B Free CEED Applauds Release of IOM Recommendations On Hepatitis B

January 21, 2010



New York, NY – January 21, 2010 – B Free CEED, a New York-based National Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Hepatitis B Disparities, praised the release of the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) new recommendations for addressing gaps in viral hepatitis programs.

“The findings validate the work that we have been doing at B Free CEED to increase screenings, increase awareness and increase treatment for hepatitis B,” said Henry Pollack, MD, Scientific Principal Investigator for B Free CEED. “I encourage anyone who advocates for those with hepatitis B to fully leverage this report and push for much-needed resources.”

Dr. Pollack is on the Steering Committee of the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR), a coalition of more than 150 public, private, and voluntary organizations dedicated to reducing the incidence of viral hepatitis in the US. The NVHR played an instrumental role in obtaining support and funding for the IOM report.

The nearly 200-page report, entitled “Hepatitis and Liver Cancer: A National Strategy For Prevention and Control of Hepatitis B and C,” is the product of intensive collaboration among researchers, patient advocates and other experts in the field of viral hepatitis.

Chronic hepatitis B is a serious disease that affects an estimated 1.2 million Americans. Almost half of those living with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in the US are Asian Pacific Islanders. In New York City, 15 percent of Asian Pacific Islanders screened for HBV in 2005 were infected. While public health programs exist for preventing and controlling chronic hepatitis B, the disease, along with hepatitis C, is still the leading cause of liver disease and liver cancer. However, as stated in the IOM report, the threat of hepatitis B can be effectively controlled with improvements in public health surveillance, knowledge and awareness, immunization, and screening and care services.

“This is the first comprehensive report identifying the barriers, gaps and resources still needed to address hepatitis B among our target population, Asian and Pacific Islanders in New York City,” said Dr. Pollack. “It is a good first step, but it is now up to us to make it an indispensable tool to raise awareness among vulnerable populations, service providers and lawmakers, and to ultimately eliminate this health disparity.”

About B Free CEED:
B Free CEED is a national resource and expert center committed to eliminating hepatitis B disparities in Asian and Pacific Islander communities. B Free CEED develops, evaluates, and disseminates evidence-based practices. A partnership of New York University School of Medicine and local and national coalition members, B Free CEED is one of eighteen Centers of Excellence in the Elimination of Disparities funded in 2007 under the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health Across the U.S. (REACH U.S.) program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Simona Kwon, Program Manager
B Free CEED: National Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Hepatitis B Disparities
New York University School of Medicine