CalHEP Member Meetings

Spring Meeting 2011: Viral Hepatitis: Disparities and Opportunities

When:
May 19, 2011, 1:00 - 3:00 PM

Where:
New Location - Sheraton Grand Hotel, 1230 J Street, Sacramento

Viral hepatitis is often referred to as a silent epidemic. The vast majority of individuals infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) do not know they are infected, that they can infect others, and that with treatment they could avoid deadly or disabling liver disease or cancer. The estimated number of persons in California currently infected with untreated chronic viral hepatitis exceeds 700,000. Without improved screening and treatment efforts, from 2010 to 2030 the number of liver cancer cases in the U.S. is expected to rise 59 percent, with the highest increases expected among Hispanics and Asian American and Pacific Islanders.

Over half of those with chronic HBV are Asian/Pacific Islanders, many of whom have emigrated from countries with high rates of hepatitis B infection. While smaller in number, the highest rate of infection is among African American men (2.3 per 100,000). African Americans and Hispanics have higher rates of hepatitis C infection than Whites. In addition, 34 percent of California’s prison population is infected with chronic HCV.

Many aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provide opportunities to improve viral hepatitis prevention, screening, and treatment services. This is a crucial time for policymakers and advocates to ensure that ACA implementation efforts include strategies to reduce the current and future burden of viral hepatitis in California.

This forum provided:

  • An overview of the health and economic burdens associated with viral hepatitis in California, with an emphasis on research regarding racial/ethnic and economic disparities
  • Details on state and recently released federal plans to reduce the burden of viral hepatitis
  • Consumer perspective on the importance of access to viral hepatitis services
  • Recommendations for incorporating viral hepatitis prevention, screening and treatment into Affordable Care Act implementation efforts

Presenters:

  • Orlando Chavez, Organizer, United for Drug Policy Reform and Sherri Ziegler Community Service Award Winner
  • Ryan Clary, Director of Public Policy, Project Inform
  • Theresa Hughes, Founder/President, Wings for Life
  • Michelle Johnston, Sr. Program Specialist, Project Inform
  • Rachel McLean, Adult Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator, California Department of Public Health
  • Jennifer Ong, OD, Co-founder, Hep B Free Alameda County

The agenda, speaker presentations, and additional materials are available on the California Health Policy Forum website.

Funding for the California Health Policy Forum was provided by grants from the
California HealthCare Foundation, The California Wellness Foundation and Merck.

November 12, 2010: Hepatitis C Summit 2010, Los Angeles County

More than 200 healthcare providers and consumers in viral hepatitis attended the Hepatitis C Summit 2010, the largest annual gathering of people affected by viral hepatitis in Southern California.

The catered, day-long educational program featured leading clinicians, policy makers, public health officials and consumer advocates in viral hepatitis, addressing the latest in viral hepatitis treatment, prevention and policy issues facing Los Angeles County and California. Click on the link to view the slides from the CalHEP session on Hepatitis Advocacy, Action and Policy at the Local, State and National Levels.

For questions or more information, e-mail us at hepctf@hhcla.org or call (213) 403-0109.

Co-Sponsored by CalHEP and Hepatitis C Task Force for Los Angeles County.

May 19, 2010: National and State Calls to Address Viral Hepatitis: The Time to Act is Now

Liver cancer and liver disease related to viral hepatitis are among the leading causes of death in California and disproportionately affect Asian and Pacific Islander populations, African Americans, Latinos, LGBT populations, and the poor. Chronic infections from hepatitis B and C affect nearly 1 million Californians. They are the leading causes of liver transplantation in our state. California’s hospitalization costs for liver diseases and cancers related to viral hepatitis totaled over $2 billion in 2007. These infections are preventable and treatments are available; however, many persons at-risk or affected by these conditions are neither tested nor treated. This forum will provide:

  • An overview of the health and economic burdens associated with hepatitis in California
  • Key recommendations for hepatitis prevention and treatment from a 2010 Institute of Medicine report, as well as the major elements of California’s Adult Viral Hepatitis Prevention Strategic Plan (from the California Department of Public Health)
  • Highlights from successful community programs serving individuals with hepatitis

 Panelists

  • Assemblymember Fiona Ma, MS, MBA, Speaker pro Tempore
  • Bill Monning, JD, Chair, Health Committee
  • Spencer Baker, Education for Healthy Choices
  • Ted Fang, Asian Week Foundation
  • Bela Matyas, MD, MPH, California Department of Public Health
  • Michele Peterson, MPH, Project Inform
  • Samuel So, MD, Asian Liver Center, Stanford University, School of Medicine
  • Paul Harmatz, MD, Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland

 Materials can be found on the California Health Policy Forum website.

The Health Policy Forum was presented with support from The California Health Policy Forum, an initiative of the Project Inform. Funding is provided by a grant from the California HealthCare Foundation.

February 9, 2010: California’s Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Chronic Hepatitis B and C

This Webinar presented the information contained within the California Adult Viral Hepatitis Prevention Strategic Plan, and offered lessons from several Member Organizations on pioneering advocacy efforts on the local level. The aim is to make you familiar with some incremental steps that can be taken to support our national efforts, our state policy and advocacy efforts, and enhance your local work. Speakers included the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, the California Department of Public Health Adult Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator, and two experts presenting their successes with both Hepatitis B and C. Click here for PDF of slide presentation.

