Hepatitis Happenings and Updates

By Jasmine West August 21, 2019

NASTAD Updates

Official Launch of the Hepatitis Technical Assistance Center (HepTAC)

Through a five-year cooperative agreement with CDC, NASTAD has developed the Hepatitis Technical Assistance Center (HepTAC) to build health department expertise and enhance their capacity to eliminate viral hepatitis in a virtual setting.

Just last week, NASTAD hosted a special Hepatitis Workgroup Call releasing the results from an assessment on health department hepatitis infrastructure and TA needs and formally launched HepTAC. Dr. Carolyn Wester, Director of CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis, provided opening remarks. Over one hundred of you joined us for the release. You can access a recording here.

SHOUT OUT to our HepTAC Consultants!

Through HepTAC, NASTAD has a pool of subject matter experts including health department colleagues serving as expert consultants that will provide direct TA and collective learning & engagement. Between the eight consultants, there is over 70 years of health department hepatitis and harm reduction experience! We will highlight the unique skills of each of our consultants in upcoming newsletters—be on the lookout for Amelia Prebish, Danica Kuncio, Heather Bush, Liisa Randall, Lindsey Sizemore, Melissa Ip, Shauna Onofrey, and Stephen Crowe.

Policy Updates

Press Release: Public Charge Final Rule Is Another Attack on Immigrants; Will Hurt Public Health Efforts to End HIV and Hepatitis

WASHINGTON, DC – Last week, the Department of Homeland Security announced the final “public charge” rule. The rule – which is set to go into effect on October 15, 2019 – will make it harder for legal immigrants to enter this country or to obtain a green card by requiring immigrants to demonstrate that they have not used or will not use an array of public benefits, including Medicaid and SNAP. “The rule not only makes it more difficult for people living with HIV, hepatitis, and other chronic conditions to enter this country or apply for a green card, but it has also had a much broader chilling effect on access to a range of public health and healthcare services beyond the scope of the rule,” noted NASTAD Acting Executive Director Terrance Moore. 

Resources

Upcoming webinars:

Hepatitis C in Children and Adolescents

Tuesday, September 3 at 4:30 PM ET

This webinar (part of the HepCures webinar series) will explain the epidemiology of hepatitis C virus (HCV) among children and adolescents, discuss testing and diagnosis of HCV among children and adolescents, and describe how to monitor and care for children and adolescents with HCV.

Archived Webinars & Recordings:

NVHR Hosted First Ever HCV Patient Summit

Three weeks ago, the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) hosted its first ever Patient Summit with the theme of “Nothing About Us Without Us.” Nearly 100 hepatitis C patient advocates from across the country joined to share their stories, strengthen advocacy skills, and identify opportunities to lead the way in our national response to viral hepatitis. If you know hepatitis C survivors who are interested in being involved with NVHR, encourage them to sign up here.

Hepatitis A and B Vaccination for Gay and Bisexual Men: Innovative Practices and New Resources

Presented by CDC & NASTAD, August 8, 2019

This webinar provided an update on the multi-state hepatitis A outbreak, an overview of new and existing hepatitis A and B vaccination recommendations, highlighting Colorado’s response to a hepatitis A outbreak in their GBM community, and introduced new resources and outreach materials developed by CDC. Click here for the recording.

Check out CDC’s DVH materials and resources to help improve hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccination rates and protect gay and bisexual men from infection. These resources include a new website for GBM and educational materials, including posters in varying sizes and formats that can be customized with local contact information and digital tools that can be used for websites, dating application advertisements and social media. Please contact ccarnes@cdc.gov if you have any feedback, additional questions or other suggestions on how best to support this effort.

Recent Meetings:

Eliminating Hepatitis B: Highlights of the Hep B United Summit 2019

“The Hepatitis B Foundation, Hep B United, and the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) hosted over 100 hepatitis B experts, advocates, and public health professionals in Washington D.C. to collaborate and share best practices on how to advance the elimination of hepatitis B. This year’s theme was Eliminating Hepatitis B: Local Change, Global Impact.

The meeting agenda, media coverage, and session presentations can be here here.

