Bringing the Fight to San Mateo County – New Plan to Eradicate Deadly Hepatitis B Epidemic

October 5, 2017
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South San Francisco, CA  October 5, 2017 Submitted by Richard So, Program Coordinator

San Mateo County leaders announce new plan to eradicate deadly hepatitis B epidemic from Bay Area’s most vulnerable population.

Burlingame – San Mateo County alone accounts for approximately 200,000 people at risk of contracting liver cancer from undetected chronic hepatitis B infection. The potentially deadly virus disproportionately affects Asian and Pacific Islander Americans (API) who make up 1 in 4 San Mateo residents. San Mateo County is also home to Daly City, which has the highest concentration of API residents of any large city in the continental United States (58%). Millbrae and Foster City are not far behind with API populations above 40%.

In light of this threat, San Mateo County Supervisor, David Pine (District 1) is announcing the launch of the San Mateo County Chapter of SF Hep B Free – Bay Area.

When: Thursday, October 12, 2017 10:00am to 10:45 am
Where: Peninsula Health Care District Office, 1819 Trousdale Dr. Burlingame, CA 94010

The new chapter will partner with the San Mateo County Health System, the Peninsula Healthcare District, Stanford Health Care and the Asian Liver Center at Stanford, the Lazarex Cancer Foundation, the Silicon Valley Lions Club and Chinese Hospital. This collaboration between health systems, health providers and community advocates aims to further the fight against hepatitis B and liver cancer while pushing San Mateo County toward the goal of being hepatitis B free along with its founding chapter, San Francisco Hep B Free.

For so many, fighting hepatitis B is not just a public health issue but a personal story. Speaking at the press conference will be a young man who will talk about his own family’s battle with hepatitis B and liver cancer. These all too frequent stories remind us what is at stake for all of us.

California State Board of Equalization Member, and Hep B Free champion Fiona Ma has her own story. “I found out I had hepatitis B when I was 22 and was told by my doctor not to worry about it, so I didn’t. It wasn’t until decades later that I discovered that I was actually at dire risk for liver cancer, 1 in 4 people like me develop liver cancer or need a transplant. Healthcare

providers and patients still need more education. Screening, vaccination and treatment need to be more available.”

Leading the battle against this deadly epidemic is newly hired SF Hep B Free – Bay Area Program Coordinator, Richard So, who says the general population is still unaware of the risk associated with chronic hepatitis B and how it leads to liver cancer. “The Bay Area has the highest rates of liver cancer in the nation, 80% caused by hepatitis B,” said So. “But all of this is preventable. By educating the public and health care providers and providing access to screening, vaccination and treatment, we can eliminate this scourge forever.”

The purpose of the new initiative is to create a focused campaign against hepatitis B and hepatitis B related liver cancer in San Mateo County and the Bay Area, with the goal of increasing public and healthcare provider awareness about the importance of testing and vaccinating American Asian Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) for hepatitis B. In this effort, we aim to promote routine testing and vaccination within the primary care medical community and promote access to care for the chronically infected. Following in the footsteps of San Francisco Hep B Free’s success, this campaign will utilize partnerships with community based organizations, health care providers, businesses and the public health system to best reach and educate those at risk.

About San Francisco Hep B Free – Bay Area

Launched in October 2017, from its parent organization, San Francisco Hep B Free, San Francisco Hep B Free – Bay Area, aims to unite the San Francisco Bay Area in the fight against hepatitis B and liver cancer, by raising awareness of the single largest health disparity within the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Together, we will create a unified voice to encourage screening and vaccination, and improve health outcomes throughout the Bay Area. Together we will make the San Francisco Bay Area free of hepatitis B!

The parent organization, San Francisco Hep B Free was created in April 2007 to promote collaboration between government, healthcare groups, community organizations and businesses to end viral hepatitis B disease. San Francisco’s Asian and Pacific Islander residents comprise of 34 percent of the City’s population and bear a disproportionate burden of liver cancer and undetected hepatitis B infection. The campaign was launched in San Francisco and serves as a model nationally for (1) creating public and healthcare provider awareness about the importance of testing & vaccinating Asian and Pacific Islanders for hepatitis B; (2) promoting routine hepatitis B screenings and vaccinations within the primary care medical community; and (3) facilitating access to treatment for chronically infected individuals. For more information, go to: www.SFHepBFree.org

About Peninsula Health Care District

Founded in 1947, the Peninsula Health Care District serves the communities of San Bruno, Millbrae, Burlingame, Hillsborough, San Mateo and Foster City by supporting the unique health and wellness priorities of our vibrant Peninsula communities, and safeguarding access to health care services, today and in the future. PHCD fulfills its commitment to the community through oversight of District assets and infrastructure, planning for future health care needs, and investing taxpayer dollars in local health-focused organizations and programs. To learn more about PHCD, visit www.peninsulahealthcaredistrict.org

About Stanford Health Care

Stanford Health Care seeks to heal humanity through science and compassion, one patient at a time, through its commitment to care, education, and discovery. Stanford Health Care delivers clinical innovation across its inpatient services, specialty health centers, physician offices, virtual care offerings, and health plan programs. Stanford Health Care is part of Stanford Medicine, a leading academic health system that includes the Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care, and Stanford Children’s Health, with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Stanford Medicine is renowned for breakthroughs in treating cancer, heart disease, brain disorders, and surgical and medical conditions. For more information, visit www.stanfordhealthcare.org.

About the Asian Liver Center at Stanford

The Asian Liver Center at Stanford University is the first non-profit organization in the United States that addresses the disproportionately high rates of chronic hepatitis B infection and liver cancer in Asians and Asian Americans. Founded in 1996, the center addresses the gaps in the fight against hepatitis B through a four-pronged approach of collaboration, advocacy, research, and education & outreach (CARE). The ultimate goal of the Center is to eliminate the transmission and stigma of hepatitis B, and reduce deaths from liver cancer and liver disease caused by chronic hepatitis B. Asian Liver Center is the founder of JoinJade, a collective impact campaign to end hepatitis B and liver cancer. To learn more please visit http://med.stanford.edu/liver.html.

About Lazarex Cancer Foundation

Lazarex Cancer Foundation is a resource for advanced stage cancer patients, especially medically underserved patients, who have been told they have no other options, but who are not yet done with their journey in life. We improve the outcome of cancer care and access to breakthrough trial treatments by providing assistance with identification of FDA clinical trial options and the costs of trial participation, community outreach and engagement. To date, we have given patients back more than 1,133 years of life, after they were told they had no other options. We are excited to join SF Hep B Free – Bay Area to celebrate a new beginning in San Mateo County by raising awareness among the Asian and Pacific Islander communities and physicians about the importance of screening and vaccination for hepatitis B. The best way to treat cancer is to prevent it all together. Learn more at https://www.lazarex.org/.

About The Silicon Valley Lions Club

The Silicon Valley Lions Club is inspiring the leaders of tomorrow to serve local and global communities while promoting health, personal development, technology, and environment awareness. The Silicon Valley Lions Club primary project includes promoting the awareness of Hepatitis B and the testing available as well as the impact it has on individuals and families. Please visit us at https://www.facebook.com/siliconvalleylionsclub/.

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