An estimated 850,000 to 2.2 million people in the United States are living with Chronic Hepatitis B. A research team from the George Washington University (GW) received a $1.5 million grant from the Office of Minority Health of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to reduce and evaluate liver diseases attributable to Hepatitis B virus (HBV) through screening, vaccination, and follow-up in the Washington, DC/Baltimore metro area.
The team is led by Dr. Y. Tony Yang, executive director of the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at GW’s School of Nursing and a professor of health policy and management at George Washington Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH).
The researchers will test the implementation of comprehensive, culturally competent community-based Hepatitis B education, screening, vaccination and treatment programs in disadvantaged as well as racial and ethnic minority communities. The program was created with the HHS Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome) Policy and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Division of Viral Hepatitis.
“Hepatitis B, responsible for half of all deaths from liver cancer and a third of all deaths from liver cirrhosis, is a hidden threat both to public health and to patients themselves,” Dr. Yang said. “Tools and strategies are needed to prevent and treat it. It’s time to build capacity for scale-up HBV vaccination, testing and linkage to care services and surveillance to advance progress toward national Hepatitis B elimination goals.”Friday Letter Submission, Publish on August 09