Blog:     

From the Field: Strategies to Increase Hepatitis C Screening and Linkage to Care through SSPs

NACCHO, August 6, 2019

“…The Whatcom County Health Department (WCHD) is working to expand its Syringe Services Program (SSP) and Adult Health Clinic services to address the hepatitis C challenges. By expanding our services, we                  hope to provide our clients with the resources they need to make informed decisions regarding their health and to encourage testing and treatment for people who are living with hepatitis C.”

Upcoming Meetings

United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) | September 5-8, 2019

Washington, DC

The 2019 United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) will be held September 5-8, 2019 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Washington DC. The national plan to end the HIV epidemic will be the focus of this year’s conference. The AIDS Institute and NASTAD are excited to co-host the Hepatitis Pathway again this year, which will consist of four 2-hour sessions on a variety of topics related to the intersection of hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. X

  1. Breaking Down Barriers to Care: Expanding Hepatitis Treatment Access, Thursday September 5, 2-4 PM
  2. Using What You Have: Leveraging Existing Public Health Programs to Address Hepatitis, Thursday September 5, 4:15-6:15 PM ET
  3. Hepatitis Elimination in the Era of Ending the Epidemic, Friday, September 6, 9-11 AM
  4. The ABCs of Hepatitis, Friday September 6, 2-4 PM

Alyssa Kitlas, Frank Hood, and Jasmine West are facilitating the hepatitis pathway, please feel free to reach out with any questions.

8th International Conference on Hepatitis Care in Substance Users | September 11-13, 2019

Montréal, Canada

The International Network on Hepatitis in Substance Users (INHSU) is an international, not-for-profit, member-based organization dedicated to scientific knowledge exchange, education, and advocacy focused on hepatitis C (HCV) prevention and care with people who use drugs. The conference covers the latest advances on HCV epidemiology, management and treatment of viral hepatitis among people who use drugs. Through the dissemination of scientific knowledge, the conference aims to contribute to the WHO’s goal of elimination hepatitis C by 2030. Registration deadline, August 24, 2019.

Alyssa Kitlas will be attending—Feel free to reach out to connect!

AASLD The Liver Meeting | November 8 – 12, 2019

Boston, MA

The Liver Meeting is held annually by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), bringing together 9,500 attendees from around the world to exchange the latest research, discuss new developments in treatment outcomes, and network with other experts in the field. Collaborate with colleagues and share information about the innovative research, science, and the advances in patient care, with the shared goal of preventing and curing liver disease. Early registration ends October 11.

The Academic Health & Policy Conference on Correctional Health | April 2 – 3, 2020

Raleigh, North Carolina

The Correctional Health Conference provides a forum for researchers, clinicians, administrators, educators, policy makers, and grant funding leaders to network, share evidence, and learn about emerging research and relevant policy updates in the field of correctional health care. Abstracts are being accepted until September 5, 2019. Find out more information about the abstract process here. Please note that the National Hepatitis Corrections Network will host a one-day meeting on April 1 in advance of the conference and is a great opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the US who are working to address hepatitis in corrections. If you are interested in attending this meeting, reach out to mandy@hepeducation.org.

The RX Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit | April 13 – 16, 2020

Nashville, TN

This summit is the largest national collaboration of professionals from local, state and federal agencies, business, academia, clinicians, treatment providers, counselors, educators, state and national leaders, law enforcement/public safety, and advocate impacted by the opioid crisis. Register early for low rates.

Job Opportunities

Senior Manager, Drug User Health, NASTAD

This position plays a vital role in expanding the organization’s capacity to address the impacts of the intersecting crises of drug use, HIV, and hepatitis in community and public health settings, particularly within state and local health departments. The Senior Manager’s core activities will support the advancement of NASTAD’s domestic programmatic efforts to assist health departments and communities by providing technical assistance and training on effective drug user health strategies and connecting people who inject drugs to HIV and hepatitis prevention and treatment programs.

