The Geographic Health Equity Alliance (GHEA) is partnering with SelfMade Health Network and Nuestras Voces Adelante Network to host a four-part webinar series titled “Upstream Approaches in Cancer Prevention”. This series focuses on policy, systems, and environmental change strategies that address upstream social determinants of health that contribute to an increased cancer burden and will focus on HPV vaccination, broadband access, food and nutritional security and the built environment.

Dr. Whitney Zahnd from the Advancing Cancer and Rural Equity (ACRE) Lab at the University of Iowa hosted part 1 of this series on February 22nd with a webinar titled: “Advocating for Policy Change to Support HPV Vaccination”. In this webinar, Dr. Zahnd addressed these objectives:

1) To use data to advocate for policy change to support Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination.

2) To identify partners and policy levers for HPV vaccination.

Dr. Zahnd focused on providing data resources that coalitions and partners could use to advocate for policy change. This includes leveraging public health data available at federal and state levels as well as collecting both qualitative and quantitative data at the local level. The use of both quantitative and qualitative data can pair numbers with stories to provide the biggest policy impacts. Some of the data resources that Dr. Zahnd highlighted include:

Additionally, Dr. Zahnd discussed the unique challenges of advocating for HPV vaccine policies in an era of vaccine hesitancy and misinformation. Both “Big P” and “Little P” policies should be considered in the advocacy process. “Big P” policies include those that can occur at a higher level (e.g., federal or state) through legislation or other governmental means such as laws providing pharmacists with the authority to administer HPV vaccines. “Little P” policies are those that occur on a private or non-governmental level, often within organizations and may include implementing provider reminders within EHR systems. Dr. Zahnd highlighted the following resources to assist coalitions in identifying partners and policy levers for HPV vaccination:

In addition to addressing these objectives, the role of partnerships and collaboration were discussed to advocate for policy change.  The webinar recording and slides are now available.

See below for more information on parts 2-4 of this webinar series:

  • Part 2: “Advocating for Policy Change to Support Expansion of Broadband Access” will be held March 21st at 1:30 PM EST. In this webinar, Dr. Whitney Zahnd from the Advancing Cancer and Rural Equity (ACRE) Lab at the University of Iowa will walk through steps to articulate the need for broadband access-related policies at various levels within states and the impact that broadband access has on cancer prevention and control. Additionally, it will describe data sources, policy levers, and partnerships necessary to advocate for meaningful change. Registration is now open.
  • Part 3: “Integrating Nutrition and Healthcare: The Essentials of the Food is Medicine Initiative” will be on Thursday, April 18th, 2024 at 2 PM EST. This webinar will feature Heather Latino from Harvad Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic, Meghana Sai Iragavarapu from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Pranaya Pahwa from Harvard Law School. The panelists will address how Food is Medicine (FIM) bridges the gap between our healthcare and food system, emphasizing the crucial role of nutritious food in preventing and managing chronic illnesses and enhancing overall health. This presentation will define the Food is Medicine approach, detailing its practical applications, benefits, and the funding strategies supporting these programs across the countryRegistration is now open.
  • Part 4: “Introduction to Built Environment Approaches for Addressing Health” will be held on May 7th at 12 PM EST. In this webinar Taylor March from Missourians for Responsible Transportation, a non-profit advocacy group addressing the built environment in rural and urban settings in Missouri, will lead us in looking at upstream cancer prevention through built environment approaches. Using examples from the experiences of MRT’s work in Missouri, attendees will gain insights into harnessing the power of environmental interventions to address social determinants of health and reduce cancer burden. We will look at the built environment’s role in shaping health outcomes, particularly in cancer prevention. With a focus on policy, systems, and environmental changes, we will delve into the intersectionality of factors such as urban planning, infrastructure, housing and the policy history of the United States’ development patterns in mitigating cancer risks. Registration will open soon.