Vaccinations rise in response to raised awareness about HPV

Since the school’s October 6, 2014 X-block presentation about the HPV virus, 14 girls have requested this vaccination from the Health Center, says Pia Manna, Director of the Health Center. The Health Center also offered a discussion at lunch that week to offer students more information and answer any additional questions. Ms. Manna added that she thought the presentation was “a great balance between scientific information and the realistic impact [HPV] has.”

Three authorities on HPV presented, each person providing different perspective on the topic. Dr. Ellis Reinherz, father of Anna Reinherz ’15, is a medical professor who works at Dana Farber Cancer Institute and spoke about the scientific side of HPV. Mary-Jo Murphy talked about her personal experience with cancer and offered a view on HPV as a survivor.  She now is an advocate for patients and hopes to continue spreading knowledge and aid prevention of the HPV virus. Alana Stewart, a close friend of actress Farrah Fawcett and president of the Farrah Fawcett Foundation, also presented at this X-block.

This assembly reached many students who then decided to take action in prevention. HPV is not a well-known virus in China, so many international students had never heard of the virus or the vaccination. Jessica Xie ’15 is one of the many international students who had never heard of HPV before. She said that the X-block was “helpful” and “interesting” for her and others who were unaware of this topic.

Anna Reinherz helped to organize the presentation. She met Alana Stewart through her father, who had worked with The Farrah Fawcett Foundation for a couple years. After talking to Stewart personally, Reinherz said she realized that it’s a bigger issue than just donating money to a charity. Her hope for the presentation was that people “felt educated,” and she commented that “It was really nice to see students react positively to the X-block; I’m hoping to work more with [the presenters] to help promote awareness.” Reinherz also says that she and Stewart were “so excited” about the Dana Hall students choosing to get vaccinated, as that is “what we really wanted.”

For further information about HPV or obtaining the vaccination, contact the Health Center.

Photo credit: Christine Romeo.

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