Program Analyst HIV, STI, and Viral Hepatitis, NACCHO

Program Analysts are responsible for providing professional support for programmatic and internal activities, including implementing, coordinating, and promoting project activities; identifying and responding to member and team needs; assessing policies and programs; and providing senior level administrative support, as needed. Program Analysts have a foundational understanding of public health principles and practices and familiarity in their designated area of work.

Hepatitis B Elimination Project Coordinator, Philadelphia Department of Public Health

This position will be responsible for coordination of activities related to hepatitis B education, surveillance, and prevention within the Division of Disease Control in the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Several activities conducted by Project staff will aim to improve HBV testing, treatment, and vaccination access throughout Philadelphia including outreach, training, education and collaboration with appropriate programs to facilitate access to hepatitis services. Additional job announcements from PDPH, Hepatitis B Epidemiologist and Viral Hepatitis Program Manager.  

Research Data Analyst III (Assessment Coordinator), STD Control Branch, California DPH

The Data Analyst will assess patient demographics, clinical infrastructure, hepatitis C screening policies and practices, and other key variables in clinical safety net and community-based settings in California to inform hepatitis C screening interventions. The Analyst will be responsible for management and maintenance of the statewide hepatitis C registry, producing summaries of state and local hepatitis C surveillance data and epidemiologic trends, as well as setting-specific findings from clinical and non-clinical settings to describe the hepatitis C landscape in California.

Requests for Information:

A jurisdiction reached out for feedback as they are working to respond to a hepatitis A outbreak. In this context, the predominate risk for HAV infection is men who are having sex with other men and drug use. They are exploring non-traditional approaches, (i.e. coffee jackets, beverage coasters, and other ideas), as traditional messaging (i.e., PSAs, billboards, posters) may not reach this population. If you have done effective non-traditional messaging in your jurisdiction and/or have resources/lessons learned to share, please email hepatitis@nastad.org.

Tool of the Month

HepCSim

HepCSim is a new tool to help state health policy makers and practitioners make decisions regarding policy, strategy, and investments related to hepatitis C.

Example: Estimate and compare the economic and population health consequences of specific policies, like universal screening, as well as potential tactics for managing hepatitis C treatment access, such as drug price negotiation. Click here to check it out!

News Bulletin

Articles of interest:

St. Louis Inmates to Get Hepatitis A Vaccines

“In the face of a nationwide outbreak of HAV, health and prison officials in St. Louis, Missouri, are teaming up to vaccinate more than 800 prisoners against the virus…the St. Louis Division of Corrections and the St. Louis Department of Health will provide vaccines to all eligible inmates in the city’s two jails.”

VA has cured 100,000 Veterans of Hepatitis C

“Through Veteran advocacy, VA leadership, and the support of Congress, VA implemented an aggressive program to treat Veterans with HCV who were both willing and able to be treated. The department has cured more than 100,000 Veterans of chronic hepatitis C virus infection (HCV), establishing VA as a global leader in the diagnosis and treatment of HCV.”

Congratulations Corner

Learning Lab on State Strategies for Addressing Infectious Diseases Related to Substance Use

July 31-August 1, 2019 | Albuquerque, New Mexico

Congratulations to New Mexico for hosting the National Governors Association’s (NGA) most recent learning lab! The NGA learning labs highlight best practices around addressing the spread of infectious diseases related to substance use. Therefore, New Mexico’s comprehensive harm reduction strategies and efforts were featured during last month’s learning lab as they continue to expand access to screening and treatment for hepatitis C. Five states, Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Nevada, and Tennessee had a unique opportunity to ask New Mexico key questions concerning hepatitis elimination planning, some examples include: collaborative efforts to expand Medicaid coverage for hepatitis C treatment; role of Project ECHO in expanding access to HCV treatment; guidance on developing peer counseling programs (prison peer-education projects); and financing harm reduction programs and sustainable funding for SSPs.

This was a great opportunity for states and partners to learn about all the great work taking place in New Mexico to help inform best practices and contribute to state’s hepatitis elimination planning strategies.

Take a look at one of NGA’s resource briefs from a Kentucky Learning Lab in May 2019: Approaches to Addressing the Infectious Disease Consequences of the Opioid Epidemic: Insights from an NGA Learning Lab.