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Hepatitis B and the Opioid Epidemic: Opportunities to Increase Adult Vaccination
9:00 am HT | 12:00pm PT | 2:00pm CT | 3:00pm ET

Time duration: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Background: Recent outbreaks of hepatitis B have been linked to the opioid epidemic through injection drug use (CDC, 2018). In the U.S., there have been high rates of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection among special and vulnerable populations, including Asian Americans (AAs), Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NHPIs).

Despite the availability of a highly effective vaccine, barriers to preventing hepatitis B infection in the U.S. remain. These barriers include low rates of hepatitis B vaccination coverage among adults and increased rates of injection drug use – a major risk factor for hepatitis B – as the opioid epidemic continues. To prevent and eliminate hepatitis B as a public health threat, strategies to promote testing, vaccination, and linkage to care, particularly among special and vulnerable populations, must be implemented. Additionally, there is a need to raise awareness about the seriousness of hepatitis B and its deadly link to cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer.

Learning Objectives:
1. To highlight the need to address Hep B within the opioid epidemic, including a national adult Hepatitis B vaccination campaign
2. To promote opportunities that increase adult Hepatitis B vaccination rates within a community health center setting
3. To increase awareness amongst patients and providers about the adult Hepatitis B vaccine

Intended Audience: Health center staff from clinical & non-clinical perspectives and from all levels of leadership; Primary Care Associations; and Health Center Controlled Networks. Other key stakeholders include government institutions and payers who work with health centers on policy and payment.

Jul 30, 2019 12:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Rita Kuwahara, MD, MIH
Hepatitis B Policy Fellow & Internal Medicine Resident @Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO)
Dr. Rita Kuwahara engages in federal advocacy to highlight the need to increase adult hepatitis B vaccination, particularly within the setting of the opioid epidemic, as well as raise awareness of the need to increase hepatitis B testing, vaccination, and linkage to care. Rita collaborated with the offices of Congressman Hank Johnson, Congresswoman Grace Meng, and Senator Mazie Hirono, who introduced a Resolution to Designate April 30 as National Adult Hepatitis B Vaccination Awareness Day (H. Res. 331/S. Res. 177) in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, which was endorsed by over 75 organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Public Health Association, and AAPCHO. Rita is a primary care internal medicine resident physician and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.
Grace Wang, MD, MPH
Chief Medical Director & Family Physician @International Community Health Services (ICHS)
Dr. Grace Wang is a board certified family physician at International Community Health Services, a federally qualified health center in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Wang graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She received her medical training at Cornell University Medical College (now Weill Cornell Medicine) in New York City and has a master's degree in public health also from the University of Michigan. Dr. Wang has worked in primary care and public health in New York City and Seattle.
Camilla S. Graham, MD, MPH
Co-Director, Viral Hepatitis Division, Division of Infectious Disease @Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School
Dr. Camilla Graham is the Co-Director of the Viral Hepatitis Center in the Division of Infectious Disease at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts. She is also Medical Director at Program RISE, which includes a needle exchange program as well as other services for people at risk for viral hepatitis, HIV, and other complications. She has implemented medical decision support processes to improve the screening and vaccination of persons for hepatitis B. Her expertise includes systems improvements to implement medical guidelines, workforce capacity building, and pricing and access to therapeutics.