The HHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (Partnership Center) and the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy (OHAIDP) have re-scheduled their co-sponsored webinar on the important role of faith communities in the national response to viral hepatitis. The webinar will introduce a new resource for faith-based groups, the Health Ministers Guide to Viral Hepatitis: The Silent Epidemic. The webinar will be held on Thursday, February 18, 2016 from 11:30 AM-12:30 PM (ET).
CDC estimates that 3.5-5.3 million people are living with viral hepatitis. Viral hepatitis is a leading cause of liver cancer in the U.S., and in 2013, more people died of hepatitis C than all 60 other infectious diseases reported to the CDC combined. These outcomes are preventable if people are aware of their status and take action. However, an estimated 65-75% of people with chronic viral hepatitis do not know that they have the virus, placing them at greater risk for severe, even fatal, complications from the disease and increasing the likelihood that they will spread the virus to others.
The Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis (Action Plan) details steps the federal government is taking to educate communities about the benefits of viral hepatitis prevention, care, and treatment in response to this major public health problem. It also highlights opportunities for non-federal stakeholders to take action. Faith leaders are uniquely positioned to reach communities disproportionately impacted by viral hepatitis, increase awareness about viral hepatitis, and encourage people to obtain health insurance so that they can get tested and treated for viral hepatitis, if needed, and reduce the risk of passing the infection to others.
Webinar presenters will highlight the new Health Ministers Guide to Viral Hepatitis and how faith leaders and other individuals can help to achieve the goals of the national Viral Hepatitis Action Plan. Presenters will discuss opportunities for communities of faith to participate in May’s observances of Hepatitis Awareness Month and Hepatitis Testing Day, and describe existing free educational tools and other resources available to support such participation.
“Given the relatively low rates of public awareness about hepatitis B and hepatitis C generally and the high rates of undiagnosed infections in the U.S., we need partners from all sectors of society, including faith communities, to lend support to education efforts,” remarked Richard Wolitski, Ph.D., Acting Director of OHAIDP. “Faith communities can be effective educators and messengers to many communities disproportionately impacted by viral hepatitis, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, African Americans, African immigrants, “baby boomers” of all races and ethnicities, and others. We hope that by sharing these new tools and the latest information we can support health ministers and other faith leaders in their work to help defeat the silent epidemic of viral hepatitis.”
Presenters will include:
- [Moderator] Kimberly Konkel, MSW, Associate Director for Health, The HHS Partnership Center
- Corinna Dan, RN, MPH, Viral Hepatitis Policy Advisor, OHAIDP
- Michelle Moses-Eisenstein, MPH, Public Health Analyst, OHAIDP
- Cary L. Goodman, Executive Administrator & Program Coordinator, the Balm in Gilead
- Ivonne Fuller Cameron, MPH, NRPP, President & CEO, Hepatitis Foundation International (HFI)
- Mollie Jackson Woodson, HFI’s Patient Ambassador
The webinar will also highlight:
- What viral hepatitis preventive services are covered through Marketplace health plans and many other plans without co-pays or co-insurance.
- Updated viral hepatitis testing and vaccination recommendations and treatment advances.
- Key viral hepatitis prevention opportunities, challenges, and strategies for faith communities and health ministers.
We hope you can join us to be a part of this important conversation and help share this information with your community.