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CalHEP News

Congratulations to the 2017 CalHEP Awardees & Nominees

This is an extremely difficult time for California and for our country for a number of reasons, so it is with extra pleasure that the California Hepatitis Alliance announces our 2017 CalHEP Awardees and Nominees for the Sherri Ziegler Community Service Award, the Clinical Champion Award, and the Government Champion Award! The Awardees will be … Continue reading “Congratulations to the 2017 CalHEP Awardees & Nominees”

This is an extremely difficult time for California and for our country for a number of reasons, so it is with extra pleasure that the California Hepatitis Alliance announces our 2017 CalHEP Awardees and Nominees for the Sherri Ziegler Community Service Award, the Clinical Champion Award, and the Government Champion Award! The Awardees will be honored at Evening of Hope, on November 11th.

The selection committee had a challenging task because all of the nominees are well deserving of recognition and doing amazing things to address the viral hepatitis epidemics in California. The committee was so impressed by everyone nominated. We thank each of them for their ongoing service and commitment to ending hepatitis B and C in California and beyond!

 

The Sherri Ziegler Community Service Award

Awardee: Brandie Wilson, Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction

Honorable mentions:
Paris de la Rosa & Daniela Mieja, Access Support Network

Pauli Gray, San Francisco AIDS Foundation
Paul Harkin, Glide
Robin Roth, San Francisco Hepatitis C Task Force
Michael Wilk, Health Right 360

Established in 2009 in honor of the late Sherri R. Ziegler, a founding member of CalHEP, the award reflects her dedication to fighting hepatitis B and C. Sherri worked tirelessly to advocate in Sacramento and Washington, DC for those in need of support and services, especially in rural northern California. She loved to travel with her message of hope for people who, like her, were affected by hepatitis C. Sherri also mentored countless advocates all over the rural north. She always had a positive attitude even when she faced obstacles that would overwhelm most people. Along with her advocacy efforts, Sherri provided education, support, and other services for people with hepatitis C in her community. She was an invaluable resource to the Peach Tree Clinic, the Sutter, Yuba, and Butte County Health Departments, and advocacy groups in Shasta and Plumas Counties. This award is presented to an individual who has exhibited outstanding leadership in addressing viral hepatitis in California through advocacy, education, and/or direct services.  Nominations are encouraged for individuals who are leaders in the hepatitis B and/or hepatitis C communities. Previous award recipients include Leslie Benson (2010), Orlando Chavez (2011), Koy Parada & Mimi Chang (2012), and Shirley Barger (2016).

 

The Clinical Champion Award

Co-Awardees: Annie Luetkemeyer, MD, University of California San Francisco; Christian Ramers, MD, MPH, Family Health Centers of San Diego

Honorable mentions:
Kyle Barbour, MD pending
Andrew Desruisseau, MD
Betty Dong, PharmD
Jeff Klausner, MD, MPH

Established in 2016, the Clinical Champion award is presented to a healthcare provider (e.g., MD, DO, NP, PA, RN, PharmD, PsyD, MFT, LCSW) who has exhibited outstanding leadership in addressing viral hepatitis in California through the provision of clinical services and advocacy on behalf of their patients/clients. The previous award recipient was Dr. Catherine Moizeau.

 

The Government Champion Award

Awardee: Katie Burk, MPH, San Francisco Department of Public Health

Established in 2016, the Government Champion award is presented to someone working in federal, state, or local government (e.g., elected officials, government appointees, government employees) who has exhibited outstanding leadership in addressing viral hepatitis in California. The previous award recipient was Rachel McLean, MPH.

[BLOG POST] Hepatitis A Outbreaks in California

As you are likely aware, there have been notable outbreaks of hepatitis A in California (in San Diego and Santa Cruz Counties), as well as in other parts of the country. Officials just declared a hepatitis A outbreak in Los Angeles County, as well.   Click here for an update from San Diego County on … Continue reading “[BLOG POST] Hepatitis A Outbreaks in California”

 

  • Click here for an update from San Diego County on the outbreak they have been dealing with, which has been linked to over 15 deaths, many of which occurred in individuals with underlying liver disease, including disease caused by hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

 

  • These outbreaks are largely affecting people who are homeless and people who inject drugs. It is imperative that people who are at risk for hep A who are not vaccinated receive vaccine as soon as possible. If your program is not doing it already, please consider strategies for helping to provide hep A vaccine onsite and/or link people to vaccination services. Also, a good opportunity to make sure people are vaccinated against hepatitis B at the same time. Here is info from the California Department of Public Health about the initial outbreaks, who should be vaccinated, and resources for vaccination.

