The B Free National Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Hepatitis B Disparities (B Free CEED) held a discussion about strategies to combat hepatitis B in New York City’s API community on Oct. 14 at the New York University Torch Club.
Hepatitis B prevention experts and community and government stakeholders discussed the new Center for Disease Control’s new guidelines for the disease and learned about San Francisco’s successes and challenges in a presentation by Janet Zola of the San Francisco Department of Health on San Francisco Hep B Free-a citywide campaign to screen, vaccinate and treat all API residents for hepatitis B.
“Ms. Zola and the S.F. Hep B Free campaign have created a model program,” said Dr. Simona Kwon, B Free CEED program manager. “They have done a great job of engaging the community, policy leaders, private health corporations and pharmaceutical companies.”
This event was part of the B Free CEED’s learning exchange seminar series intended to build professional networks among health researchers, providers and community organizations serving API communities, where hepatitis B prevalence is high. The series provided a forum for experts to share information about research and programming practices.
“For this learning exchange we wanted to highlight the process of starting up a hepatitis B awareness campaign and the different partnerships that need to be formed and created in order for sustainability and to ensure the success of the project,” Kwon said.
A partnership of New York University School of Medicine and local and national coalition members, B Free CEED develops, evaluates and disseminates evidence-based practices for organizations, coalitions and agencies interested in increasing hepatitis B awareness or putting together hepatitis B screening projects in their communities.
“A lot of research has been done on this disease but has not trickled down to the community,” Kwon said. “There’s a gap and the knowledge often stays in academia, never making it down to the community level. We are trying to bridge that.”
Their website, bfree.med.nyu.edu, will be updated with resources, manuals and toolkits to help groups put together successful outreach efforts, campaigns and research activities to eliminate hepatitis B disparities in their communities.