News from the American Liver Foundation
I am very pleased to let you know that many of the American Liver Foundation’s Divisions have been able to include Hep C testing at their Liver Life Walks and that other Divisions are working toward this goal. The Walks, with their sizable number of participants and extensive community visibility, present a perfect vehicle for raising awareness that testing and subsequent treatment can overcome the epidemic of Hep C–and for making it easy to be tested and connect to treatment.
“The Desert Southwest Division has been very successful in adding testing to our Walk in Phoenix on April 8th,” reports Ashley Drew, the Executive Director. Division Board member Penny Morgan Overgaard, MSN, RN, CPN, (University of Arizona, Tucson) tells us that, “Many of the people tested at the Phoenix Liver Walk were Baby Boomers. Baby Boomers are five times more likely to have Hep C than people of other ages. But because they often associate Hep C with IV drug use, they don’t realize that there are other ways that Hep C can be passed from one person to another.”
The Texas Division-Houston office partnered on May 6th with the St. Hope Foundation, a federally-qualified community health center offering comprehensive medical, dental, pharmacy and clinical research with five locations throughout Houston. “The founder, Rodney Goodie, joined the Division’s Board this year,” says Carmen Herrera, Houston’s Director of Special Events. The St. Hope Foundation bought their mobile unit and tested approximately 30 people.
The New England Division also incorporated Hep C testing into the Liver Life Walk Boston on June 11th. Harbor Health Services, Inc. was the testing partner and offered follow-up care, along with UMass Memorial Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital. Twenty-two individuals were tested and there was one positive test. “The Division also had a Patient Ambassador table next to the testing tent offering education and resources”, mentioned Lindsay Ventura, Community Outreach and Education Manager.
“Hepatitis B is a very significant public health issue in San Francisco. The Northern California Division is working with the Chinese Hospital and San Francisco Hep B Free to make Hep B testing available at the September 16th Walk in Golden Gate Park”, according to Executive Director Veronica LaBeau.
A number of ALF’s other Divisions, including the Rocky Mountain Division and the Greater Los Angeles Division, report that they are planning to offer testing at upcoming Liver Life Walks. The Mid-South Division is in active negotiations to bring hepatitis testing to its Nashville Walk on September 23rd. ALF looks forward to a day when hepatitis testing is a component of all of our Liver Life Walks.
National Board Chair & CEO
American Liver Foundation
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