Hepatitis B Initiative of Washington DC Hosts First Annual Gala to Support Hepatitis B Screening and Vaccination Efforts in DC Area

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Top row, left to right: Gem Daus, APIAHF; Jeff Cabellero, AAPCHO; Dr. Garth Graham, OMH-HHS and two of his guests; Pastor Hank Hahm, HBI-DC; Taylor Kim, HBI-DC. Bottom row, left to right: Katherine Bowman and Earline McWilliams, Gilead; Betty Lam, HBI-DC; Betty Lee Hawks, OMH-HHS, Leslie Hsu Oh, HBI-DC; Sun Hi Kim, HBI-DC; Grace Tsai, HBI-DC; Wai-ping Chan, HBI-DC; Thomas Oh, HBI-DC.

Arlington, Virginia – The Hepatitis B Initiative of DC (HBI-DC), a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting hepatitis B in at-risk communities, hosted more than 280 attendees at its first-ever benefit gala held Sunday Nov. 14. The event took place at the China Garden Restaurant in Arlington and honored volunteers and physician leaders who have joined forces with HBI-DC to prevent hepatitis B infection and its deadly consequences. The event raised over $20,000 to support free hepatitis B education, screening, and vaccination events in the DC area.

“Culturally appropriate programs like the Hepatitis B Initiative are so critical…this is an opportunity to increase hepatitis B education and raise awareness among our communities, including our providers,” said Daphne Kwok, Chair of President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

“We are the only organization in the DC area using an integrated public health strategy to fight hepatitis B, building public and private partnerships and organizing volunteers to deliver free services to communities. We refer people with hepatitis B infection to appropriate care, and we provide culturally and linguistically appropriate hepatitis B education, screening and vaccinations to our high-risk communities at no charge,” said Jane Pan, executive director of HBI-DC. “Hep B Free DC believes in order to eradicate Hepatitis B, we have to join hands for the Hep B Free America movement.”

“We have an incredible opportunity to eradicate a deadly virus if we work together. By increasing awareness, screening, and vaccination, we can prevent infection and the consequences of hepatitis B–liver cancer and failure-that unnecessarily take the lives of so many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,” said Dr. Jennifer Lee, Chair of the HBI-DC Board.

HBI-DC presented 2010 Community Service Awards to Dr. Mark Li, Dr. Andrew Lee, Dr. Sang Van Tran, Dr. Benson Yu, and Dr. Mo Ping Chow. Many members of the Chinese American Medical Society and the Vietnamese Medical Society were in attendance. Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, Director of the Fairfax County Department of Health.The award-winning journalist and former CNN news anchor, Joie Chen, was the Mistress of Ceremonies.

About the Hepatitis B Initiative of DC (HBI-DC)
1 out of 10 Asian Americans are infected with Hepatitis B. Many do not know they are infected and can live without symptoms for many years until they develop liver cancer or liver failure. HBI-DC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing hepatitis B infection and its deadly consequences in at-risk groups through culturally and linguistically appropriate education, screening, vaccination and treatment referrals.

In the past year alone, HBI-DC screened more than 1,400 at-risk individuals, provided in-person education to more than 2,200 people, vaccinated over 100 at-risk individuals and identified more than 110 individuals who were infected with hepatitis B, giving them a chance to prevent long-term complications of this disease. This was done at no charge to any participants. All funds raised are used to support free hepatitis B education, screening, and vaccination events in the DC metro area.

To learn more and to support the work of HBI-DC, visit our website at http://www.hepbinitiative.org.

For more information about the event, contact
j.pan@hepbinitiative.org or call 571-274-0021.

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