HPV Vaccination Steering Committee Members

An 11-member Steering Committee was selected based on their organizations’ involvement in HPV vaccination activities or prevention of HPV-associated cancers, their ability to deliver education or vaccination, or their expertise relevant to expanding HPV vaccination. The Steering Committee provides leadership and vision for the Roundtable to help advance its mission, guides planning and implementation of Roundtable projects, and approves Roundtable membership.

Chair: Noel Brewer, PhD
Vice-Chair: Debbie Saslow, PhD

  • American Academy of Family Physicians (Margot Savoy, MD, MPH)
  • American Academy of Pediatrics (Sharon Humiston, MD, MPH)
  • American Cancer Society (Vice-Chair - Debbie Saslow, PhD)
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (Rebecca Perkins, MD, MSc)
  • Association of Immunization Managers (Bethany Kintigh)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Melinda Wharton, MD, MPH)
  • Cervical Cancer-Free North Carolina (Chair - Noel Brewer, PhD)
  • Immunization Action Coalition (Litjen Tan, MS, PhD)
  • National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (Tami Thomas, PhD, RN, CPNP)
  • National Cancer Institute (Sarah Korbrin)
  • National Vaccine Program Office Prevent Cancer Foundation (Bruce Gellin, MD, MPH)
  • Prevent Cancer Foundation (Karen Peterson, PhD)

Steering Committee Member Bios

Noel T. Brewer, PhD
Professor of Health Behavior, University of North Carolina; Member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

Brewer studies how people make risky health decisions. His current work focuses on increasing HPV vaccination, communicating the harms of smoking, and encouraging appropriate use of cancer screening tests. Brewer is Associate Editor of Health Psychology Review. He co-edited the FDA’s book on risk communication, Communicating Risks and Benefits: An Evidence-Based User’s Guides.

Bruce Gellin, MD, MPH
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health; Director, National Vaccine Program Office, HHS

As Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health and Director of the National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO), Gellin is one of our nation’s top experts on vaccines and infectious diseases. NVPO was created by Congress to provide leadership and coordination among federal agencies and other immunization stakeholders, including states and municipalities, health care providers, and private-sector entities such as vaccine manufacturers.

Sharon Humiston, MD, MPH, FAAP
Professor of Pediatrics, Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Missouri

Humiston is a clinician and health services researcher; her research focuses on innovative and practical approaches to improve vaccine delivery. She provides leadership on HPV vaccination initiatives for both the Academic Pediatric Association (APA) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). She also serves as Associate Director for Research, for the Immunization Action Coalition. She is a Scientific Advisory Board member for the Autism Science Foundation and Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases. Humiston previously worked in the Training Education Branch of CDC’s National Immunization Program. She has served as the representative from AAP on the Roundtable and the Roundtable Steering Committee from the effort’s inception. Humiston is a graduate of Antioch College and Medical College of Ohio and completed her training in pediatrics at University of Iowa.

Karen Peterson, PhD
Vice President, Programs, Prevent Cancer Foundation

Peterson has experience in social science applications to health and medicine, with interests focusing on divisions of labor. She currently serves as Vice President of Programs at the Prevent Cancer Foundation, where she has provided leadership for mission-driven programs in research, education and community outreach in cancer prevention and early detection. She has led development teams producing materials that include a culturally appropriate peer education curriculum for Latinas, Champions against Breast Cancer (Las campeonas contra el cáncer de seno), and Breast Health Education for Young Women, a skills-based interactive approach for high school students. At the Foundation, she also led an expansion of the Dialogue for Action in Cancer Screening as an annual national conference to include projects with 17 states and 10 tribes and urban Indian health organizations. Currently, Dr. Peterson is a member of the National HPV Vaccination Roundtable of the American Cancer Society. Previously, she served on the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable and as a co‐editor on How to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening Rate in Practice: A Primary Care Clinician’s Evidence‐Based Toolbox and Guide, an NCCRT publication. Before joining the Foundation, Dr. Peterson was head of educational development and evaluation for disease prevention education at the National Headquarters of American Red Cross, Associate Professor of Sociology at Drake University and Adjunct Associate Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University. She received her master’s and doctoral degrees in Sociology and a Certificate in African Studies from Northwestern University and her BA cum laude from Indiana University.

Rebecca Perkins, MD, MSc
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Boston University School of Medicine/ Boston Medical Center

Perkins has been actively involved in cervical cancer prevention research since 2003. Her work focuses on attitudes toward Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination in parents of low-income, minority adolescents in the United States and the providers who serve them. She is also studying interventions to improve HPV vaccination rates in low-income, minority adolescents. She is currently working with the American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Cancer Society and CDC on national HPV vaccination work.

