Amy Wongsarnpigoon, Nurse Practitioner for Student Health Services, is a champion for change. The issues that some might view as problems, she chooses to see as opportunities for action and improvement. Her research on Human Papillomavirus vaccination counseling in college age males has been recognized by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care. NC State joins the AAAHC in celebrating Ms. Wongsarnpigoon as she is awarded the 2014 Bernard A. Kershner Innovations in Quality Improvement Award.
Human Papillomavirus is the single most prevalent sexually transmitted virus in our country, and among other serious side effects, can lead to cancer. It is commonly, but inaccurately, considered to be a disease that is relevant only to women. In actuality, more than 250,000 men in the United States are living with HPV. With a student population that is more than 56% male, it is a serious concern for NC State.
The HPV vaccine is available for both men and women. However, Wongsarnpigoon’s research indicated that an astounding 74% of NC State’s male students responded “No” or “Don’t Know” when asked if they had received the HPV vaccine, and early research determined that less than 10% of male students were educated by their physicians about the vaccine during physical exams. It quickly became evident that there existed a real need to increase awareness of the risks and the available options for prevention among young men.
In the fall of 2013, Wongsarnpigoon implemented a trial system to make educational materials available to males, and to increase recommendations for the HPV vaccine by Student Health Services physicians. She collaborated with other departments on campus and made vital changes to the patient Electronic Medical Record (EMR), making it easy to share educational information on the spot. The EMR was also updated to allow healthcare providers to document each time a patient was educated about the HPV vaccine. As a result of Wongsarnpigoon’s efforts, the number of males who were offered the HPV vaccine increased by more than half—a critical stride towards addressing one of the most pressing health concerns on our campus.
We will always take inspiration from those individuals who are compelled to give thoughtful consideration to the concerns of the many. We are humbled to call such instrumental people –people like Amy Wongsarnpigoon—part of the Wolfpack community.