Hepatitis Happenings and Updates

By Jasmine West April 28, 2021

NASTAD Updates

Request for Sign-on: Letter of Support for CDC Funding Opportunity - National Viral Hepatitis Education, Awareness, and Capacity Building for Communities and Providers (CDC-RFA-PS21-2105)
NASTAD, in partnership with the National Virus Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR), and the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), is preparing to submit a proposal in response to CDC released funding opportunity CDC-RFA-PS21-2105 for National Viral Hepatitis Education, Awareness, and Capacity Building for Communities and Providers: Part A. If the proposal is successful, the partnership will coordinate coalition efforts through training, technical assistance, capacity building, materials development and dissemination, and other forms of support to aid members in strengthening their viral hepatitis education, outreach, testing, and linkage to care activities. NASTAD is seeking sign-on from its members to a letter of support for this proposal. NASTAD is requesting that our members sign-on to the letter of support for CDC-RFA-PS21-210 by completing this form by the close of business on Friday, April 30, 2021. Please direct any questions to Boatemaa Ntiri-Reid or Jasmine West.

NASTAD and Hep B United are co-hosting a Coffee Hour to kick off Hepatitis Awareness Month on Wednesday, May 5th at 3pm ET! The hour will provide an overview of Hepatitis 101, a panel of storytellers sharing their experience living with or affected by viral hepatitis, and a variety of CDC's Division of Viral Hepatitis and partner materials and resources to utilize throughout the month.

Join us with coffee or tea in hand to participate in a fulfilling session that will kick off the first week of Hepatitis Awareness Month! Click here to register.

National Hispanic Hepatitis Awareness Day
May 15th marks National Hispanic Hepatitis Awareness Day. Alex Eanes, Associate, Hepatitis, will interview Luis Mares, LMSW, National Community Mobilization Director from the Latino Commission on AIDS to discuss community mobilization and how hepatitis impacts the Hispanic community. Please stay tuned for the published interview in May.

Hepatitis Awareness Month is observed annually during the month of May in the United States. Throughout the month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health partners work to shed light on this hidden epidemic by raising awareness of viral hepatitis and encouraging priority populations to get tested. Additionally, May 19 marks National Hepatitis Testing Day, a campaign to raise awareness of hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C as major public health threats, while encouraging testing to identify the millions of people living with hepatitis who don’t know it.

Check out and share CDC's Social Media Toolkit with your networks to help spread the word about Hepatitis Awareness Month and National Hepatitis Testing Day. Follow and tag @cdchep on Twitter and use these hashtags to broaden your reach: #HepatitisAwarenessMonth, #Hepatitis, #HepAware2021.

CDC’s Hepatitis Awareness Month webpage has free resources to help support your awareness activities and testing events. Resources include live-read radio scripts to pitch your events to local radio stations, sample proclamations for Hepatitis Awareness Month and/or National Hepatitis Testing Day, and free posters.

Announcing the 2021 Minority Leadership Program Cohort – Congratulations!
NASTAD is excited to announce and congratulate the 2021 Minority Leadership Program (MLP) Cohort! Now in its eighth cycle, through the years MLP has engaged 113 people of color in a transformative space where life-long connections are made, and visions for equitable health are solidified.  
With a far reach across drug user health, viral hepatitis, and HIV programs, the 16 fellows in the 2021 cohort have the leadership and dedication needed to address the root causes of health inequities while centering the most impacted communities. NASTAD staff had the pleasure of meeting the cohort in March during the first training session. Despite being in a virtual setting, deep connections, insights, and empowering moments were shared.

340B for Viral Hepatitis Programs 
Join us, as NASTAD continues the webinar series 340B for Viral Hepatitis Programs. This series provides a detailed understanding of HRSA’s 340B Drug Pricing Program to support viral hepatitis programs. Each webinar highlights innovative models and implementation that support hepatitis elimination efforts, as well as case studies from jurisdictions with existing 340B partnerships.

The archived recordings can be found on NASTAD’s YouTube channel and here: part 1; part 2; part 3; part 4.

The fifth and final webinar before summer recess, “The Role of 340B in Health Equity,” will provide a space to discuss how the 340B Drug Pricing Program can support hepatitis programs to work towards health equity. It will be held on Wednesday, May 5, from 12:00 to 1:00 PM ET. Click here to register.  