 

  • In San Diego, for example, the county is working with Family Health Centers of San Diego (a CalHEP member) to reach out to individuals who are homeless and people who inject drugs to provide vaccine.

 

  • Providing hand sanitizer may help prevent hep A, as well, but of course is no substitute for good old soap and water.

 

  • The structural issue that is difficult to respond to is the lack of safe hygienic places for people to use the toilet and wash their hands, which is, of course, tied to larger structural issues of poverty, displacement, inequity, and our collective failure as a state and country to support people who are homeless and institute long-term solutions to end homelessness.

 

  • It is likely we will see other hep A outbreaks in the state in the near future, but let’s hope there are lessons learned from the locations that are dealing with these outbreaks so the response is quicker and stronger.

[BLOG POST] We Matter! Harm Reduction & the Move for Safe Consumption Services in Rural California

by Brandie Wilson, Executive Director/Founder, Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction Rural counties in the United States have been hit hard by the recent opioid crisis and related health issues like overdose, hepatitis C, and HIV. Humboldt County, where the Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction (HACHR) operates, is no different. We have the highest … Continue reading “[BLOG POST] We Matter! Harm Reduction & the Move for Safe Consumption Services in Rural California”

by Brandie Wilson, Executive Director/Founder, Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction

Rural counties in the United States have been hit hard by the recent opioid crisis and related health issues like overdose, hepatitis C, and HIV. Humboldt County, where the Humboldt Area Center for Harm Reduction (HACHR) operates, is no different. We have the highest case reports of hepatitis C in California, and some of the highest rates of overdose in the state.  HACHR operates in Eureka, a city of 27,000 people. However, due to our extremely rural location, we not only serve Eurekans, but people from the surrounding area, including broader Humboldt County, Del Norte, Shasta, and Trinity Counties, and southern Oregon, due to the lack of harm reduction services in these rural communities.

This is the second year HACHR has provided syringe exchange and overdose prevention services. We also conduct community education, anti-stigma work, safer drug using classes, and hepatitis C education. We provide our services through outreach and at our drop-in center. At the drop-in center, we host a range of services in collaboration with other providers, such as HIV and hepatitis C testing, mental health services, and medical case management. We began our work just like many before us, because of the loss of friends and loved ones and the desire to prevent more deaths. We are a community-based organization that relies on consumer engagement and we have found great success organizing this way. Many of our consumers and volunteers take great pride and a sense of ownership participating in HACHR activities and we strive to strengthen our relationships daily.

The historical lack of information and support in Humboldt County regarding hepatitis C and overdose exacerbates our already alarming numbers. Our health crisis is embedded in larger systemic issues of incarcerating people who use drugs and “abstinence only” drug treatment models.  We work tirelessly to combat these archaic and degrading approaches and to educate the public and policy makers about evidence-based harm reduction practices.

Much of the harm reduction conversation in the United States focuses on metropolitan areas as they have the highest concentration of people. However, we are four hours deep into the redwoods and worlds away from any large city. Our remoteness requires us to innovate.  Many times, we are able to take programs that are implemented in metropolitan areas and modify them to fit our rural landscape and culture.

The introduction of Assembly Bill (AB) 186 by Assemblymember Eggman (D-Stockton), the safe consumption services (SCS) bill presently being heard in the state legislature, has presented us another great opportunity for rural innovation. We have deep gratitude to our state Assemblymember, Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, for supporting AB 186 and ensuring that Humboldt County was included as one of the eight counties listed in the bill that could authorize SCS if the bill becomes law.  He  recently visited HACHR, toured our facility, and engaged in a great discussion with us about the role HACHR plays in efforts in Humboldt County to establish SCS.

The establishment of SCS in Humboldt County would help us address our overdose and hepatitis C crises. HACHR would be a great home for SCS as we have trust and involvement from the community of people who would use such services, as well as collaborations with various groups and organizations that could help provide a range of services, along with SCS, in order to truly meet people where they are.

Assemblymember Wood isn’t the only local politician who supports the creation of SCS.  Eureka City Council Member Kim Bergil was an early supporter of AB 186.  Having an active and supportive council member has been crucial to our efforts to engage the broader community on the topic of SCS and about our work more broadly. We have met with other civic leaders and are working to gain more political support for our work and for SCS. One of our more recent and fiercest supporters is the president of a local neighborhood watch chapter. She publicly supports the work of HACHR and engages with her peers to reduce the stigma associated with our efforts. We have also garnered the support of a Humboldt County Human Rights Commissioner in our efforts to ensure SCS are established in our community.

