<![CDATA[Hepatitis B Initiative of Washington, D.C. - News]]>Mon, 30 Nov 2015 14:25:00 -0800EditMySite<![CDATA[Founder speaks at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences]]>Sun, 22 Nov 2015 10:07:46 GMThttp://www.hbi-dc.org/news/founder-speaks-at-george-washington-university-school-of-medicine-and-health-sciencesLeslie Hsu Oh will be presenting "The Untold Story of Hepatitis B" to students at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences on Tuesday, November 23 at GW SMHS Ross Hall, 2300 I St NW, Washington, DC 20052. Her talk is sponsored by the GW Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association, Infectious Disease Interest Group, and Social Justice Interest Group. Anyone is welcome to attend. Please RSVP to Emmeline Ha at hae@gwmail.gwu.edu, preferably by Monday morning so she can obtain your access to the building.]]><![CDATA[Founder Leslie Hsu Oh speaks in Boston at a journalist workshop]]>Fri, 17 Jul 2015 11:53:07 GMThttp://www.hbi-dc.org/news/founder-leslie-hsu-oh-speaks-in-boston-at-a-journalist-workshopOn July 16, 2015, Leslie Hsu Oh spoke in Boston at an Asian American Journalist Workshop sponsored by Gilead. Panelists included Dr. Rong Guan, Co-Medical Director at South Cove Community Health Center where HBI first launched free hepatitis B screenings and vaccinations; Dr. Daryl Lau, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of Translational Liver Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center who is a former HBI-Boston Advisor; Chhan Touch, Nurse practitioner at Metta Health Center, and Team HBV at Harvard Shirley Mo and Dylan Tan, who work closely with HBI-Boston at MAP for Health.

SinoVision interviewed Leslie on July 16, 2015: http://video.sinovision.net/?id=29558&cid=120
Sampan Newspaper published this article on July 24, 2015:  http://sampan.org/2015/07/asian-americans-face-increased-hepatitis-risk

Stay tuned for more photos and stories from: Boston Chinese News, Sing Tao Newspapers, and World Journal.

<![CDATA[Congressional Viral Hepatitis Reception]]>Tue, 12 May 2015 20:02:35 GMThttp://www.hbi-dc.org/news/congressional-viral-hepatitis-reception

We are pleased to share the speech Founder Leslie Hsu Oh made at Congressional Viral Hepatitis Reception:

Tonight, I'm speaking on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves. These include my mother, brother, Ryan's Gill, Tom Lee and anyone who lost their life to viral hepatitis.  This also includes 4.4 million Americans living with chronic hepatitis B or C and the 5 million Americans who do not know they are infected.

It is this latter group that I belonged to about 20 years ago when my brother phoned me in the middle of the night. This phone call will result in the loss of my entire family in a few years.

I was nineteen, just a few months into enjoying my college life, when my 17-year-old brother woke one night in pain. There were no symptoms, no warning, to prepare us for the news that he had liver cancer caused by hepatitis B. And my mother also had hepatitis B.

Jon-Jon died shortly after his 18th birthday.

A week later, we haven't even buried my brother yet and my mother was diagnosed with liver cancer. A journalist and photographer, she spent the next two months writing a memoir about Jon-Jon’s illness without mentioning her own. A year later, she died never knowing that her book was translated into Chinese and continues to be published internationally.

Since the doctor explained to her that the majority of Asians contract the virus from mother to child during birth, my mother tormented herself with the questions:
Was this all my fault? Did I kill my son?

In those days, the hepatitis B vaccine was not administered to infants or required for daycare or school so even though my mother was pro-vaccine and diligent about our health-checkups, no one ever screened or vaccinated us for hepatitis B.

My mother died a few weeks before my twenty-first birthday. She died on the day of her twenty fifth anniversary. My father sold everything that reminded him of my mother and brother, then replaced them with a new wife and son.

That was the way my father grieved: to erase rather than preserve.

My relatives expected me to do the same. Don’t show weakness. Pretend nothing bad happened. I disappointed them all by doing just the opposite.

I founded the Hepatitis B Initiative in 1997 a few months after I started my studies at Harvard. Medical and public health students from all over Boston learned how to collaborate at an early stage in their career. Today, many organizations are using this model to harness the energy of students and their ability to facilitate partnerships between community organizations that wouldn't normally work together.

In 2002, a few months after our wedding, Thomas Oh and I expanded the Hepatitis B Initiative to the DC area. This time we delivered education, screening, and vaccinations directly to places that hard-to-reach populations gather, locations that other organizations might not have access to like schools, churches, health fairs, ESL programs, etc...

What makes HBI so effective: We believe the community is the expert in knowing what are the best methods to reach out to their peers. In the process of developing their own outreach strategies and materials, they learn about hepatitis and become advocates in their community.  The outreach program they create is stronger and more sustainable since it is embedded into their way of life.

This is why 18 years later HBI is still operating in several states with little funding, on the sheer passion of volunteers. I often hear from former HBI leaders who continue to launch hepatitis B programs when they graduate to their next school or workplace.

Now under the leadership of Executive Director Jane Pan, HBI-DC screens more than 1000 a year and continues to deliver hepatitis B and C education, screenings, vaccinations, and treatment referrals to locations where the community gathers.

Because we empower community members to reach out to their own peers, people are more likely to be open about their fears. 
  • Immigrants are afraid to get screened for hepatitis because they think they might get deported.

  • My own grandmother refused to dip her chips into a dish of salsa when she ate with my brother at a Mexican restaurant.

