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Teens need vaccines, too

Vaccinations are routine for the vast majority of infants, toddlers, and schoolchildren. But the threat of disease persists into the adolescent years, and millions of teenagers in the US are not protected against infections that can be deadly—influenza, human papillomavirus (HPV, which causes cervical cancer), and bacterial meningitis, an illness that strikes suddenly and can rapidly be fatal.

To bring needed focus to this public health challenge, PRI Healthcare Solutions is partnering with the world’s leading vaccine manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, to help raise awareness and create an action plan designed to improve vaccine coverage rates in adolescent patients.

The result of this collaboration is the Adolescent Immunization Initiative (AII), gathering a group of 18 experts from a variety of medical disciplines representing all regions of the country. The specific focus of the initiative is to push for national recognition of age 16 as a critical time for vaccinating youngsters because they are at high risk for potentially life-threatening communicable diseases.

Adolescents between ages 16 and 21 are at high risk of meningitis and other forms of meningococcal disease, a rare but often fatal illness that can strike and kill within 24 hours. But only 1 in 3 eligible adolescents is receiving the booster dose that is recommended at 16 years of age. Rates of immunization against HPV are also below established national goals. And fewer than half of teens ages 13 to 17 get their flu shot.

The AII held 2 meetings in 2016, including a day-long interactive workshop in Baltimore and a virtual meeting in December, with another live meeting to take place in 2017. Co-moderators are David P. Greenberg, MD, Sanofi Pasteur and LJ Tan, Chief Strategy Officer for the Immunization Action Coalition, a national advocacy group.

The AII represents a unique blend of PRI’s own research and our ability to elicit and synthesize the best thinking of the best people in the field. Our goal is to inform and inspire AII members, all of whom are leaders in their specialties, to deliver a clear call to action to their constituencies and create momentum for a change in national vaccination policy as well as a change in day-to-day patient care. We want to make immunization top of mind for health care professionals, parents, and young patients alike.

Haymarket Medical Education Wins National Award in Continuing Education

PRI’s sister company, Haymarket Medical Education (HME), has been selected as the winner of the 2017 Outstanding Enduring Material CE Activity Award by the Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions (ACEhp).

This is the fifth time HME has been recognized by the ACEhp. This prestigious award serves to further validate the work HME offers on behalf of their commercial supporters in providing high quality continuing medical education CME/CE activities to healthcare providers.

The award was selected based on HME’s work on a comprehensive, integrated educational CME/CE initiative titled: “Patient-Centered Paradigms in the Management of Obesity and Weight-Related Comorbidities.” HME partnered with Boston University School of Medicine, the Obesity Action Coalition, and Pack Health in a series of programs supported by unrestricted educational grants from Takeda Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. and Novo Nordisk.

The educational curriculum included:

  • A 20-minute audio podcast providing a succinct review of obesity management guidelines from national organizations
  • A 30-minute webcast exploring optimal use of pharmacologic therapy for weight loss and improvement of weight-related health risks
  • A 30-minute webcast discussing the importance of patient engagement in obesity management and presenting practical, evidence-based strategies.

Participants also had an opportunity to receive complimentary educational packets to help in managing and motivating overweight and obese patients. The packets included food diaries, a nutritional index for common foods, and links to patient self-help groups. Contact information was provided for a nurse specialist who is available to answer questions and provide support.

“Obesity is such a critical health problem in the US. I’m so pleased that this important educational activity is being recognized,” said Krista Sierra, Director of Grant and Content Development at HME. “We’ve received many positive comments from participants, who say it has helped them make meaningful changes in the way they practice.”

The HME team will be honored at an awards ceremony and luncheon on January 28, 2017 during the Alliance’s 42nd Annual Conference in San Francisco.

Raising Alzheimer’s Awareness—and Doing It for Pop

On a rainy, chilly Saturday morning in October, Jervilyn Jaramillo bundled up and took a walk in the park. She wasn’t alone.

Jervilyn and 767 others who trekked up to 3 miles through a county park in northern New Jersey had a common purpose, a common bond: to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and to raise funds for research that will lead to better treatments and, someday, a cure.

Jervilyn, a marketing campaign manager for PRI Healthcare Solutions, was walking on behalf of her father, Toribio, better known as Pop. He has had Alzheimer’s for more than 8 years and is living 3,000 miles away in Oregon with his wife, older daughter, and son-in-law.

“It’s hard to be so far away, but we are very close as a family,” says Jervilyn. When the Alzheimer’s Association announced its annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Jervilyn was quick to sign up, pledging to take that walk in the park in honor of her father and millions of others. As captain of Team POPcorn, she turned to friends and family, including her Haymarket/PRI family, asking them to support her participation in the Walk with a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association. She set a team goal of $1,000.

The Friends of Pop came through in a big way. More than 20 Haymarket/PRI colleagues contributed to Jervilyn’s efforts, many of them doing so in loving memory of a parent or grandparent who had suffered from Alzheimer’s.

“My family and I are truly overwhelmed by their generous response,” Jervilyn notes. “Several of my colleagues shared with me their own stories of dealing with the impact of this devastating disease in their own families.”

At the end of a rainy day there was a clear ray of sunshine: TeamPOPcorn raised $1,755, putting it in the top 25 of 147 teams participating in the northern New Jersey Walk. In all, the local event raised more than $152,000. Nationally, the Walk takes place in more than 600 communities.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the US, resulting in more deaths than diabetes or flu. Today, 5 million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s, a figure that is expected to grow to 16 million by 2050.

“We have to find a cure,” Jervilyn says, “if not for my father then for other fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers in the future.”

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