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

New Resource Publication: COVID-19 Vaccine: Guidance for Syringe Services Programs, Health Departments, and People Who Use Drugs
Health departments across the country are working to make COVID-19 vaccines available to populations at higher risk of experiencing serious complications or illness. Partnering with syringe services programs (SSPs) for vaccine distribution is one way to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines among people who use drugs and others underserved by traditional healthcare systems. This fact sheet contains recommendations that are based on experiences from SSPs in the United States and includes strategies for involving SSPs and health departments in vaccine distribution, increasing vaccine access among SSP staff and participants, and supporting people who use drugs throughout the vaccination process.

2021 CSTE Annual Conference 
We invite you to register to attend the Sunday Hepatitis C Surveillance workshop “Methodologies to Inform Prevention and Elimination”. This collaborative workshop planned by members of the CSTE Hepatitis C Subcommittee, The CDC Division of Viral Hepatitis, and NASTAD, will explore existing capacity across HCV surveillance programs, discuss updated viral hepatitis guidelines, technical assistance needs and opportunities for standardization and collaboration.

The 2021 Annual Conference will take place from June 13-17, 2021. This year’s theme is “Building Bridges to Health”, reflecting on the many ways The COVID-19 pandemic has changed public health relationships.

Registration for the virtual conference is open and available at https://www.csteconference.org/index.php/registration2021/ . A limited number of workshop sponsorships are available. Please contact India Bowman at ibowman@cste.org for more information.

Community Spotlight

Congratulate HepConnect phase 2 grantees!
HepConnect is a regional initiative to mobilize and expand capacity for organizations working with people who use drugs in five states significantly impacted by rising hepatitis C (HCV) rates: Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. Grantees will use funds to provide new or expanded harm reduction services for people who use drugs (e.g. supplies, outreach sites and mobile vans, and testing materials) or to educate the community about harm reduction (e.g. public education, advocacy campaigns). Funding also supports staffing and creating positions, training, and support groups for people who use drugs.

Additional Updates

Media Statement: CDC Director Declares Racism a Public Health Crisis
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky stated: “What we know is this: racism is a serious public health threat that directly affects the well-being of millions of Americans.” Dr. Walensky noted that the CDC would use COVID funding to invest in communities of color—including other economically marginalized groups—to address the omnipresent health disparities. Learn more about the CDC’s commitment to addressing racism as an obstacle to health equity here.

Enhancing the HCV Care Model - Best Practices for Universal Testing & Linkage to Care
Join the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium for a 4-session learning collaborative focused on improving screening and treatment of HCV. In the wake of the CDC’s 2019 updated recommendations for universal HCV screening among U.S. adults aged 18 years and older, there is much to be done to make universal testing and treatment cost-effective and standardized within primary care. Faculty for this learning collaborative include an infectious disease physician, a provider in community health, an HCV/HIV Patient Navigator, and policy advocates who will share their expertise and examples demonstrating best practices in screening. NNCC is offering 1 free CNE/CME for attendance at each session.

Schedule:
Module 1: Enhancing HCV Screening and Treatment: April 21, 2021 at 2:00 pm ET
Module 2: Administrative & Testing: May 5, 2021 at 2:00 pm ET
Module 3: Changing State Policy: May 19, 2021 at 2:00 pm ET
Module 4: Linkage to Care: Precursors to HCV Treatment: June 2, 2021 at 2:00 pm ET

You can view the details and register here.

Hepatitis B Foundation is celebrating their 30th Anniversary Gala on Friday, April 30, at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
It's free, open to all and registration is not required. Although it's a virtual event due to the pandemic, it will be a fun way to launch the Foundation's 30th Anniversary celebration.
A new, feature video will provide a rich but brief view of our history. We will present three awards to some wonderfully deserving people. And you can bid on one or more of the amazing items in our silent auction, such as airlines tickets, a stay at Busch Gardens in Florida, some fine wine and excellent creations by a number of artists. Here's the website.

Congressional Briefing – Advancing Health Equity through Adult Hepatitis B Vaccination
There will be a virtual briefing on Thursday, April 29th from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM EDT recognizing National Adult Hepatitis B Vaccination Awareness Day! Panelists will discuss how we can work towards achieving health equity by increasing adult hepatitis B vaccination rates. In the US, just 25% of adults are fully vaccinated against hepatitis B infection. The expert panel includes representatives from the community, clinical, and federal sectors. This briefing is held in partnership with the National Consumers League, the Adult Vaccine Access Coalition, the AIDS Institute, the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), and the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable.  Click here to register.   

