Film, Expert Panel Address Ongoing HPV Epidemic


Take the total population of California, Texas, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Michigan, add a couple hundred thousand – and one can understand the prevalence of Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

The Centers for Disease Control reports 80 million people have the virus and 14 million more become infected each year.

“It’s become an extremely serious problem and we want to educate parents about how they can protect their children from becoming one of those statistics,” said Robert Sprunk, M.D., a pediatrician at Munson Medical Center and panelist for an event on Tuesday, Sept. 18.

The film “Someone You Love – The HPV Epidemic” and a panel of experts will address the dangers of the disease and the importance of children receiving the HPV vaccine.

The program from 6 - 8 p.m. in Northwestern Michigan College’s Scholars Hall will provide participants awareness of the ramifications of HPV which can cause serious health issues including genital warts and cancer.

In addition to Dr. Sprunk, the panel of experts will include:

  • Leah Walbridge, M.D., of Northwest Michigan Health Services and Munson Family Practice
  • William Lee, D.D.S., with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
  • David P. Michelin, M.D., a gynecologic cancer surgeon at Cowell Family Cancer Center

Also on hand to speak will be Rebecca St. Clair, a cervical cancer survivor and Rebecca Gallegos, R.N., an oncology nurse at Cowell Family Cancer Center and a parent.

The event is sponsored by the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics & Neonatal Nurses, Grand Traverse County Health Department, Munson Medical Center Cowell Family Cancer Center, Northern Michigan Oral Health Coalition, Oncology Nursing Society – Michigan Traverse Bay Region, and Northwest Michigan Health Services.

For more information, go to or call 800-533-5520.