The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County will host the first of many Healthy Community Conversations on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 6 p.m., at St. Petersburg College, Douglas L. Jamerson Midtown Center, 1300 22nd St. S., St. Petersburg.
The collaborative event, provided by numerous community partners, will highlight the Human Papilloma Virus with a no-cost screening of the feature length documentary “Someone You Love: The HPV Epidemic.” A panel discussion featuring experts in the medical field – Dr. David Berman, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, and Dr. Greg H. Savel, Myrtle Avenue Pediatrics – will follow the screening.
Florida is one of only 11 states that has a sponsored public screening license, meaning the screenings are provided at no cost to the public thanks to a private donor.
“The film is that powerful and someone felt this message needed to get out,” said Andrea Peaten, Community Immunization Liaison at DOH-Pinellas. The film provides viewers with an in-depth look in to the lives of five women who have been affected by HPV. This life-changing documentary sheds much needed light on the “risks, myths, problems, politics, misconceptions and hard truths about the widespread epidemic.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV infections are so common that nearly all men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives. Florida is among the highest in the country for HPV-related cancers and DOH-Pinellas, which also heads the Pinellas HPV Partnerships Council, sees this as an opportunity to increase HPV vaccination rates in boys and girls and advance efforts to prevent HPV-related cancers here in Pinellas County.
The department is one of many community partners involved in the creation of the “Healthy Community Conversations.” These partners include Gwendolyn Reese of Peaten Reese Peaten Consulting, Terri Lipsey-Scott of the African American Museum, Frank Jurkovic of St. Petersburg College, Thelma Bruce of the National Council of Negro Women, Carol Alexander of Next Step Pregnancy Center, Veatrice Farrell, Deuces Live Main Street, and Maisha Kambon, M.D. The group will host several community conversations and screenings at no cost to the public. The next event will be held in late November at SPC’s Gibbs Campus.