Webinar: Hepatitis C Care and Elimination in Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation: An Indigenous community-led model for HCV
Date: Friday, April 30th, 12 pm ET
The April article in the "Innovations in Hepatitis Elimination Series" features a report from the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, an indigenous community in rural Saskatchewan, Canada who launched an integrated HCV care model focused on 1) HCV education and advocacy, 2) screening, 3) treatment, and 4) knowledge translation. Between December 2016 and July 2019, 227 HCV tests were completed with 83 individuals (41.5%) linked to care, 55 (66%) treated, and 42(77%) cured. Join us for a discussion with authors of the report from Saskatchewan University, Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, Saskatchewan Health Authority, and Indigenous Services Canada to explore how this model was launched and the challenges and successes of the program.

This webinar will also mark the launch of the first-ever North America Hepatitis Elimination Summit. Authors will be joined by United States-based colleagues to share experiences in developing HCV elimination programs in indigenous communities.

Webinar:  Leaving no one behind: Research to uncover and address health disparities in hepatitis burden of disease and cure
Date: Thursday, May 13th, 3 pm ET
The United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) is committed to setting research priorities that advance progress toward viral hepatitis elimination. In 2020, Dr. Harvey Alter, NIH researcher, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for his contributions to the discovery of HCV, exemplifying the importance of NIH to hepatitis elimination efforts.

NIH and the Coalition for Global Hepatitis Elimination launched the webinar series, "Moving from Hepatitis Discovery to Elimination" to highlight ongoing research that can benefit elimination efforts, support translation of research into implementation, and identify additional research needs.
 
Research projects to be presented include:

  • Using an Integrated Approach to Eliminating Hepatitis-Related Liver Disease Disparities Among Asian Americans, Grace Ma, Temple University
  • Hepatitis C in HIV-infected men: a health disparities perspective, Yun-Chi Chen, Morgan State University
  • Multi-level determinants of ethnic disparities in liver diseases in the United States, Veronica Setiawan, University of Southern California
  • Racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in care for hepatitis C: What do we know and what do we need to learn? Martin F. Shapiro, Weill Medical College of Cornell University

Request for Information:

  1. If you have hep A, B, and C resources and materials for youth leaders and advocates, please reach out to thaddeus.pham@doh.hawaii.gov. EX: youth targeted trainings, webinars, etc.

Upcoming webinars/events:

Coordinating Hepatitis C (HCV) and HIV Treatment in Primary Care
National Nurse-Led Care Consortium
May 3, 2021 at 2 PM EST
Join the National Nurse-Led Care Consortium and the National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center for a webinar exploring the link between HCV and HIV, and particular considerations for community-based primary care providers. We will be joined by infectious disease specialists Dr. Kevin Ard and nurse practitioner Maggie Beiser, Director of HCV Services at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, who will share expertise and cases that demonstrate best practices for preventing and/or treating co-infection.

Integrating Hep C and B Telemedicine into Low-Threshold Care Models
Empire Liver Foundation
May 26, 2021 at 4:30 PM EST
Learn how clinical providers have implemented hepatitis B and C treatment via telemedicine in a hospital and at a syringe service program during COVID. Join more than 2,000 physicians, NPs, PAs, RNs and pharmacists across NYC who have benefited from Empire Liver Foundation's clinical education webinars.

Archived Webinars

Addressing Hepatitis A Outbreaks During COVID-19: Challenges, Opportunities, & Innovations
NACCHO’s webinar provides an overview of how local health departments are responding to hepatitis A outbreaks through case investigation, outreach, education and vaccination campaigns, for close contacts and populations disproportionately impacted by hepatitis A. Click here to review the recording.

Solutions to Improve HCV Cure Rates in HIV/HCV Coinfected Patients
This webinar explored the factors that affect clinical management of HCV among people living with HIV- getting at the root question of “Why aren’t we curing all people who are co-infected?” Understanding the gaps is a prerequisite to compiling solutions that support the patient, the clinician, and the nursing field. This presentation focused on an ANAC2020 report shaped by interviews conducted with nurses and other clinical, research, and policy experts.

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  treatment of patients with HCV, specifically in the context of HIV/HCV coinfection.

  • May 3rd, 2021, Lansing, MI: Click here to register
  • Spring 2021, Cincinnati, OH: Registration coming soon!

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. 

The International HBV Meeting on the Molecular Biology of Hepatitis B Viruses | September 13-17
Toronto, Canada
Registration will open in early 2021. Please click here for the official website. 

The 9th International Conference on Health and Hepatitis Care in Substance Users (INHSU) | October 13-15
Hybrid model – Sydney, Australia and on-demand streaming 
Join delegates from all over the world with 20+ sessions from world-leading experts over three days. In line with our new strategic direction and name, this year’s conference will be broadening the focus to include not just HCV but also other infectious diseases and the broader health of people who use drugs. Please click here to access the conference page. Abstract submissions are due April 25 and early bird registration ends June 7. 

