Last Updated 2/8/2016


Forum Materials

Policy Brief: Reducing Health Disparities: Using Health Risk Assessments to Improve Viral Hepatitis Screening and Immunization

Video Recording of Forum


Speaker Bios

Overview of Hepatitis in California: Health and Economic Burdens


California Resources


Useful Links


Viral Hepatitis: Disparities and Opportunities

May 19, 2011, 1:00 - 3:00 PM

Sheraton Grand Hotel, 1230 J St., Sacramento

Viral hepatitis is often referred to as a silent epidemic. The vast majority of individuals infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) do not know they are infected, that they can infect others, and that with treatment they could avoid deadly or disabling liver disease or cancer. The estimated number of persons in California currently infected with untreated chronic viral hepatitis exceeds 700,000. Without improved screening and treatment efforts, from 2010 to 2030 the number of liver cancer cases in the U.S. is expected to rise 59 percent, with the highest increases expected among Hispanics and Asian American and Pacific Islanders.

Over half of those with chronic HBV are Asian/Pacific Islanders, many of whom have emigrated from countries with high rates of hepatitis B infection. While smaller in number, the highest rate of infection is among African American men (2.3 per 100,000). African Americans and Hispanics have higher rates of hepatitis C infection than Whites. In addition, 34 percent of California’s prison population is infected with chronic HCV.

Many aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provide opportunities to improve viral hepatitis prevention, screening, and treatment services. This is a crucial time for policymakers and advocates to ensure that ACA implementation efforts include strategies to reduce the current and future burden of viral hepatitis in California.

This forum provided:

  • An overview of the health and economic burdens associated with viral hepatitis in California, with an emphasis on research regarding racial/ethnic and economic disparities
  • Details on state and recently released federal plans to reduce the burden of viral hepatitis
  • Consumer perspective on the importance of access to viral hepatitis services
  • Recommendations for incorporating viral hepatitis prevention, screening and treatment into Affordable Care Act implementation efforts

Confirmed Presenters:

  • Orlando Chavez, Organizer, United for Drug Policy Reform and Sherri Ziegler Community Service Award Winner
  • Ryan Clary, Director of Public Policy, Project Inform
  • Theresa Hughes, Founder/President, Wings for Life
  • Michelle Johnston, Sr. Program Specialist, Center for Health Improvement
  • Rachel McLean, Adult Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator, California Department of Public Health
  • Jennifer Ong, OD, Co-founder, Hep B Free Alameda County

Funding for the California Health Policy Forum is provided by grants from the
California HealthCare Foundation, The California Wellness Foundation, and Merck.