March 19, 2019
Kevin Ault, MD, Obstetrics and Gynecology, has been appointed to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II. This federal committee is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and formulates vaccine policy for the United States. Dr. Ault will serve a four-year term.
“It’s an incredible honor to be appointed to this committee, which has an important role providing advice and guidance on the control of diseases preventable by vaccines,” Dr. Ault said.
Individuals comprising ACIP’s 15-member committee are experts in a variety of fields including vaccinology, immunology, pediatrics and internal medicine. Dr. Ault’s career has centered around the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which protects against HPV-related cancers, including cervical, anal, oropharyngeal (middle throat) and other genital cancers. About 14 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year.
“Over the last 10 to 12 years, cervical cancer rates have slowly gone down. That is partially due to uptake of the HPV vaccination,” Dr. Ault said. “In recent years, however, the incidence of another HPV-related cancer has increased – head and neck cancers, particularly among men.”
Dr. Ault anticipates that ACIP will explore the epidemiologic factors affecting this phenomenon, as well as evaluate new HPV vaccine data. Research data on a possible new vaccination for RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) will be another area of focus.
Previously, Dr. Ault had been the liaison member from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to the ACIP. He is the second OB-GYN to be appointed to this committee in the past 50 years.