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Thursday, November 3, 2011

U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Speaks On Important Bay Area Efforts to Eradicate Viral Hepatitis

Assemblywoman Fiona Ma Encourages Testing, Education

10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 4

San Francisco Department of Public Health
Hearing Commission Room, Room 300
101 Grove St., (corner of Polk Street) San Francisco

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Health, Dr. Howard Koh, will discuss a comprehensive national plan to fight the viral hepatitis epidemic. A blood draw will take place to encourage widespread testing. Two local residents infected by viral hepatitis will speak on their experiences living with the disease, in addition to a primary care physician speaking on the importance of getting tested.

Dr. Koh and HHS are working to implement a national action plan to address viral hepatitis. In addition to discussing the Affordable Care Act's effect on the national plan, Dr. Koh will highlight the important role that San Francisco organizations have played in the movement to treat, prevent, and bring awareness to the viral hepatitis epidemic.

Viral hepatitis, which affects between 3.5 and 5.3 million Americans, is the leading cause of liver cancer. One in 10 Asians are chronically infected with hepatitis B and are four times more likely to die from liver cancer compared with the general population. Accordingly, San Francisco has the highest rate of liver cancer in the country.

Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, who is chronically infected with hepatitis B, will introduce Dr. Koh. Assemblywoman Ma serves as the honorary chairwoman for SF Hep B Free, which has implemented widespread testing and public awareness in San Francisco through establishing strong partnerships between public health officials, medical professionals and treatment activists.

Herb K. Schultz, Region IX Director for HHS, will also speak on regional and national implementation of the plan by bringing together partners from all sectors and communities.

Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Fiona Ma, California Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore
Herb K. Schultz, Region IX Director, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
SF Hep B Free
San Francisco Hepatitis C Task Force

All media should RSVP to Sam Singer and Allison Berry of Singer Associates at 415-227-9700 or Singer@singersf.com or Allison@singersf.com

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