On May 23, in honor of National Hepatitis Testing Day, several members of Congress received hep B and C screenings in the Rayburn building. They included Congressional Viral Hepatitis Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-4), Rep. Bill Cassidy (LA-6), Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) and Rep. Mike Honda (CA-17).
At a health fair serving DC's Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, we joined our community partners and provided hep B screening and testing. Special thanks to Dr. Benson Yu and his team of medical students and new doctors for sharing their time and talents, and to the D.C. Mayor's Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (OAPIA) for organizing the health fair.
This Friday, the Hepatitis B Initiative of Washington, D.C. hosted its annual Benefit Gala and Awards Dinner, honoring the physicians, government advocates, and community partners who are at the forefront of the fight against hepatitis B. The evening's theme, "B the Voice," challenged attendees to raise awareness about hepatitis B, as over two-thirds of individuals who carry the virus are not aware of their status.
The evening's keynote speaker was Dr. J. Nadine Gracia. An epidemiologist and pediatrician, Dr. Gracia serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and the Director of the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). A longtime advocate for health equity, Dr. Gracia spoke to the disproportionate impact hepatitis B has on communities of color, especially Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (one in twelve has hep B) and African immigrant communities (one in ten).
Virginia Delegate Mark Keam provided opening remarks. He spoke frankly to his own initial lack of knowledge about hep B and its potentially fatal consequences - if left untreated, hep B can cause liver disease and liver cancer. Since learning about hep B's impact on his constituents, however, Delegate Keam sponsored a bill that marks May 19th as Hepatitis Awareness Day in Virginia. The resolution passed unanimously this past January.
Hepatitis B Initiative Executive Director Jane Pan presented awards to ten committed doctors, who have volunteered their time to helped screen 2,100 individuals and administer 550 vaccines over the past two years. The physicians included Dr. Mo-Ping Chow, Dr. Chan-Hing Ma Ho, Dr. Sibte Kazmi, Dr. Andrew Lee, Dr. Mark Li, Dr. Gregory Pappas, Dr. Natarajan Ravendhran, Dr. Sang Tran, Dr. Hon Yuen Wong, and Dr. Benson Yu. These doctors formed HBI-DC's inaugural Leadership Circle. The Leadership Circle will spearhead the "Honor Roll" initiative, pledging to make hep B screening a routine part of health exams for all at-risk patients, as well as mentoring other physicians in best practices for treating people who live with hep B.
Envisioning a world free of liver disease caused by hepatitis B, the Hepatitis B Initiative of Washington, D.C. provides education, screening, vaccinations and linkages to care to at-risk communities in the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.
Free testing will be offered: ‘Get Educated, Raise Awareness, Know Your Status’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, May 23, 2013, Congressional Viral Hepatitis Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-4), Rep. Bill Cassidy (LA-6), Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-15) and Rep. Mike Honda (CA-17), will be attending a free hepatitis testing event in honor of National Viral Hepatitis Testing Day.
More than 5.3 million people in the U.S. are living with hepatitis B and/or hepatitis C and 65 to 75 percent are not aware they are infected. Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer – one of the fastest growing, deadly and most expensive cancers to treat in America. Did you know hepatitis C is curable and hepatitis B is treatable? We can reduce costs and fatalities, and that starts with getting tested.
WHO: Congressmen Hank Johnson, Bill Cassidy, Charlie Dent and Mike Honda, along with Ron Valdiserri, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health & Human Services and John Ward, Director of the Division of Hepatitis at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
WHAT: Viral Hepatitis Testing Day – get a free test for hepatitis B and C.
WHEN: Thursday, May 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
WHERE: Rayburn foyer (Refreshments will be served)
MEDIA: Please RSVP email@example.com if you plan to cover the event.
Held in cooperation with: National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, Caring Ambassadors, American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, Orasure, Association of Chinese American Physicians, Hepatitis B Initiative of Washington, D.C., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Corporate Hepatitis Alliance, Community Education Group.
Faith-based organizations are extremely important to our outreach. Temples, churches, and mosques serve as a gathering place for many Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and African newcomers at risk for hep B. We are always excited to share education, screenings, and vaccinations at places of worship.
St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in Baltimore, Maryland serves many Burmese congregants. We began out outreach with community education about hepatitis B on March 23. On April 13th and May 11th, HBI-DC hosted screenings and vaccinations there.
Thanks to St. Stephen's and all of our faith-based partners who care about the health of their communities!
Working to eradicate hepatitis B in D.C., MD, and VA