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Country: United States
Type: Ethnic Communities
Students take stand against Hepatitis B
Berkeley student noticed the lack of Hepatitis B services for low socioeconomic populations in the Oakland neighborhood. He gathered about 8 other students and started addressing this issue within the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) population in Alameda County. With the support of a community public health nurse, doctor, and clinic, they created The Hep B Project.
“The Hep B Project is a powerful example of what students with time and energy can do to directly address the needs in their community. We’re not just volunteering—we’re empowering,” says Director Adele Feng.
According to the Stanford Asian Liver Center, as many as 1 in every 10 Asian and Pacific Islander is chronically infected with Hepatitis B, a virus that targets the liver and is the leading cause of liver cancer and disease. Approximately 25% of these individuals will die of liver cancer or failure. Yet, a vaccine has been around for more than 2 decades now.
San Francisco Hep B Free was the first hepatitis B campaign in the nation, and Stanford Asian Liver Center followed to provide hepatitis B services in the South Bay. The Hep B Perinatal program focuses their efforts in the East Bay, but it specifically targets mothers and their newborns.
Furthermore, various HBV efforts had already been established on campus, but most of these groups focused on addressing only one aspect of comprehensive preventative care. Team HBV was raising awareness of hepatitis B on some college campuses, and San Francisco Hep B Collaborative (now Volunteer Health Interpreters Organization) was training students to serve as interpreters and health advocates in San Francisco.
Given these circumstances, the API communities of Alameda County needed someone to address this health disparity.
“I asked a public health nurse what Alameda County was doing about Hepatitis B since Alameda County is about 23% Asian and she said, ‘nothing,’” said founder Kevin Hur.
After much deliberation, Kevin realized that the only way to effectively address the issue was to tackle the problem holistically.
There it was— the idea to create a single organization where both education and resources could be united. The Hep B Project thus embraced the motto: “Educate, Screen, Vaccinate”.
Read more at: http://www.asianweek.com/2011/04/27/passionate-hearts-for-livers-students-take-stand-against-hepatitis-b/