Hepatitis Happenings and Updates

By Jasmine West February 24, 2021

Celebrating Black History Month Public Health Heroes: Dr. Bill Jenkins

-Author: Alex Eanes, Associate, Hepatitis

In honor of Black History Month, NASTAD is celebrating the life and legacy of epidemiologist Dr. William (Bill) Carter Jenkins. We honor his legacy as a champion for health equity and builder of opportunities for racial and ethnic minorities to enter the public health workforce.

Dr. Bill Jenkins was born on July 26, 1945 in Mount Pleasant, SC. He began his career in 1967 as one of the first African Americans in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps as a statistician in the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). While at NCHS, Dr. Jenkins learned about the U.S. Public Health Service Tuskegee syphilis study and worked to expose it. In 1997, Dr. Jenkins helped obtain a presidential apology from President Bill Clinton. Additionally, he directed the Tuskegee Health Benefits Program which ensures lifetime health and medical benefits and burial services to Tuskegee study survivors, widows, and their children. He later produced a documentary featuring survivors.

Dr. Jenkins understood the connection between structural racism and health outcomes in racial and ethnic minorities. He helped establish several institutes devoted to health equity. The institutes include the Public Health Sciences Institute at his alma mater, Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA; Project Imhotep, an 11-week summer internship which pairs underrepresented minority students in biostatistics, epidemiology, and occupational safety and health with a CDC mentor; and the Society for the Analysis of African American Public Health Issues (SAAPHI), which links scientific knowledge to policy change. He also started the Master of Public Health program at Morehouse School of Medicine.

At the end of his career, Dr. Jenkins was a professor of public health sciences at Morehouse College and was an adjunct professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. He died on February 17, 2019 from complications of sarcoidosis. Dr. Jenkins’ legacy lives on at NASTAD and we are honored to highlight his commitment to health equity.

“At one point, it was said that 50% of Black US epis could track their career back to him. I'm one of those.”

- Dr. Theresa Chapple, epidemiologist, Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs

Additionally, the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy has a fact sheet emphasizing how viral hepatitis impacts African American communities and outlines key points for how to reduce these disparities: Viral Hepatitis in the African American Community.

State of Black Health: Lifting the veil on health disparities

February 24, 2021, 2 - 3:30 p.m. EST, topics include hepatitis C and presenters include Mona Doshani from CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis. Happening via Facebook Live: Facebook.com/natlblackhealth  

Join Black in Public Health for their first Black History Month Happy Hour Celebration at 5 pm EST on February 27th! There will be games and giveaways! Register here.

NASTAD’s Southern Syringe Services Programs (SSP) and Drug User Health Institute

March 3-4, from 12-4:30 PM ET

This virtual two-day convening will bring together health department staff, community-based groups, content experts, national stakeholders, and state and local service providers who work on issues related to the drug use/overdose crisis and reducing associated harms in their respective jurisdictions and communities. Health department staff, SSPs/harm reduction programs, and other community-based organizations and local service providers in southern states are encouraged to attend. Click here for more information and to register. 

Webinar Series: 340B for Viral Hepatitis Programs

NASTAD is pleased to announce the webinar series 340B for Viral Hepatitis Programs. The series will provide a detailed understanding of HRSA’s 340B Drug Pricing Program to support viral hepatitis programs. Each webinar will highlight innovative models and implementation that support hepatitis elimination efforts, as well as case studies from jurisdictions with existing 340B partnerships.

The first webinar in the series will provide an overview of the 340B program, including understanding the purpose of the program, key concepts, and description of eligible entities and time for a Q&A. The webinar will be held on Wednesday, March 10, from 12:00 to 1:00 PM ET. Register here for the webinar.

We continue to accept TA questions for the series, feel free to email them to hepatitis@nastad.org.

The State of Viral Hepatitis During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a significant burden on the public health systems across the United States. As a result, community-based organizations, clinical providers, and state and local health departments are facing amplified demands on resources and organizational capacity. To continue to provide critical public health services, hepatitis programs have acted quickly to develop innovative service delivery approaches in response to the emerging needs of people living with and at risk for hepatitis. The following resource provides an overview of the findings from national surveys conducted, in 2020, to learn more about the impact of COVID-19 on viral hepatitis programs and services. The resource is a collaboration between HepVu, National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, Hepatitis Education Project, NASTAD, Hep B United, Hepatitis B Foundation, and NACCHO.