In this vast rural land of prohibition, advocating for SCS is just a piece of our work. We work tirelessly to bridge the information gap related to drug use, drug treatment, HIV and hepatitis C testing, overdose, and any local issues that fall under the “harm reduction umbrella” as we work toward our mission to “reduce harm to the Humboldt community through advocacy, education, and services.”

BLOG POST: Pharmacists in California demonstrate that community pharmacies are viable locations for HCV screening & linkage to care

Pharmacists performing hepatitis C antibody point-of-care screening in a community pharmacy: A pilot project Authors: Betty J.Dong, MariaLopez, Jennifer Cocohoba Objectives: To describe the first community pharmacy–based hepatitis C antibody (HCV-Ab) point-of-care (POC) screening program and its outcomes in California. Setting: Community pharmacy. Practice description: Community pharmacists perform HCV-Ab POC testing, counsel patients about HCV … Continue reading “BLOG POST: Pharmacists in California demonstrate that community pharmacies are viable locations for HCV screening & linkage to care”

Pharmacists performing hepatitis C antibody point-of-care screening in a community pharmacy: A pilot project

Authors: Betty J.Dong, MariaLopez, Jennifer Cocohoba

Objectives: To describe the first community pharmacy–based hepatitis C antibody (HCV-Ab) point-of-care (POC) screening program and its outcomes in California.

Setting: Community pharmacy.

Practice description: Community pharmacists perform HCV-Ab POC testing, counsel patients about HCV transmission and prevention, and provide linkage to care.

Practice innovation: Pharmacists implement an HCV-Ab POC screening program in collaboration with the local public health department.

Evaluation: Descriptive data of the demographics of the persons receiving HCV-Ab POC screening and qualitative assessment of the attitudes and knowledge of the trained pharmacists involved in its implementation.

Results: During the 3-month pilot, 6 community pharmacists performed 83 HCV-Ab rapid POC tests with 1 positive result (1.2%). Risk factors for the positive result included injection drug use, crack cocaine or methamphetamine use, and being in the high-risk birth cohort. Although some expressed reservations, pharmacists attested to the feasibility of incorporating HCV screening into their routine pharmacy work. Two major barriers identified by pharmacists for implementing HCV screening included getting non-pharmacy customers into the pharmacy for testing and balancing the time required to review test results within the normal pharmacy workflow.

Conclusion: This pilot demonstrated that trained and motivated community pharmacists in partnership with the Department of Public Health could perform needed rapid HCV-Ab POC screening for potentially high-risk patients not currently in care. Community pharmacies are viable locations for screening and linkage to care owing to their easy access to knowledgeable pharmacists and accessible locations.

BLOG POST – June 7, 2017

Primary Care-Based HCV Treatment as Key to Access for Marginalized Populations:     A San Francisco Department of Public Health Case Study By Colleen Lynch, MD, Katie Burk, MPH, Kelly Eagen, MD, and Aaron Smith People who Inject Drugs (PWIDs) are highly impacted by the hepatitis C virus (HCV); estimates range from 50-90% HCV prevalence … Continue reading “BLOG POST – June 7, 2017”

Primary Care-Based HCV Treatment as Key to Access for Marginalized Populations:     A San Francisco Department of Public Health Case Study

By Colleen Lynch, MD, Katie Burk, MPH, Kelly Eagen, MD, and Aaron Smith

People who Inject Drugs (PWIDs) are highly impacted by the hepatitis C virus (HCV); estimates range from 50-90% HCV prevalence in this population. Recent broadening of Medi-Cal criteria for HCV treatment in California includes PWIDs as a priority population for HCV treatment. However, limited access to specialty care and treatment continues to be a significant barrier for many PWIDs and other vulnerable populations.

The San Francisco Health Network’s (SFHN) primary care clinics within the San Francisco Department of Public Health provide care to an urban, largely poor population with public or no insurance. It is estimated that there are at least 2,058 active patients in the SFHN (patients who have been seen at their primary care home in the past two years) who are chronically infected with HCV (estimated at 3.8% of the active, adult SFHN patient population).  Patients living with HCV are disproportionately African-American (n=819/40%), relative to 5-6% of African-Americans in San Francisco’s general population.

