Hepatitis Happenings and Updates

By Jasmine West October 16, 2019

NASTAD Updates


October is Liver Cancer Awareness Month! To raise awareness about the connection between viral hepatitis and liver cancer, NASTAD is cohosting a Twitter chat with the Hepatitis B Foundation (HBF) and the CDC's Division of Viral Hepatitis. The chat will take place on Wednesday, October 23rd from 3:00 - 4:00 PM EDT.

This year's chat is centered upon the patient voice. HBF's October #justB storyteller, Jacki, and Karen Hoyt, a patient advocate from the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, will be joining the conversation.

Click here to join the chat and let your voice be heard #LiverChat19!

Getting to Know our HepTAC Consultants

Heather Bush is in the spotlight this week! Read below to find out more about another one of our outstanding HepTAC consultants.

After Almost 15 years in HIV Prevention, Heather Bush became the Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator in 2011. She helped implement rapid HCV testing in Utah and integrating Viral Hepatitis into HIV prevention activities throughout the state. In 2016, Utah legalized syringe exchange and Heather jumped at the chance to develop the program, building it from scratch with support from NASTAD and other HDs around the country. Now she has a passion to pay it forward and provide support and help to others with all things hepatitis, harm Reduction and incorporating drug user health into other public health programming.

Heather loves travelling and exploring new places but is always happy to spend time at home in Salt Lake City with her 2 dogs, cat and husband.  Heather was a belly dancer for many years and may take it up again one day soon!

Request TA through HepTAC and we’ll match your needs with the expertise of our consultants. We will continue showcase their unique skills and expertise in future newsletters.

NASTAD's Minority Leadership Program

NASTAD is pleased to announce the application cycle is open for the 2020 Minority Leadership Program (MLP). MLP serves as a space rooted in social justice for health department staff of color to engage in critical conversations about job advancement, institutional barriers, managing emotions and burnout, racial and gender-based microaggressions, triggers, staff and project management, communication, and more.

NASTAD recognizes the need to increase the capacity of emerging leaders of color in health departments and seeks to equip them with skills, mentors, and introspection to help advance their varied personal career trajectories. Check out the website to learn more! Applications are due on November 15. Please share with passionate, junior-mid level professionals of color in your network today!


The Hepatitis Policy Project has released a new brief on expanding syringe service programs as an integral tool towards eliminating HCV and improving the health of people who use drugs.

Still time to apply—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:

Expanding Hepatitis Testing and Linkage to Care in Emergency Departments
Thursday, October 17, 2:00 PM EST
This Hepatitis Testing Partnership webinar will explore different models for hepatitis testing and linkage to care in emergency departments to highlight different approaches to successfully reach individuals living with HCV and link them to care.

National and State Initiatives to Prevent Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer
Hep B United
October 21, 2019 1:00 – 2:00 PM EST
Did you know that in the U.S., the rates of liver cancer incidence and deaths are increasing while most other cancer rates have declined or stabilized? Panelists will discuss liver cancer and its risk factors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Comprehensive Cancer Control Program, and promising state-based initiatives and strategies for liver cancer prevention, including hepatitis B vaccination awareness and provider education activities.

Hepatitis C: Completing the Diagnosis with HCV RNA Testing
Tuesday, October 22, 3:00 PM EST
Efforts to diagnose and link individuals to care need to significantly increase to reduce the rates of acute HCV infection. This webinar will share the experiences of two jurisdictions that have implemented HCV RNA testing. The presentations will highlight the collaborations between the public health laboratory and the health department from planning to implementation and sustaining testing. Register here.

Hepatitis A in Correctional Settings
Wednesday, October 30 1:30 – 3:00 PM EST
The NHCN is hosting a webinar to highlight efforts being made to address hepatitis A in correctional settings. Presentations include speakers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, and the Knox County Health Department. Join the webinar to learn about efforts and best practices to screen, vaccinate, and address outbreaks of hepatitis A in prisons and jails throughout the United States.

Exploring Resources and Different Treatment Models for Hepatitis C Virus and Opioid Use Disorder
National Nurse Led Care Consortium Webinar Series
This four-part webinar series provides an overview of the opioid crisis in the United States, which has led to increased HCV infection among younger populations of people who inject drugs (PWID) and other vulnerable populations, who often seek care at community health centers. See the table below for upcoming webinars and click here to register.