Viral Hepatitis Policy Summit and Hill Day

The virtual Viral Hepatitis Policy Summit and Hill Day, hosted by Hepatitis B Foundation, NVHR, NASTAD, and Hep B United, took place February 17 and 18. The Summit convened advocates and federal partners to discuss priorities in the Biden Administration and 117th Congress on day 1 and concluded with Virtual Hill visits on Day 2.  NASTAD thanks our partners and all participants for their support that resulted in a fantastic and interactive convening.

Additional Updates

CDC Summary Paper: National Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program 2009 – 2017

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program analyzed 2009-2017 annual programmatic reports submitted by 56 US jurisdictions to assess characteristics of maternal-infant pairs and achievement of objective of infant hepatitis B postexposure prophylaxis, vaccine series completion, and past vaccination serologic testing (PVST). Click here to read the abstract.

National Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine: February 22–24, 2021
The National Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine is a virtual event that will unite representatives from across the US government, with tribal, state, local, and territorial leaders and representatives from public health, healthcare systems, national and community-based non-governmental organizations, education, private industry, unions, and faith-based organizations. All have a role in supporting COVID-19 vaccination. Register here.

New Release: 340B Hospitals in Pursuit of Health Equity – Best Practices from Safety-Net Hospitals

The 340B program plays a central role in supporting the hospitals profiled in this report. The 340B program helps to ensure access to care in underserved areas, funds mobile care units and outreach, provides access to low-cost medications that enable patients to follow their treatment regimens, funds interpretation services, and makes it possible to offer vital but under-reimbursed services such as behavioral health and addiction services, viral hepatitis or HIV/AIDS care. Read the report and see the infographic summarizing the key findings.

Call for presentations and story tellers! The Oregon Viral Hepatitis Collective Annual Meeting

The Oregon Viral Hepatitis Collective has put out a call for presentations and stories for their annual meeting, which is scheduled to be held virtually on April 16, 2021. If you are connected with organizations and/or individuals in the state who are working to eliminate hepatitis or are living with or cured from HBV or HCV, please encourage them to apply here.

Upcoming webinars/events:

Addressing Disparities in Immunization Rates
National Foundation for Infectious Disease (NFID)
February 23, 11:00 -12:00 PM ET
Join NFID for a discussion on strategies to increase coverage for all recommended vaccines, including COVID-19 and influenza. This webinar will include presentations on disparities by race/ethnicity for influenza vaccination coverage in US adults as well as the results of an NFID survey on beliefs and attitudes toward influenza and COVID-19 vaccination among US Black adults.

Expanding Harm Reduction Access using Online and Mail-Based Services
NASTAD & Next Distro
February 24, 3:00 – 4:15 PM ET
The popularity of distributing harm reduction materials including safer use supplies by mail has grown significantly since COVID-19. Join for a discussion about values, opportunities, and challenges related to mail-based harm reduction. Members of the NEXT Distro team will provide an overview of program operations, opportunities to collaborate, and discuss how to expand mail-based harm reduction access in local communities. Additionally, Corey Davis from the Network for Public Health Law will be available to provide an overview of the legality of mail-based syringe and naloxone access.

Addressing Hepatitis A Outbreaks During COVID-19: Challenges, Opportunities, & Innovations
NACCHO
March 3, 3:00 PM ET
This webinar will characterize the widespread, person-to-person outbreaks of hepatitis A across the United States, the role LHDs play in the prevention and control of viral hepatitis, and the evolution of the hepatitis A response throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants will also hear from a health department that has strengthened community partnerships and scaled up hepatitis A education, outreach, and vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Archived Webinars

Hepatitis Delta Overview with Dr. Ira Jacobson

The Hepatitis B Foundation hosted a patient and provider-focused webinar about hepatitis delta virus (HDV) and the new drug Hepcludex that was just approved for prescription by the European Union in July of 2020. This is the first drug in the world approved for the treatment of HDV. The webinar featured a discussion of the disease and the drug led by Dr. Ira Jacobson of NYU’s Langone Health, followed by patient testimony and time for questions and answers. Click here for the recording.

