The dean of University at Albany’s School of Public Health has been appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to join a task force that will advise the state on a plan to eliminate Hepatitis C.
In March, Governor Cuomo announced the state would pursue a “Hepatitis C Elimination Strategy” to increase access to medication, expand programs and enhance treatment services for all New Yorkers living with the disease. Part of this plan included the creation of the task force, which will be broken into workgroups focused on prevention, testing/linkage to care, care/treatment, surveillance, data, and social determinants.
Dean David R. Holtgrave will sit on the 28-member taskforce comprised of experts and representatives in public health, healthcare, criminal justice, HIV/AIDS research, and more.
“The members selected for this task force are some of the finest in their fields, and their invaluable experience will provide us with the information we need to develop an attainable elimination plan,” said Governor Cuomo in a press release. “This strategic plan will not only improve the quality of life for those living with Hepatitis C, but also ensure that New Yorkers have the support and resources they need to prevent this disease.”
According to the state, more than 100,000 New Yorkers are living with hepatitis C and most are unaware they have it. It is spread by blood-to-blood contact, most commonly by injected drug use. New treatments can cure the disease but left untreated it can cause cirrhosis, liver failure and/or liver cancer.
Holtgrave lauds the governor for his commitment to combatting the epidemic, saying “Hepatitis C is a truly critical public health issue of our time. It is an honor to be involved in this important task force, and I trust we can help inform useful, impactful future steps in this arena.”
To view the governor’s full announcement about the task force, click here.