SFHN providers have significant expertise engaging PWIDs across the continuum of primary care, prevention, and drug treatment-related services. Having learned many important lessons about harm reduction and client-centered care during the worst years of the HIV crisis, SFHN supports broad syringe access and low-barrier access to methadone and buprenorphine through primary care and centralized methadone clinics. SFHN also employs skilled clinicians who work to retain PWIDs in primary care with impressive results.

With new curative treatments available for hepatitis C, San Francisco’s Health Department has made great strides to expand access to HCV prevention, testing, and treatment interventions. In early 2016, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) awarded SFDPH a 3-year, $1.37 million award for community and clinic-based HCV testing, linkage, and treatment projects. The CDPH grant provides a nurse at Zuckerberg San Francisco General’s Opiate Treatment Outpatient Program (OTOP) to support an onsite HCV treatment project, a data analyst to track HCV metrics, and a capacity-building program for primary care-based HCV treatment.

The primary care initiative achieves dual goals of (1) expanding access to HCV treatment for patients in the SFHN network and (2) improving primary care physician (PCP) capacity to treat HCV.  The Health Department’s innovative model for expanding primary care-based HCV treatment includes HCV training for clinicians, the development of a primary care-driven web-based referral system (eReferral), and partnerships between the Health Department and community–based organizations.

Since the launch of the Hepatitis C Treatment Initiative on February 1 2016 through May 1 2016, approximately 227 SFHN clinical staff have participated in hour or multi-hour in-person trainings to learn how to treat hepatitis C within primary care. The eReferral, an electronic consultation service where primary care physicians can ask treatment questions (to whom) about individual patients through a secure messaging system, also launched on February 1 2016. A PCP and two clinical pharmacists experienced in Hepatitis C treatment staff the service. During this time period, 43 PCPs have utilized the HCV eReferral service for 123 patients, 50 of whom have started treatment. The majority of patients treated using eReferral consultation have co-occurring past or present substance use disorders, and approximately 34% of patients are African-American. Based on the current average treatment start rates of 25 patients per month, it is projected that approximately 300 patients will be treated in the SFHN Primary Care system in 2017, constituting 14.6% of the SFHN patient population living with HCV. The primary care-driven HCV treatment model is essential to making treatment accessible for PWIDs and other vulnerable populations.

Free Hep C Testing on May 19th in San Francisco

May 19, 2017 1:00pm-5:00 pm 2424 Mission St. (btw 20th & 21st St.), San Francisco, CA The San Francisco Hepatitis C Task Force is partnering with Mission Wellness Pharmacy to do outreach, education and free hepatitis C antibody testing on National Hepatitis Testing Day!

May 19, 2017
1:00pm-5:00 pm
2424 Mission St. (btw 20th & 21st St.), San Francisco, CA
The San Francisco Hepatitis C Task Force is partnering with Mission Wellness Pharmacy to do outreach, education and free hepatitis C antibody testing on National Hepatitis Testing Day!

Hepatitis C Testing Events in San Diego on National Hepatitis Testing Day

Family Health Centers of San Diego will be providing free hepatitis C testing at the following locations on Friday, May 19, 2017: Chula Vista Clinic (clinic also has hepatitis C providers) 9:00am-12:30pm 248 Landis Ave., Chula Vista, CA 91910   Pumpkin 12:00pm-4:00pm 4040 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104   South Bay Adult Recovery Center … Continue reading “Hepatitis C Testing Events in San Diego on National Hepatitis Testing Day”

Family Health Centers of San Diego will be providing free hepatitis C testing at the following locations on Friday, May 19, 2017:

Chula Vista Clinic (clinic also has hepatitis C providers)

9:00am-12:30pm

248 Landis Ave., Chula Vista, CA 91910

 

Pumpkin

12:00pm-4:00pm

4040 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104

 

South Bay Adult Recovery Center

11:00am-1:00pm

1180 Third Ave Suite 3, Chula Vista CA 91910

11am-1pm

 

CSEP (syringe exchange program)

9:30am-1:00pm

On 31st St. between University Avenue and North Park Way

May 19th Hepatitis Testing Day Event in Pasadena!

National Viral Hepatitis Testing Day Stakeholder Breakfast & Conference Friday, May 19, 2017 9:30am-noon Huntington Hospital, 100 W. California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105 Please RSVP by May 12 to kparada@apu.edu

National Viral Hepatitis Testing Day Stakeholder Breakfast & Conference

Friday, May 19, 2017

9:30am-noon

Huntington Hospital, 100 W. California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105

Please RSVP by May 12 to kparada@apu.edu