Debbie Saslow, PhD
Director of Cancer Control Intervention (HPV & Women's Cancers), American Cancer Society

Saslow has been with the American Cancer Society for the past 18 years. She is responsible for developing and updating ACS guidelines, including guidelines for breast and cervical cancer screening and for HPV vaccination. She ensures that ACS information and policies related to women’s cancers are scientifically accurate and current, and has been instrumental in building collaborative relationships with organizations across the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors globally as well as within the U.S. She has co-authored many articles in peer-reviewed journals, and is frequently quoted in news and magazine articles. Saslow is also the Principal Investigator on two cooperative agreements to increase HPV vaccination, and serves as the Vice-Chair of the National HPV Vaccination Roundtable. Before joining the American Cancer Society, Saslow was coordinator of the President’s National Action Plan on Breast Cancer. She received her undergraduate degree in biology with honors from Brown University, her PhD in human and molecular genetics from Yale University, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institutes’ Laboratory of Pathology in Women’s Cancers.

Margot Savoy, MD, MPH, FAAFP, FABC, CPE
Medical Director, Christiana Care Health System Department of Family & Community Medicine in Wilmington, Delaware/ State of Delaware Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services

As a level 2 core faculty member of the Christiana Care Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine/Family Medicine residency programs and Clinical Assistant Professor at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College- Thomas Jefferson University, Savoy sees patients at The Family Medicine Center and rounds on inpatients at Wilmington Hospital. Savoy graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2002, completed Family Medicine Residency Program at the Crozer-Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program (Springfield, PA) in 2005 and graduated from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health in 2008 with a Masters in Public Health in Public Health Leadership with a focus on Public Health Practice. She is certified by the American Board of Family Medicine, the Certifying Commission in Medical Management, and a Fellow of the Advisory Board Company. Savoy has a wide range of immunization experience at both the local and national level. In addition to continuing to work on implementing quality improvement around vaccination delivery and counseling at her practices, she serves on the Immunization Council of Delaware and Delaware Department of Health Immunization committee. She completed the AAFP Vaccine Science Fellowship and continues to work with the AAFP to encourage practices working to improve their vaccine rates as an advisor to the Adolescent Immunization Champion project and Vaccine Science Fellowship. She is the AAFP liaison to the ACIP and serves on the HPV and smallpox workgroups.

Litjen (L.J) Tan, MS, PhD
Chief Strategy Officer, Immunization Action Coalition

Tan joined the immunization Action Coalitionin 2013. Prior to that, L.J was the Director of Medicine and Public Health at the American Medical Association (AMA) for 15 years. Dr. Tan also serves as Co-Chair of the National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit, together with the CDC and the NVPO. Dr. Tan recently served on the National Quality Forum’s Adult Immunizations Expert Committee, and currently serves on the Pharmacy Quality Alliance’s Adult Immunization Working Group, on the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Vaccine Study Group (EVASG), and as an editor for the Journal for Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, BMC Infectious Diseases and for Medscape Infectious Diseases. He just completed his term as an elected member of the federal National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC). He still serves on the NVAC’s HPV and Vaccine Confidence working groups. Previously, L.J chaired the Immunization Infrastructure WG and also served on the vaccine safety WG. Dr. Tan also served as a liaison member of the federal Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) for 12 years, and he still serves on the Adult Immunization working group. Previously, L.J also served on the influenza, zoster, and evidence-based working groups.

Tami L. Thomas, PhD, RN
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs/Tenured Associate Professor, Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Florida International University

Thomas serves on the Steering Committee for the National HPV Vaccine Roundtable. She represents the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP), established in 1973, NAPNAP is the professional association for pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) and other advanced practice nurses who care for children. Thomas is a graduate of the University of Florida where she received her BSN, MSN and PhD in Nursing with a minor in Epidemiology in 2006. Dr. Thomas serves on the National Research Committee of NAPNAP, is the elected National Chair of NAPNAP’s immunization Special Interest Group and serves as the current President of the South East Region for the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine. Her research has been funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Institute of Health. Her scholarly work has been presented nationally and internationally with her publications cited frequently in health disparities research. She is a lifelong advocate of underserved children and families and has dedicated her career to disseminating knowledge and enhancing access to primary care for adolescents experiencing health disparities. Dr. Thomas has advocated for improved health for disadvantaged adolescents for more than 20 years. She is both energetic and passionate about her area of nursing expertise, and has consulted with policy makers both state-wide and nationally to inform current advanced nursing practice and to act as a catalyst for enhancing the health care delivery system. She has a well-established program of research on risk factors for sexually transmitted infections and the HPV virus. The knowledge she is generating from this work promotes health equity for millions of children worldwide. Dr. Thomas’s commitment to pediatric nursing and research has resulted in numerous leadership, advocacy and advisory roles.

Melinda Wharton, MD, MPH
Director, Immunization Services Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases

Warton received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. She completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical Center, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and her infectious diseases fellowship at the Duke University Medical Center, in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Wharton joined CDC as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer in 1986 and was assigned to the Tennessee Department of Health and Environment in Nashville, TN. In 1989, she began work as a medical epidemiologist in the Epidemiology Program Office, CDC. She joined CDC’s immunization program in 1992, and since that time has held a variety of positions of increasing responsibility. From 2006 to 2013 she served as Deputy Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. In December 2013 she became the Director, Immunization Services Division, NCIRD. She has worked extensively on issues related to vaccine policy, vaccine safety science, and public health response. Dr. Wharton has authored or co-authored more than 80 scientific journal articles, book chapters, and CDC publications.