November 19, 2009: CalHEP Fall Meeting/Hepatitis C Summit

CalHEP and the Hepatitis C Task Force for Los Angeles County co-sponsored the 7th Annual Hepatitis C Summit in Los Angeles at the California Endowment on November 19. Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) delivered the keynote speech at the Fall CalHEP Membership Meeting, and other sessions featured CalHEP Medical Advisor Diana Sylvestre, MD; Rachel McLean, MPH, California’s adult viral hepatitis prevention coordinator; CalHEP Senior Consultant Martha Saly, MSOD; and CalHEP Steering Committee Member Ryan Clary. In her address, Ma reiterated her commitment to hepatitis awareness, prevention, and treatment. She built upon her personal story with an anecdote of a recent trip to the physician with her mother, showing how important it is to be an educated user of health care. Sylvestre’s talk on “ABC’s of Hepatitis” was a hit with attendees, each of whom received a copy of the book she co-authored with CalHEP Honorary Chair Chris Kennedy Lawford, Healing Hepatitis C, for each correct answer they gave to questions she posed. For example, Sylvestre asked, “When is it important to do a biopsy?” The answer: “When the results will make a change in a treatment decision.” McLean, Saly, and Clary sat on a panel “From Grassroots to Treetops: Local, State, and National Prevention and Policy Forum.” McLean talked about the impact that budget cuts have had on hepatitis testing, noting that reductions of more than 80% Office of AIDS prevention funds meant testing for hepatitis C has been scaled-back from 55 counties to 17 counties. California does have resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for free hepatitis A and B vaccination, however. Contact your county health department to learn how to acquire vaccinations or become a vaccination site. Clary spoke of the legacy of activism in HIV through Project Inform, the Hepatitis C Advocacy listserv for local efforts, and CalHEP’s statewide advocacy efforts. Saly gave an update from the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, which included discussion of H.R. 3974 and the Institute of Medicine’s Viral Hepatitis in the United States that is expected to be released in early January 2010. More than 300 health care providers and consumers in viral hepatitis attend the Summit, which is the largest annual gathering of people affected by viral hepatitis in Southern California. The catered, day-long educational program featured leading clinicians, policy makers, public health officials and consumer advocates in viral hepatitis, addressing the latest in viral hepatitis treatment, prevention and policy issues facing Los Angeles County and California.

June 10, 2009: Advocacy Day at the State Capitol

More than 50 advocates from across California attended CalHEP’s 2nd Annual Spring Meeting on June 10 and rallied at the Capitol in support of preserving funding for hepatitis screening and syringe exchange programs. Rachel McLean, California’s Adult Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator, kicked off the meeting with a discussion of current hepatitis A, B, and C prevention activities and gave an update on California’s viral hepatitis strategic plan. A panel discussion on state and federal health reform featured Herb Schultz, senior advisor to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; Jeff Caballero, executive director of the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations; and Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco). Advocates also met with their state legislators after the rally to discuss the impact of hepatitis on California communities.
  • Click here to access presentation materials and other resources from this meeting.
  • View a slide show of photos from the meeting.

November 21, 2008: CalHEP Fall Meeting/Hepatitis C Summit 

The summit was designed to give service providers and consumers a greater understanding of the viral hepatitis epidemic and the disease's impact on infected and at-risk populations in Los Angeles and Southern California. Keynote speaker Chris Kennedy Lawford, CalHEP honorary chair, spoke about his experience with hepatitis. Diana Sylvestre, MD, executive director of the O.A.S.I.S. Clinic in Oakland and CalHEP Medical Advisor, presented an update on current therapies for viral hepatitis. Updates on viral hepatitis strategic planning in California and Los Angeles were given by Rachel McLean, California adult viral hepatitis coordinator, and Robert Kim-Farley, MD, from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Meghan Ralston, of the Drug Policy Alliance, discussed syringe access in California, and Neva Chaupette, PhD, spoke about viral hepatitis and co-infection. The meeting also featured a consumer panel.

March 12, 2008: Advocacy Day at the State Capitol

More than 100 attended CalHEP’s first Sacramento meeting and advocacy day, which included presentations by: Christopher Kennedy Lawford, actor, author, and CalHEP honorary chair; Diana Sylvestre MD, executive director of O.A.S.I.S. and CalHEP Steering Committee Medical Advisor; Eddie Cheung, MD, director of hepatology for the VA Northern California Health Care System and CalHEP Steering Committee Member; Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco); and CalHEP Policy Consultant Glenn Backes. In his keynote address, Lawford told of drug use that exposed him to the hepatitis C virus for which he was treated and cured in 2002. Another highlight of the program was Dr. Cheung’s presentation that revealed a couple of startling facts: “90% of persons receiving the three-dose vaccination series develop preventable antibodies [at a cost of] $200 for the full course compared to HBV treatment at $2,000 – $16, 000/year”; and “as many as 1 out of 10 Asian Pacific Islander Americans are chronically infected with HBV.” After the morning program, advocacy teams of three to six people made more than 30 visits to the legislators and the governor to educate them about viral hepatitis and the consequences for Californians if we do not do something to stem the hepatitis B and C epidemics. Ma spoke about her personal struggles with Hepatitis B and AB 158, which provides for Medi-Cal benefits for Californians with hepatitis B.
  • Click here to access presentation materials and other resources from this meeting.
  • View a slide show of photos from the meeting. 

November 16, 2007: CalHEP Fall Meeting/Hepatitis C Summit