Hepatitis Happenings and Updates

By Jasmine West September 17, 2019

HepTAC

Have you heard? Our best guess is yes—and if not, welcome to the Hepatitis Technical Assistance Center! 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.

We hope that you had a chance to log into HepTAC and check out the system for requesting technical assistance (TA) and available resources!! We welcome your feedback on how we can best ensure this platform meets your need.

Getting to Know our HepTAC Consultants

This week, we are shining the spotlight on Amelia Prebish, the first of our HepTAC consultants to be featured in this newsletter!

Amelia Prebish currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, but was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She received her Masters in Public Health at Westminster College in 2017 and currently works at the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) in the Bureau of Epidemiology as a hepatitis C disease intervention specialist and patient navigator. Amelia is an advocate for harm reduction and drug user health, working to test, educate, and treat individuals with hepatitis C. The primary focus' in her job are to expand hepatitis C testing across the state, identify individuals recently infected with hepatitis C and provide support to link them to care. Amelia has also been working with clinical and local health department partners to develop educational resources and guidelines for perinatal hepatitis C in Utah. Concurrently, Amelia works in the UDOH Violence & Injury Prevention Program as an opioid overdose prevention specialist, naloxone coordinator, and harm reduction navigator. In her free-time, Amelia likes to cook, golf, snowboard, hike,
 and hang out with her boyfriend and kitties.  

Request TA through HepTAC and we’ll match your needs with the expertise of our consultants. Be on the lookout in upcoming newsletters as we continue to highlight the unique skills and expertise of HepTAC’s consultants.

Call for Abstracts—NASTAD Integrated HIV and Hepatitis Technical Assistance Meeting

NASTAD’s Integrated HIV and Hepatitis Technical Assistance Meeting will take place from December 3-5, 2019 in Washington, DC. We strongly encourage you to submit abstracts that highlight your hepatitis programmatic and policy work. If you’re engaged in interesting or innovative work in collaboration with your HIV and/or STI colleagues, please consider a joint submission. Deadline: September 29. Click here to submit.

Meeting Date Correction: The 2019 Integrated HIV and Hepatitis Technical Assistance Meeting will take place December 3-5, 2019. Earlier communications mistakenly listed the meeting dates as December 4-6, 2019. We apologize for any inconvenience. The formal invitation with the corrected dates was sent to NASTAD’s members on September 10, 2019.

Resources

CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellowship Host Site Applications Open Through November 1!

This two-year program recruits and trains qualified candidates to support public health initiatives and provide opportunities for new epidemiologists to expand their skills to a level where they function as competent epidemiologists with little or no supervision. Host site applications are open through November 1 and in previous years, CSTE Applied Epi Fellows have been a critical tool to expanding hepatitis surveillance infrastructure in health departments. Click here to learn more about how health departments can submit an application to CSTE for the proposed program areas.

Upcoming webinars:

Monday, September 16 at 2:00 PM ET

This webinar will use examples from state government to showcase effective implementation of syringe services programs (SSPs) through policy and practice. Presenters will highlight experiences in gaining statewide support and community buy-in, crafting policy and bringing it to practice, and building strong partnerships with local communities to support SSP growth. Click here to register.

Archived Webinars & Recordings:

Did you know that the Harm Reduction Coalition archives their webinars? Check out their extensive webinar library including topics such as overdose prevention, expanding hepatitis services in SSPs and substance use treatment, and a harm reduction approach to the HAV outbreak. You can find the webinar archive here.

Blog:

Nothing About Us Without Us: The Importance of Centering the Voices of Patient Advocates in the Public Health Response to Viral Hepatitis

The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) hosted its first ever Patient Summit with nearly 100 hepatitis C patient advocates from across the country in attendance. Alyssa Kitlas, Manager Hepatitis at NASTAD, shares her first-hand encounters in this blog post, highlighting the power of patient storytelling. She also had the opportunity to sit down with Lauren Canary, Director of NVHR to discuss the importance of engaging people with lived experience in hepatitis work and ways that health departments can support their state and local patient advocates. Click here to read their Q&A dialogue!

