MSc student receives CIHR award to attend upcoming Design Jam event

Two men holding hands as they walk through a park
Improving HPV vaccine uptake rates in MSM to be the focus

Monday, February 12, 2018

UBC SPPH MSc student Ace Chan has received an award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to attend and participate in the Design Jam taking place in Vancouver on February 23-24, 2018.

Developed by the CIHR Institute of Gender and Health, the Design Jam brings together researchers and individuals with different and complementary knowledge, expertise, and lived experience to develop innovative and effective knowledge translation and exchange solutions.

Ace’s research focusses on cancer prevention in the LGBTQI2S community. At the Design Jam, they will have the opportunity to work collaboratively to use design thinking and creative problem-solving to bridge the knowledge-to-action gap between health care practice and research evidence relating to HPV vaccination in men who have sex with men (MSM).

HPV is a known risk factor for anal cancer and the risk of HPV-infection and HPV-related cancers are higher in MSM. To prevent HPV-infection, HPV vaccination is currently recommended as a prophylactic vaccine for this subgroup up to age 26. However, despite HPV vaccination recommendations for the MSM population, uptake remains low and a significant barrier results from missed opportunities to vaccinate.

Health care provider recommendations have been determined to be the strongest predictor of uptake, but many health care providers report having poor knowledge of the benefits of HPV vaccine in MSM. This is further compounded by the fact that there tends to be a lack of knowledge among MSM regarding their risk for HPV. This represents a knowledge-to-action gap between research knowledge, clinical practice, and the MSM community. Bridging this gap could significantly reduce mortality and morbidity related to anal cancer.

Ace’s work in this area builds on the research of their master’s thesis, which focusses on the barriers associated with cervical cancer screening in the LGBTQI2S population.