  • My mother never once mentioned the word hepatitis B in her book.

  • I am still unable to convince anybody, not even my relatives, to share their hepatitis B status publicly.

It’s rare to find someone like Congressman Hank Johnson who’s willing to openly talk about his  condition. Most chronic hepatitis B carriers prefer to be silent. They are worried about what other people think. They are worried that they will lose their jobs or ruin their chance of finding a partner. Many won't even get screened because they believe that it’s better not to know whether they have hepatitis B or liver cancer or cirrhosis. They would rather just be happy and live their life since there are no symptoms. 

Part of it is human nature, to ignore what we are scared of. But it’s cultural too. I have been told all of my life to “Save face.”  The Chinese even have an idiom that some translate to “There’s more power in silence.”

Out of respect for my family, even I am not allowed to share the extent to which hepatitis B continues to impact my life. My relatives have never approved of my public role in hepatitis advocacy. They have however given me permission to publish a memoir that I’ve been working on that will give voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. Perhaps, one day, you will find this book a useful tool in your advocacy work because in the end, this is not just a story about my mother or brother or hepatitis B or C or vaccine-preventable diseases, it’s about not being afraid of what other people think.

<![CDATA[Interview with our founders Leslie Hsu Oh and Thomas Oh ]]>Sun, 07 Sep 2014 05:20:08 GMThttp://www.hbi-dc.org/news/founders-leslie-hsu-oh-and-thomas-oh-interviewed-at-gala
<![CDATA[World Hepatitis Day Commemoration at White House]]>Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:56:17 GMThttp://www.hbi-dc.org/news/world-hepatitis-day-commemoration-at-white-housePlease join us via live stream today from 12:00 PM - 2:30 PM (Eastern) at www.whitehouse.gov/live. You can also join the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #WorldHepatitisDay. 

This year, Executive Director Jane Pan receives award. Dr. Howard Koh will make his last public appearance as Assistant Secretary for Health.
Last year, Founder Leslie Hsu Oh spoke at this event. ]]>
<![CDATA[Founder writes cover story for Asian Fortune]]>Mon, 09 Jun 2014 19:24:48 GMThttp://www.hbi-dc.org/news/founder-writes-cover-story-for-asian-fortune
Did you know that The Hepatitis B Initiative (HBI) was founded 17 years ago and HBI-DC was founded 12 years ago?  Albert Schweitzer Fellowship posts in "A Leader in Service":

We’re proud that Oh’s program [The Hepatitis B Initiative] began as a Schweitzer Fellowship project and that it has grown and continues to be successful 17 years later. This is exactly what we mean when we talk about our mission to develop a corp of Leaders in Service – professionals who are skilled at making positive changes with and in underserved communities. Oh is doing exactly that.
<![CDATA[2014 Benefit Gala and Awards Dinner]]>Sun, 08 Jun 2014 10:11:05 GMThttp://www.hbi-dc.org/news/2014-benefit-gala-and-awards-dinnerOn Sunday, June 8, 2014, The Hepatitis B Initiative of DC (HBI-DC), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that combats hepatitis B and C in at-risk communities, inducted Dr. Jose Bordon and Dr. Loc Le to the Leadership Circle and honored nine community partners with the Partnership Award.  The awardees included:

·         Mr. Dave Nguyen, Founder & Executive Coach, AASuccess

·         Ms. Elizabeth Bohle, Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator, Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene

·         Ms. Elizabeth Chung, Asian American Center of Frederick, MD (AACF)

·         Gia Long Alumnae Association

·         Dr. HeeSoon Juon, Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

·         Mr. Jacob Mbafor, VFC Coordinator, District of Columbia Department of Health

·         Ms. Rita Lee, President, Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association

·         Team HBV, Phi Delta Sigma, University of Maryland—College Park

·         Mr. William Hong, President, Korean-American Association of Virginia (KAVA)

The event took place at the China Garden Restaurant in Arlington, VA with over 260 attendees.  This is HBI-DC's 5th annual benefit gala and award dinner.

Check out press release and photos here

Thanks to Corin Kim for covering the story.

<![CDATA[HBI-DC co-hosts Congressional Viral Hepatitis B and C Screening and Reception]]>Mon, 19 May 2014 08:26:49 GMThttp://www.hbi-dc.org/news/hbi-dc-co-hosts-congressional-viral-hepatitis-b-and-c-screening-and-reception
<![CDATA[HBI-DC invited to speak and moderate workshop for Asian journalists]]>Thu, 08 May 2014 20:12:45 GMThttp://www.hbi-dc.org/news/hbi-dc-hosts-press-event-in-honor-of-hepatitis-awareness-month
Writers play a critical role in disease prevention," founders Leslie Hsu Oh and Thomas Oh encourage Asian journalists to dispel dangerous misperceptions and myths about hepatitis B and encourage people to get screened and vaccinated and treated. Leslie Hsu Oh was invited as the keynote speaker and moderator of  a panel with Dr. Theodore Kim, Dr. Loc Le, and Dr. Mark Ka Kou Li to discuss the latest trends in hepatitis B care. May is Hepatitis Awareness Month. Thanks to Gilead Sciences for organizing this event. Read coverage in Asian Fortune, Asian Gazette, Doi Nay, Korea Daily, Washington Chinese Daily News, and World Journal.

<![CDATA[HBI published in Journal of Immigrant and Migratory Health]]>Wed, 09 Apr 2014 07:07:44 GMThttp://www.hbi-dc.org/news/hbi-published-in-journal-of-immigrant-and-migratory-health]]>