ORLANDO Fla., Jan. 29, 2019 – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently recognized Alix Casler, M.D., chief of pediatrics at Orlando Health Physician Associates (OHPA) and medical director of Orlando Health’s department of population health and value based care, for her leadership role in a quality improvement project to increase HPV vaccination rates at OHPA offices throughout Central Florida.
In August 2013, Dr. Casler and a group of 22 pediatricians across 10 offices initiated the quality improvement project to evaluate and improve their HPV vaccination rate after learning that OHPA lagged far behind the national average rate for HPV vaccination.
The project featured physician and staff education, short-, intermediate- and long-term goal-setting, multiple patient and systems level interventions, and transparent sharing of data. By the end of 2014, Casler and her team were seeing success as OHPA’s HPV vaccination rates surpassed the National Immunization Survey (NIS) 2014 rates. Since then, vaccination rates throughout the practice have continued to climb, approaching and even surpassing national goals set by the CDC.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by the CDC and shine a spotlight on a very dedicated group of pediatricians working to protect the lives of the patients in our care,” stated Dr. Casler. “We want what is best for our children and we know the importance of the HPV vaccine as a deterrent to life-threatening illness in the future. This project is reproducible anywhere, so we hope it inspires other physician groups around the country to improve their HPV vaccination processes.”
According to the CDC, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). 79 million Americans, most in their late teens and early 20s, are infected with virus. In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. But when HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems like genital warts and tens of thousands of cancers per year in both men and women. It can cause cervical and other cancers including cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, or anus. It is also the most common cause of cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils.
The HPV vaccine has been given more than 270 million times, and prevents diseases (including cancers) caused by HPV when given in the recommended age groups. The CDC recommends 11 to 12 year olds get two doses of HPV vaccine to protect against cancers caused by HPV.
About Orlando Health Physician Associates
Orlando Health Physician Associates is one of the largest multi-specialty healthcare groups in Central Florida, including more than 100 physicians specializing in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology. Each office is a patient-centered medical home serving all primary care needs for more than 500,000 patients in the region. For more information, visit www.orlandohealth.com.