Lisa Flowers’ lesson for students at the New Schools at Carver starts up close and personal. The Emory gynecologist is projecting pictures of a cancer lesion on the cervix, followed by another picture of the anal canal infected with genital warts. She already has the room’s attention when she asks, “Do you want these warts on your penis?” Flowers will launch her full curriculum, “HPV Un-censored” at two Atlanta schools, Grady High School and the New Schools at Carver this spring. The course, offered once a week over 14 weeks, drives home the point that the human papillioma virus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease, can cause cervical cancer. And just as important, it is preventable. “Often kids don’t relate to cancer because they think it is an old person’s disease,” says Flowers, “but they need to know that cervical cancer can affect women as young as 28.” Parents were on board with the program well before Flowers ever entered the Carver classroom. In fact, she wants to reach and educate parents as much as their students. Along with the classroom teacher, Candace Henry, and several Emory medical students, she held an open house for parents to explain what they would cover in the classes and why. “We get the parents on board so they don’t think we’re trying to get their kids to have sex,” Flowers says. “Sometimes there is a fear that if we talk about sex, that will encourage kids to have sex. That simply is not true. Information prevents disease. I believe in the power of information.” Why does Flowers believe that this curriculum belongs in the high schools? May kids initiate sexual activity as early as 12, she says, and she wants to spread the power of information while there is still time. “We could offer the course in college, but by then, we’ve really missed the boat,” says Flowers. The curriculum is hands-on. With help from Emory medical students, Flowers presents real-life case studies, leads games to reinforce the information, leads role play exercises to involve the teens, and assesses knowledge, health practices, and behavioral actions related to sexually transmitted infections (STIs). “We make them think of the risk factors of a STI. We make a point of making it real.” At the program’s end, the high schools have learned to call body parts by their correct names rather than slang terms, they’ve explored models of bodies, and they’ve learned that HPV causes cancer and that they can prevent it. For their final assignment, they make a group presentation to their community and parents, sharing the knowledge of what they’ve learned about STIs and HPV with others. This winter and spring, Flowers will work with students at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health to measure the effectiveness of the effectiveness of the curriculum and refine it based on the results - RM. WEB Connection: To see a video of Flowers discussing the HPV vaccine visit - http://bit.ly/lisaflowers
“With Love We Learn” African American Initiative
"With Love We Learn" - Train the Trainer
The Spirit Foundation Incorporated, lead by Dr. Lisa Flowers, MD, is once again creating a presence in the fight for HPV and Cervical Cancer Prevention, by way of the educational training program, “Con Amor Aprendemos” or “With Love We Learn”. This program, which was initially implemented in the Latin American community, has been modified for enactment in the African American community. Evidence-based research has identified the need for a program of this caliber in the African American community. As the Spirit Foundation reaches out in collaborative efforts to the faith-based organizations, the relationship here builds trust between the clinician, the educators, and the community; therefore making the program more successful in educating faith-based leaders and couples on HPV and Cervical Cancer awareness. The first local community 2012 “Train-the-Trainer” program was held at Berean Christian Church in Decatur, Georgia. Community faith-based leaders were supported by medical professionals in the prevention of the HPV (Human Pappiloma Virus) the contributing cause of cervical cancer. Participants were rewarded with fun incentives as well as increased knowledge, skills and abilities to be used when they implement the program within their organization.