Job Opportunities  
Associate, Drug User Health – NASTAD

Drug User Health will play a vital role in project coordination to streamline and enhance the team’s expanding drug user health portfolio. Core activities will entail administrative and logistical support to NASTAD’s Drug User Health team in the delivery of technical assistance (TA) and training to health department and community-based officials. This position works closely with the team to facilitate effective coordination and communication across multifaceted project activities and deliverables.

Manager, Drug User Health – NASTAD

Drug User Health will support the advancement of NASTAD’s efforts to assist health departments and community-based drug user health programs by providing technical assistance (TA) and training on effective drug user health strategies and connecting people who use drugs to HIV and hepatitis prevention and treatment programs. Core activities will include: leading  collaborations and organizational partnerships to expand access to clinical care for people who use drugs; supporting the creation and release of training curricula and guidance documents; and providing tailored TA to support health department drug user health and harm reduction programs, community SSPs, and HIV and hepatitis care and treatment programs.

Viral Hepatitis Prevention and Surveillance Program Specialist, Nebraska Dept of Health and Human Services

We are seeking a public health professional to collaborate with the Viral Hepatitis Program Manager to develop our Viral Hepatitis Prevention Program, and to work closely with the Viral Hepatitis Epidemiologist to help implement the new Nebraska Viral Hepatitis Surveillance Program. Click here for the full job description.

Hepatitis Care Coordinator, Hawai'i Health & Harm Reduction Center

The Hepatitis Care Coordinator will provide care coordination services to clients diagnosed with chronic viral hepatitis and who are willing to address their disease through Hep Free Hawai‘i programs. Care coordination services primarily focus on medical case management, especially for addressing barriers to care and developing a care/treatment plan for hepatitis. The duties of this position require the handling and management of confidential client health information. Click here to read the full job description.

Health Systems Development Manager, Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH)

The Health Systems Development Manager is a key position within the Office of Health Care Planning (OHCP), Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences (BIDLS), Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH). The Health Systems Development Manager facilitates and manages activities to strengthen the capacity of public health and healthcare providers to respond to infectious disease, improve health outcomes, and promote health equity. Click here to read the full job description.

Publications:

Self-testing for HIV, HBV, and HCV using finger-stick whole-blood multiplex immunochromatic rapid test: A pilot feasibility study in sub-Saharan Africa. PLoSOne, April 2021.

“The burden of HIV, HBV, and HCV infections remains disproportionately high in sub-Saharan Africa, with high rates of co-infections. This pilot study shows evidence for the first time in sub-Saharan Africa on good practicability and high acceptability of a prototype Triplex HIV/HCV/HBsAg self-test for simultaneous diagnosis of three highly prevalent chronic viral infections, providing the rational basis of using self-test harboring four bands of interest, i.e. the control, HIV, HCV, and HBsAg bands.”

How Michigan Plans to Eliminate Hepatitis C. HepMag, April 2021.

“Michigan’s state health leaders have laid out a plan to end hepatitis C as a health threat in the Great Lakes State. Through the “We Treat Hep C” initiative, launched April 1, they aim to promote universal hepatitis testing and make treatment with Mavyret, an oral tablet, more accessible.”

Exclusive: CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky Unveils Agency Initiative to Address Racism in Health

Earlier this month, CDC launched a new agency-wide initiative called Racism and Health…”to refocus the CDC’s public health efforts on recognizing, acknowledging, and, most importantly, taking action on the multitude of ways race impacts people’s health. From historical mistreatment that’s led to ongoing hesitancy and fear of the medical establishment among certain racial and ethnic communities, to lack of access to good care, to lack of representation in research studies and among the ranks of health care workers, racism has long been ingrained in the U.S. health system.”

Blog:  Injection Drug Use and Hepatitis C Trends in the Indian Health Service, Richard Haverkate, MPH

For National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, HepVu spoke with Richard Haverkate, MPH, on the impact of injection drug use on HIV and Hepatitis C in Native communities.

Medicine’s Privileged Gatekeepers: Producing Harmful Ignorance About Racism and Health. Health Affairs, April 2021

“Ignorance is neither neutral nor benign, especially when it cloaks evidence of harm. And when ignorance is produced and entrenched by gatekeeper medical institutions, as has been the case with obfuscation of at least 200 years of knowledge about racism and health, the damage is compounded. The racialized inequities exposed this past year—involving COVID-19, police brutality, environmental injustice, attacks on democratic governance, and more—have sparked mainstream awareness of structural racism and heightened scrutiny of the roles of scientific institutions in perpetuating ignorance about how racism harms health.”