Elevating the Patient Voice – Perspectives and Experiences of Individuals with Living with Hepatitis B

During this webinar, panelists report on the first hepatitis B externally-led patient-focused drug development meeting held in collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, discuss results from an international hepatitis B patient survey, and share preliminary data from focused interviews.

Upcoming Meetings

National Hepatitis Corrections Network | Regional Series *virtual

BLOCK HIV/HCV – Bringing Local Communities Together to Eliminate Coinfection Through Knowledge and Partnerships

These are regional meetings for professionals engaged in HIV and viral hepatitis work. This series of multidisciplinary educational interventions builds connections across care networks to optimize the treatment of patients with HCV, specifically in the context of HIV/HCV coinfection.

  • April 12th, 2021: Knoxville, TN, click here to register
  • May 3rd, 2021: Lansing, MI, click here to register
  • Spring 2021: Cincinnati, OH, registration coming soon!

The Academic Health & Policy Conference on Correctional Health | April 8-10, 2021 *virtual

The Correctional Health Conference provides a forum for researchers, clinicians, administrators, educators, policymakers, and grant funding leaders to network, share evidence, and learn about emerging research and relevant policy updates in the field of correctional health care. Click here to view the schedule and register.

National Latinx Conference on HIV/HCV/SUD | April 15-16, 2021 *virtual  

This conference aims to provide healthcare and social service providers with innovative concepts, best practices, and new information on how to better serve Latinx communities. It represents an important step towards fulfilling the goals of the 2020 National HIV/AIDS Strategy and bringing the needs of Latinx community to the forefront in the fight against HIV, HCV, and SUD. Registration here.  

Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) | June 13-17, 2021  

Pittsburgh, PA

Conference attendees meet and share their expertise in surveillance and epidemiology as well as best practices in a broad range of areas including informatics, infectious diseases, substance use, immunizations, environmental health, occupational health, chronic disease, injury control, and maternal and child health. Click here to register.

Job Opportunities

Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships and Communications

The Asian Liver Center at Stanford University is seeking an Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships and Communications to direct partnerships that help eliminate hepatitis B deaths and stigma. Click here for the full job description.

HCV Senior Data and Research Analyst, NYC Health Department

The Senior Data and Research Analyst will be responsible for the design and analysis of surveillance data, including providing epidemiologic and statistical guidance to surveillance staff as well as other staff in the Viral Hepatitis Program.  In addition, the Senior Data and Research Analyst will ensure the quality of the data so that analyses are properly conducted.  You will publish findings on viral hepatitis diagnoses and care, morbidity, and mortality using surveillance data. Click here for the full job description.

Publications:

Impact of the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic on Ambulatory Hepatitis C Testing, Journal of Primary Care & Community Health, Nov 2020. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has led to unprecedented modifications to healthcare delivery in the U.S. To preserve resources in preparation for a COVID-19 surge, Boston Medical Center (BMC) implemented workflows to decrease ambulatory in-person visits. Telemedicine was incorporated into clinical workflows and much preventive care, including Hepatitis C (HCV) testing, was not routinely performed.

HepVU Q&A Blog: The Importance of Funding Viral Hepatitis Elimination

In this Q&A session, Frank Hood of The AIDS Institute explains the need for viral hepatitis elimination and the logistics behind budget negotiations. Read the full blog here.

Accelerating access to hepatitis C diagnostics and treatment, World Health Organization, January 2021.  

For the first time, this year’s WHO report includes information on hepatitis C diagnostics. With a focus on selected countries with diverse HCV epidemics, the report provides updates on the various dimensions of access to HCV diagnostics and pharmaceutical products, including product pricing, the regulatory environment and patent status, which together shape the national hepatitis response in different settings. It highlights key areas for action by ministries of health and other government decision-makers, pharmaceutical manufacturers and technical partners. Click here to download.