Blog: What is All for Them?

Published: September 29, 2023

All for Them is an initiative run by UTHealth Houston School of Public Health in collaboration with a number of academic, health, and community-based partners. The project’s mission is to increase the number of Texas youth who get the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine. The All for Them team pursues this mission using several evidence-based strategies, including:

  • Coordinating and implementing free mobile vaccination clinics at middle and high schools in partnering school districts.
  • Educating parents through informative social media posts and advertisements, in-person outreach events, and digital and printed resources.
  • Supporting district school nurses’ advocacy for the HPV vaccine with a Continuing Nursing Education course.

In practice, All for Them has empowered thousands of Texas families to protect their children and teens from cancer in the future by getting the HPV vaccine series.

Vaccination Clinics: Protecting Health Now and in the Future

By offering free mobile vaccination clinics at schools, All for Them provides families a convenient way to get their children and teens vaccinated. Parents do not have to take time off from work or worry about braving traffic on the way to a doctor’s office. By filling out the consent forms in advance, parents do not have to attend an All for Them clinic (but are welcome to do so) — and students do not have to miss more than 20 to 30 minutes of class. Youths can get all of the recommended childhood and adolescent vaccines at an All for Them clinic, including Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis), HPV, meningococcal, and more.

Since 2017, 6,600 youth have received at least one vaccine during 282 All for Them clinics. Of those students, 4,544 received the HPV vaccine, which protects against six types of cancer as well as genital warts. Most of the students who did not receive the HPV vaccine were already up to date on the series, not yet due for the next dose at the time of the clinic, or not eligible for the vaccine. 

“This is a passion project. Being able to actually prevent cancer for people is something that we haven’t been able to do in our lifetime,” said Paula Cuccaro, PhD, All for Them program director. “To know that there’s somebody in this group of young people getting vaccinated who won’t have a cancer in the future because of this is really exciting.”

Parent Education: Meeting Families Where They Are

Education is a fundamental part of All for Them’s mission to help families stay healthy. Organic social media posts share the benefits of vaccination, the risks of HPV, and other information, while paid social media ads inform parents about All for Them vaccination clinics at their child’s campus. The All for Them website includes answers to frequently asked questions, links to health data from reputable sources, and testimonials from survivors of HPV-related cancers.

All for Them connects with families whenever possible. By attending 260 health fairs, back-to-school events, information sessions, and other gatherings, the All for Them team has directly engaged with more than 14,500 parents and students. The team estimates that it has distributed more than 170,000 HPV vaccine fact sheets to parents and students to date.

“We have vaccine-hesitant parents in most communities that we go out to. We like to meet the parents where they are and empower them to make that decision,” said Mayra Aguilar McBride, an All for Them coordinator. “We ask what their concerns about the HPV vaccine are and address them. Some parents, after they’ve asked questions, have changed their minds on the spot about initiating the HPV vaccine series for their child.”

School Nurses: On the Front Line of Health Advocacy

School nurses represent a trusted source of health information for district families. Refreshing these health care professionals on the most updated information about HPV ensures that they can pass the knowledge along to the families at their schools and provide strong recommendations for HPV vaccination.

All for Them developed an online educational course to support school nurses as they advocate for healthy practices among their students. During the course, nurses have the opportunity to learn about HPV’s impact — 8 out of 10 adults get HPV during their lifetime — and practice having conversations about HPV vaccine with parents. They also hear from fellow school nurses about how they have included the HPV vaccine in their discussions about students obtaining all the recommended vaccines. At times, course information is presented in-person at districtwide nurse meetings.

To date, nurses and other health professionals have participated in 830 HPV education sessions from All for Them.

What’s Next for All for Them?

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) recently awarded All for Them a dissemination grant to develop an implementation and dissemination strategy for school districts and health care providers to use its proven methods to increase HPV vaccination in Texas communities.

“We want school districts to take ownership of All for Them to tailor it in a way that works for them while also retaining the core components that we have found to be effective,” said Efrat Gabay, MPH, All for Them senior program manager. “It has truly been an honor to bring All for Them and our approach to adolescent immunizations to multiple school districts across the state, and we hope that we have the opportunity to continue to grow that impact.”

If you are interested in bringing All for Them to your school district, email us at AllForThem@uth.tmc.edu.

All for Them is funded by CPRIT grant PP200017 and supported by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Learn more about All for Them at AllForThemVaccines.com. Follow All for Them on FacebookInstagram, and X (Twitter)