San Francisco, CA – San Francisco Hep B Free and ThinkTank Learning announced today a new public-private partnership to fight Hepatitis B disease. The first project of their collaboration will be to coordinate the largest simultaneous screening event for Hepatitis B in California on World Hepatitis Day, Sunday, July 28.
The Hep B screenings will be conducted in nine cities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area at 10 different ThinkTank Learning Centers. It is part of a larger program to engage ThinkTank’s 6,000 students in learning how to prevent Hep B disease and liver cancer among their family, friends and community. The students will be educated via web-based lessons on preventing Hep B infection and liver cancer, and will receive service learning credits for educating and getting their friends and family members tested for Hep B infection. ThinkTank Learning is also donating $10,000 to SF Hep B Free.
“ThinkTank Learning is pleased to be supplementing our students’ education this summer by providing them with the opportunity to learn more about Hepatitis B, and for them to go out into their own communities and spread the word about preventing this deadly disease,” said ThinkTank Learning CEO, Steven Ma.
Hepatitis B is the greatest cause of liver cancer in the world, and it is also the greatest health disparity facing Asians and Pacific Islanders. One in 12 Asians in America is infected with Hep B, but most don’t even know it because Hep B often shows no symptoms. Safe and effective medications can prevent anyone from getting liver cancer from Hep B. The most important step is to know your status by getting tested for Hep B.
“A screening this large has never been attempted in California before,” said Fiona Ma, SF Hep B Free Honorary Chairperson and former California Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore. “The partnership between ThinkTank, Hep B Free and county health departments is a perfect example of public and private resources working together to improve community health with the goal of ending liver cancer, fighting the spread of Hepatitis B, and saving lives.”
The collaboration is being coordinated through the AsianWeek Foundation, a co-founder of Hep B Free, and includes four Bay Area Hep B Free campaigns: San Francisco Hep B Free, San Mateo County Hep B Free, Hep B Free Santa Clara County and Hep B Free Alameda County. Sutter Hospitals Westbay is leading coordination with Chinese Hospital to provide medical personnel and lab services to perform the screenings.
“In this time of healthcare reform, improving the health of the Asian Pacific American community starts with making sure that all members of the family and all generations in our community are educated and take steps to prevent diseases like Hep B and liver cancer. This is an innovative program with ThinkTank Learning students to do just that,” said Ted Fang, Director of AsianWeek Foundation and co-founder of SF Hep B Free.
The screenings are part of a national screening program funded in part by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to screen 18,000 immigrants for Hep B this year. Four thousand screenings are being conducted in the San Francisco Bay Area alone.
ThinkTank Learning will open 10 of its education centers to the public on July 28, in commemoration of World Hepatitis Day, for members of the public to come in and get screened.