NAIRHHA Day 2019: Raising Awareness and Addressing Hepatitis Among African Immigrants & Refugees

In commemoration of National African Immigrant and Refugee HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis Awareness (NAIRHHA) Day, on September 9, 2019, NASTAD, Hepatitis B Foundation, Coalition Against Hepatitis for People of African Origin, Multicultural AIDS Coalition, and the African Family Health Organization have developed a blog post highlighting the impact of hepatitis on these communities. Please take a moment to read the post and consider ways to expand or initiate services and supports to address hepatitis among African immigrants and refugees in your jurisdiction. 

Upcoming Meetings

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

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

Hepatitis B Policy Fellowship, AAPCHO

This Fellowship is a year-long position based in Washington, D.C. The Fellowship will be awarded to a medical, public health, or policy professional interested in strengthening the collaboration between key stakeholders and the federal government, highlighting key gaps in policy and service delivery, and working with partners to address the disparate impact of hepatitis B on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Hepatitis Epidemiologist, New Mexico

The Hepatitis Epidemiologist will be housed in the NM Department of Health (NMDOH) Infectious Disease Epidemiology Bureau (IDEB) and will plan, design, develop, and conduct complex epidemiological investigations and analyses of hepatitis surveillance data. Position is responsible for maintaining and improving the completeness, timeliness, and quality of hepatitis data reported to NMDOH. Incumbent will work with internal and external stakeholders to enhance the interpretation and utilization of hepatitis data and support efforts to eliminate hepatitis C virus infections in NM.

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.

Requests for Public Comment:

Draft Recommendation Statement, Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Adolescents and Adults: Screening
USPSTF

Take this opportunity for public comment, deadline on September 23, 2019 at 8:00 PM EST. The final Recommendation Statement will be developed after careful consideration of the feedback received and will include both the Research Plan and Evidence Review as a basis.

The Louisiana Departments of Health and Corrections have collaborated to develop a state-wide strategy for hepatitis C elimination by 2024. The report outlines the Direct Acting Antivirals purchasing agreement (‘Netflix deal’) as well as seven strategies to address increased treatment, provider education, expanded screening, harm reduction and prevention access, and disease epidemiology. Feedback, suggestions, and corrections are requested. The deadline to submit public comment is September 20, 2019. View the plan and submit comment here.

Tool of the Month

The AIDS Institute, Bureau of Hepatitis Health Care announced the launch of the NY Cures Hep C campaign web site last month, with several resources contributing to their commitment to eliminate hepatitis C by 2030—a part of the Governor’s elimination strategy. New York State received input from persons at risk for or living with HCV to help develop these materials and resources. Take a look below! 

News Bulletin

Articles of interest:

Prevalence of Hepatitis B Virus Infection Among US Adults Aged 20-59 Years With a History of Injection Drug Use (Oxford Academic)

1 in 5 People Who Inject Drugs Have had Hepatitis B

Click to read more about national survey findings on HBV transmission through needle sharing, where one in five people who inject drugs have had hepatitis B—a rate that is four times higher than that of the overall U.S. population.  Additional reading on the study abstract is also available.

Patient-Reported Outcomes Greatly Altered by HCV Treatment Results (Healio, HCVnext)

In a follow-up analysis of participants in clinical trials, researchers found that patient-reported outcome scores increased in patients who achieved SVR after treatment for HCV, compared to those who did not.

Steady Rise In Hep C Cases Among Young People Prompts U.S. Task Force To Expand Screening Recommendations (Kaiser Health News)

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is now saying that all adults between the ages of 18 and 79 should be screened for hepatitis C despite their risk level.

Congratulations Corner

Congratulations to Philadelphia for the release of this published video—Jurisdictional Approach to HIV/Hepatitis C Coinfection in HRSA’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program!

The results in the video show Philadelphia’s tremendous progress addressing HIV/HCV coinfection, as they have been able to increase the number of people who are co-infected that are cured of HCV from 36% to 59% through this project (2018 data).

“The Hep C I wasn’t really vocal about that…it was a personal journey. I was diagnosed [with HIV] in 1987, cured of Hep C, and here I am today. The sky is the limit.” –Sheila, Program Client

Hear more from patient, provider, and coordinator perspectives about Philly’s successful jurisdictional approach to coinfection.

“The data component of project is really exciting—we are able to match hep data with HIV data so we can actually see the hep C continuum. I also love the training and capacity building component because it builds off the great relationships that exist.”–Alexandra Sherriffs, HIV/Hepatitis C Project Coordinator

Access the video here and share with your networks to give Philadelphia virtual high-fives!