The Oregon Health Authority and American Cancer Society recently honored Dr. Stewart Decker with an award of excellence for his promotion of human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination in Klamath County, according to a news release.
Decker, a primary care physician at Sky Lakes Medical Center, was lauded for his individual contributions toward the promotion of the cancer preventing vaccine, while Douglas County’s Evergreen Family Medicine received organizational honors. The awards were announced at the June 11 Oregon HPV Summit in Keizer.
Decker is working with Klamath County Public Health (KCPH) to facilitate local medical provider outreach regarding the HPV vaccine and cancer prevention. His efforts are related to a KCPH grant-funded program looking to reduce the prevalence of communicable disease in Klamath and Jackson counties, while also promoting the cancer prevention properties of the HPV vaccine.
An April 2019 BBC report indicated that research in Scotland found the vaccine “has nearly wiped out cases of cervical pre-cancer in young women since an immunization program was introduced 10 years ago.” They found the vaccine had led to a 90 percent reduction in pre-cancerous cells, and the nation is now also promoting the vaccine to young men.
Locally, Decker led efforts to improve immunization rates for both boys and girls, including training for medical providers, research to understand community practices, and support of a multi-agency HPV messaging campaign targeting the parents of pre-teens.
“He has served as a bridge between public health and primary care to create a network of professionals working together to further our common goal of HPV-related cancer prevention,” said Katherine Duarte, a KCPH program coordinator who works closely with Decker.
More information about the HPV vaccine is available at cancer.org/HPV.