New international hepatitis C webinar series from CATIE
Who doesn’t love a webinar series from Canada, eh?!
This fall, CATIE is launching a new international webinar series on hepatitis C featuring speakers and content from around the world. The first webinar in this series will be a review of key learnings for service providers from the recent INHSU 2019 conference, scheduled for October 21. Register now.

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.

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. 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.

SYNChronicity 2020, The National Conference for HIV, HCV, STI, and LGBTQ Health | May 11-12, 2020
This conference brings together medical professionals, service providers, government officials, and health advocates to sync effective approaches to address HIV, HCV, STI, and LGBTQ health in the changing and dynamic health care landscape, with a focus on underserved racial/ethnic minorities and LGBTQ communities. Early bird registration available until December 20, 2019.

Job Opportunities

Associate Director for Strategy and Implementation, Division of Viral Hepatitis, CDC

This position will oversee the Division’s Strategic Implementation Unit within the Office of the Director. This position will be responsible for identifying and developing public health policies, partnerships, and initiatives improving access to viral hepatitis prevention and treatment services across all populations, especially those with disproportionate burden of disease or barriers accessing services. Further, this position will oversee the development and application of strategies and activities accelerating the uptake of national viral hepatitis testing guidelines and vaccination recommendations. Click here for more information; closing November 6.

Hepatitis C Wellness Manager, San Francisco AIDS Foundation

The Hepatitis C Wellness Manager is responsible engaging HCV+ PWIDs in the Hepatitis C Wellness Program. In addition to serving on the SAS leadership team, the Manager is responsible for the operation and management of the Hepatitis C Wellness Program. This includes team supervision & training, programming & outreach, reporting, budget management, and program evaluation.

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.

Call for Applications

States Invited to Join 2020 Hepatitis C Medicaid Affinity Group

HHS is seeking applications for its third cohort of states for the Hepatitis C Medicaid Affinity Group. Participating states learn and share innovative strategies to treat and cure an increased number and percentage of individuals diagnosed with hepatitis C virus (HCV). The Affinity Group encourages collaboration between Medicaid, public health authorities, state corrections agencies and - starting in 2020 - state behavioral health agencies working on opioid and substance use disorder (SUD) initiatives. Please consider and share with your networks. Note: Applications are due Friday, November 1 at 5:00 PM ET. Also, a webinar will be held on Monday, October 21, 2019 from 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM ET.

News Bulletin

Articles of interest:

Opioid Crisis Driving Spike in Hepatitis C Among Pregnant Women, PoliticoPro October 2019  

‘The rate of hepatitis C among pregnant women more than quintupled between 2000 and 2015, with the opioid crisis driving the increase, according to a new CDC analysis. Researchers said the increase in injection drug use has largely contributed to the explosion of hepatitis C infections among both pregnant women and the general public. According to the study, 68 percent of women infected with hepatitis C have a diagnosed opioid use disorder.’.

Another Gender Gap: Women Slow to Receive HCV Care, Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News

‘Women infected with the hepatitis C virus experience significant delays in progressing through the HCV care cascade compared with infected men, California researchers have found. The study showed that patients of both sexes were linked to care in roughly the same amount of time after diagnosis—a little less than five months, on average.’

Best Practices for Managing HCV Risk Among MSM

Commentary: W. David Hardy, MD Adjunct Professor of Medicine

‘How should the established risk of sexual transmission of HCV among MSM inform our care of both HIV-negative and HIV-positive men?’ Read the commentary here.

Judge: Treatment of Tennessee inmates with hepatitis C improving, Chattanooga Times

‘A federal judge in Nashville ruled early October that Tennessee's treatment of prisoners with hepatitis C is not grossly inadequate but warned the state to make good on its promises to treat more patients more quickly. In a recent ruling, U.S. District Judge Waverly Crenshaw noted that Tennessee has made a number of changes to improve treatment of the sometimes deadly disease within the past few months.’

Congratulations (Farewell) Corner

Congratulations to our dearest Alyssa Kitlas who will be departing NASTAD at the end of the month. She will be sincerely missed but moving onto new life endeavors at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health as the Viral Hepatitis Prevention, Policy, and Community Manager. It is with much gratitude that we say farewell—since we know she’ll keep the positive vibe alive and continue working towards eliminating viral hepatitis!