An educational intervention to improve attitudes regarding HPV vaccination and comfort with counseling among US medical students

Abbey B. Berenson, Jacqueline M. Hirth, Erika L. Fuchs, Mihyun Chang, Richard E. Rupp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Many medical students are not comfortable recommending the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine because they do not feel prepared to discuss it with their patients. A prior study demonstrated that this is particularly a problem among unvaccinated students. Our purpose was to determine if medical student attitudes and comfort with counseling could be improved by attending a single lecture delivered by an expert on the topic. To assess the effects of the educational program, we conducted pre- and posttests on medical students before and after a single lecture on HPV vaccination. Changes in items related to attitude and comfort were examined. Student characteristics associated with changes in scores were also examined and compared. A total of 256 medical students participated in the pre- and posttests. Before the lecture, students demonstrated low knowledge of HPV vaccination and did not feel comfortable counseling parents of younger patients. However, students <30 years of age demonstrated significant improvements after the lecture in comfort. Asian and Hispanic students showed the greatest improvement in comfort with counseling, as did students who reported they had not received the HPV vaccine. Attending a single lecture given by an expert can improve medical students’ attitudes and comfort with HPV vaccine counseling, especially if the students were not vaccinated themselves. This study suggests that including material on HPV vaccination in the standard medical student curriculum could help increase physician recommendation for the HPV vaccine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1139-1144
Number of pages6
JournalHuman Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 3 2020


  • HPV vaccination
  • education initiatives
  • educational programs
  • medical students
  • provider attitudes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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