see how this can impact the health of other communities.”


In the future, the UK colleagues are interested in engaging health care providers in this campaign. By gaining the support of practitioners, this intervention could be taken to new environments, such as doctors' offices or even schools.


This project was funded as part of the five-year cooperative agreement awarded from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and appears in January’s issue of the Journal of Communication, the flagship publication of the International Communication Association, all communications specialists, and policy makers.


These findings highlight the recent success of a cervical cancer intervention in a medically underserved population. The researchers hope to help raise awareness throughout the month of January, National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. To learn more about what you can do, please visit the Cervical Cancer-Free America website at




MEDIA CONTACT: Ann blackford at (859)323-6442 or


Employee Educational Assistance Award
Labor Day - Academic Holiday
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Internship Info Session
Student/Faculty/Staff Mixer
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: The Wolf of Wall Street
Last Day to Add a Class
Last Day to Drop a Course with 80% Refund
UK Volunteer Fair
LNFS Presents: Children of Men
LNFS Presents: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Black and Latino Male Initiative
Advance Your Swagger: A Night with Fonzworth Bentely
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Northern Iowa
Kentucky Volleyball vs. USC
LNFS Presents: Spirited Away
LNFS Presents: Mulan
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Football vs. Ohio
#maxfest (Ukirklex Campus Ministry)
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Creighton
Lets Swing Dance!
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Morehead State
Diversity Organization's Council
Kosher/Soul? (Jewish, African American & Appalachian culture Fuse)
Working Moms Connection
Job Club - Job Search Strategies for Fall
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Massage on the Go
College: Do the Right Thing- A conversation with Dr. Smith
The Future of Islam
LNFS Presents: Fight Club
9/11 Vigil
UKNABJ presents: Ferguson, Missouri: A look at media, politics and black youth in the U.S.
LNFS Presents: Mr & Mrs Smith
Duo Damiana, Molly Barth and Dieter Hennings
LNFS Presents: 22 Jump Street
LNFS Presents: Searching For Sugarman
LNFS Presents: Sin City
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Men's Soccer vs. ETSU
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Pepperdine
Kentucky Week Farmer's MarCat and Craft Fair
Majestic U.N.I.T.Y.
Justice Delayed not Justice Denied: A Talk with Dough Jones
PRHBTN Gallery Reception and Concert
Men's Soccer vs. Xavier
Chellgren Seminar Series: Buck Ryan
Internship Info Session
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Caregiver Support Group
LNFS Presents: The Immigrant
Big Blue Commonwealth
LNFS Presents: Watermark
LNFS Presents: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Ryan Gardner Guest Trumpet Recital
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Lipscomb
LNFS Presents: A Band Called Death
LNFS Presents: Prisoners
The Case for Fossil Fuels-PEIK Seminar
Men's Soccer vs. Furman
Rock Climbing @ Red River Gorge
College of Pharmacy Open House
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Xavier
Diana Ferrus: 'Writing poetry has allowed me to live': Cultural Resistance in South Africa
Kentucky Law Schools Forum
Pinterest Party
University of Kentucky Chamber Winds
Employer Showcase
Job Club - 10 Questions to Ask Prior to Starting a Business
Men's Soccer vs. Lousville
Employer Showcase
Last Day to Drop a Course with 50% Refund
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn
BPH Open House
Documentary Film Screening - Heaven + Earth + Joe Davis
LNFS Presents: Saving Mr. Banks
LNFS Presents: Culture Jam
LNFS Presents: Maleficent
LNFS Presents: Ponyo
LNFS Presents: The Little Mermaid
Opening Night Bohemiam Festival
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
Women's Soccer vs. Mississippi State
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
Kentucky Football vs. Vanderbilt
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Green Apple Day of Service: "Pick It Up"
Swing Dancing!
White Water Rafting @ Chattooga River
UK Chorale
Dirty Dancing Trip
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Auburn
#TrendingTopics: Immigration Reform
Apollo Duo - Flute and Percussion Guest Recital
Reset Page