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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Honor Roll Names Clinicians Preventing Liver Cancer

- List to be published in SF Medical Society Journal and selected media outlets -


Contact: Christine Hsu, media@sfhepbfree.org or
Angela Pang, apang@asianweek.com, work: (415) 321-5894, cell: (650) 703-9364

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, October 15, 2009 - This fall, the San Francisco Hep B Free campaign will begin publication of the Hep B Free Clinician's Honor Roll to promote the growing number of doctor's offices that are testing patients and working to prevent liver cancer and Hepatitis B disease. The list will be unveiled a the 2nd annual B a Hero Gala tonight.

"It should be standard of care for all primary care physicians to screen and test Asian and Pacific Islanders for hepatitis B," said Mitch Katz, MD, Executive Director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. "We want to highlight those who are already actively working to prevent hepatitis B in San Francisco; and to inspire other physicians to do the same."

"We applaud all those already on the SF Hep B Free Clinician's Honor Roll" he emphasized.

The list will be widely publicized among peers, patients and the public at large. It will run on a regular basis in publications including the San Francisco Medical Society Magazine, mainstream news outlets, digital media, and ethnic media such as Sing Tao Daily, Philippine News, Korea Times, and AsianWeek.com.

Establishing the Clinician Honor Roll follows the release last year of new national screening guidelines for Hepatitis B established by the federal Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. SF Hep B Free's goal is to have every primary care provider to routinely screen their patients for Hep B.

"As a doctor in a city where more than one third of residents are Asian, I always make it a priority to screen my Asian and Pacific Islander patients for hepatitis B, which gravely affects 1 in 10, and can lead to liver cancer and death," said Dr. Lisa Wing-Yee Tang, of Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco. "I encourage my colleagues to screen as well. This is a disease that can be prevented and I am determined to do what I can to stop the spread of this disease." Tang chairs the SF Hep B Free Clinicians Outreach Committee.

The San Francisco Hep B Free Clinician Honor Roll includes any clinician who has completed a Patient Follow Up form from the San Francisco Department of Public Health Chronic Viral Hepatitis Registry before August 2009. Other physicians can join the Honor Roll by signing a pledge (1) to screen patients at risk for HBV infections in accordance with CDC guidelines, and (2) to respond to information requests from the SFDPH regarding patients with chronic hepatitis B.

Susan Fernyak, MD, Director of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, hopes the Honor Roll will include every eligible physician in San Francisco.

"We encourage all physicians serving adults - including obstetricians, gynecologists, and family practitioners, to sign the new pledge form as a commitment to collaborate with the San Francisco Department of Public Health in its efforts to prevent the transmission of hepatitis B in San Francisco," said Dr. Fernyak.

"San Francisco has the highest liver cancer rate in the nation, and if doctors make a conscious effort to screen for this disease, we can one day eradicate hepatitis B," added Dr. Tang.

The SF Hep B Free Honor Roll project is being coordinated through the AsianWeek Foundation in partnership with the SF Department of Public Health. For more information or to sign up for the SF Hep B Free Clinicians Honor Roll, contact Angela Pang, HonorRoll@sfhepbfree.org or (415) 321-5894.


ABOUT Hepatitis B
Asian and Pacific Islanders (APIs) are disproportionately impacted by Hepatitis B. It is a disease of the liver caused by HBV, a virus often called a "silent killer" because it can cause liver cancer, cirrhosis or liver failure without producing symptoms. San Francisco has the highest liver cancer rate in the nation and 80% of liver cancer in APIs is caused by HBV. But it's preventable with a simple vaccine.

ABOUT San Francisco Hep B Free

San Francisco Hep B Free is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between city government, private healthcare and community organizations. The program's goal is to make San Francisco a hepatitis B-free city by (1) creating public and healthcare provider awareness about the importance of testing & vaccinating APIS for hepatitis B; (2) promoting routine HBV screenings and vaccinations within the primary care medical community; and (3) facilitating access to treatment for chronically infected individuals. The campaign's theme is "B a Hero. See a doctor who tests for Hepatitis B."

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