Blog: National Partnership for Action
Posted on 5/31/2012 by J. Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE
Since 1991, routine vaccinations of infants has reduced hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection rates in children by more than 95 percent. And the incidence of acute hepatitis C (HCV) has declined 90 percent since 1992, in large part due to the screening of the blood supply. This progress illustrates the impact that public health policies and practices can have in only a few decades. And these successes should be celebrated.
During May’s national observance of Hepatitis Awareness Month, we are reminded that several racial and ethnic minority populations in the United States are disproportionately affected by viral hepatitis1.
The HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) is working to address these disparities as a partner in the cross-agency implementation of the Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis. In fact, OMH is a participating agency in more than a dozen of the specific actions detailed in the Action Plan. These efforts include working with Federal partners to reach specific at-risk populations with culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate evidence-based interventions to strengthen community-based programs providing testing and linkages to care, particularly those serving foreign-born populations, as well as by publishing periodic reports on viral-hepatitis-associated health disparities and integrating hepatitis A and B vaccination as a standard of care in Federal prevention and clinical programs that serve priority populations.
Among the steps OMH is taking is our partnership with the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO) and the Hepatitis B Foundation to launch the Hep B United national campaign. The campaign aims to end hepatitis B by supporting community-based groups in their efforts to increase hepatitis B awareness, screening, vaccination, and access to care for all Americans, and AAPIs in particular. Just this week, the Hepatitis B Initiative of Washington, DC , a campaign partner, co-hosted an education session during the National Association of Professional Asian American Women conference to encourage screening and testing for viral hepatitis.
OMH encourages everyone to take the online viral hepatitis risk assessment recently launched by the CDC. In less than five minutes, this online tool will assess an individual’s risk for viral hepatitis in response to a series of questions — and will generate a summary of recommendations for testing and vaccination that people can print and take to their doctor to discuss. Our goal is that this risk assessment tool will raise awareness about this silent epidemic among members of the public, as well as the health care community. We are hoping that all of our partners will help us share information about this exciting new tool and encourage people to use it.
During Hepatitis Awareness Month and beyond, we invite all of you to join us, in and across your communities, as we continue our fight against viral hepatitis.
1"Achieving health equity to eliminate racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in HBV-and HCV-associated liver disease." The Journal of Family Practice. April 2010, Vol. 59, No. 04 Suppl: S37-S42. Accessed online at http://www.jfponline.com/pages.asp?AID=8516 May 29, 2012.
2Upadhyaya N,et. al. "Chronic hepatitis B: perceptions in Asian American communities and diagnosis and management practices among primary care physicians." Postgrad Med. 2010 Sep; 122(5):165-75. Accessed via http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20861600 on May 29, 2012.
Posted in: Health Minority Populations Vaccines | Comments | Add a Comment | Comment Policy | Permalink
Posted on 2/13/2012 by J. Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE
During February's observance of African American History Month, please join us in working to end the unfortunate history of viral hepatitis' disproportionate impact on the African American community. This Administration is working hard to reduce and eliminate health disparities and achieve health equity.
Unfortunately, viral hepatitis is a health problem that is often overlooked by the public as well as healthcare providers. This, despite the fact that viral hepatitis is a leading infectious cause of death, claiming the lives of 12,000-15,000 Americans each year. As many as 5.3 million Americans are living with viral hepatitis, though most do not know that they are infected. This places them at greater risk for severe, even fatal, complications from the disease and increases the likelihood that they will spread the virus to others.
What Is Hepatitis?
Viral Hepatitis Disparities
Viral Hepatitis Action Plan
In addition, the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan is both supported by and complements several other initiatives unfolding within HHS and across the Federal government, including the:
Your Help Is Essential
Posted in: Health Minority Populations Health Disparities Vaccines | Comments | Add a Comment | Comment Policy | Permalink
Posted on 11/18/2011 by Peg Willingham, Executive Director, Shot@Life Campaign, UN Foundation
When I was growing up, I used to ask my parents when Children's Day was. After all, we had Mother's Day and Father's Day, but what about a day for children? As you can probably guess, their half-amused, half-exasperated answer was "EVERY day is children's day!" In fact, though, Universal Children's Day is November 20, a day when we reflect on and promote the rights and well-being of children around the world. While a great deal of progress has been made in the U.S. and globally to give children better lives, nearly 8 million children under the age of five still die each year mostly from preventable causes.
A quarter of these children's deaths could be prevented with vaccines. In countries such as India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, access to vaccines means the difference between life and death, a healthy life or a lifetime of struggle. Vaccines open the door to the milestones all children should get to celebrate: their first steps, first words, their first day of school.
With immunization coverage growing from 20 percent to over 80 percent since 1980, access to vaccines globally has grown significantly in the last decade. Yet despite these gains, one in five children around the world still lacks access to the vaccines needed to ward off diseases like measles, pneumonia, polio or diarrhea- and every 20 seconds a child dies because of this gap.
Just a few decades ago, there was a serious disparity in vaccination rates in the U.S. In the 1960s, half of the measles cases in Los Angeles were among African Americans and another 20 percent among Latinos, even though they made up only a quarter of the city's population. The situation was similar in cities like Philadelphia and St. Louis. However, increased attention and investment led to improved vaccination rates in the U.S. For example, as a recent post on this blog demonstrated, flu vaccination rates among minority populations have improved significantly.
Shot@Life, a new campaign of the United Nations Foundation, is based on a similar principle of equity and closing the gap. It addresses this global health disparity by educating, connecting and empowering Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save and improve the lives of children around the world. Our goal is to give all children-no matter where they live-an equal chance at a healthy life.
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The NPA works to achieve health equity -- the highest level of health for all people. This blog is a venue for professionals from all fields and sectors to share their thoughts on pressing issues, news and events pertaining to health equity. Follow and participate in this candid discussion.
Recent Blog Posts
→ Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Clarion Call for Health Equity
→ Culturally Appropriate Approaches to Health Education in Long Beach’s Khmer Community
→ Black Infant Deaths Point to Flaw in U.S. Health Care System
→ The Native American Perspective on FASD: An Interview with Judge Anita Fineday - November 2014
→ Spotlight on Health Disparities in Native Communities