International Community Health Center (ICHC) Program Coordinator, Michael To attended the Hep B United Summit in Washington DC on July 27th-29th. The summit addressed the epidemic of Hepatitis B with advocates from around the country. Representatives like Michael discussed unique ways to craft a culturally and linguistically appropriate approach to screen and educate diverse populations.
In addition to collaborating about educating communities, participants of the summit met with federal officials from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) and the Department of Justice to push for more effective policies and increased funding. Michael met with Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, and Ohio Representative Marcia Fudge during the Summit’s Hill Visits to encourage our elected officials to advocate for Hep B and come back in 2018 when a new bill will be discussed.
“It’s important that ICHC partners with Hep B United to improve access to care and treatment for individuals living with hepatitis B to prevent end-stage liver disease and liver cancer,” said Michael To.
Moving forward, ICHC has plans to integrate Hep B screening and education within the current programs and services at the health center and begin partnering with pharmacies to provide risk assessments for patients who would then be referred to ICHC.
Established in 2011 by the Hepatitis B Foundation and the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organization (AAPCHO), Hep B United is a national coalition to address the public health challenge of hepatitis B, the leading cause of liver cancer and a major health disparity among Asian American and Pacific Islanders. Hep B United strives to increase hepatitis B testing and vaccination, particularly among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and other at risk communities.