Friday, May 27, 2011

Baltimore City Health Department Joins With Maryland Hepatitis Coalition to Commemorate Hepatitis Awareness Month

The Baltimore City Health Department joined today with members of the Maryland Hepatitis Coalition (MHC) and state and local officials to recognize National Hepatitis Awareness Month.  Throughout the year, the Health Department is actively involved with the prevention of viral hepatitis through its Immunization Program, Needle Exchange Program, and Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Project.  Today we are happy to join with our partners to honor Hepatitis Heroes and to bring this issue to the forefront in an effort to fight this silent killer.

An estimated 4.4 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis; most do not know they are infected. About 80,000 new infections occur each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Maryland Hepatitis Coalition is an excellent example of the positive power of government and community collaboration. By honoring these Hepatitis Heroes, the Coalition is bringing more positive attention to the great work that is already being done to prevent the transmission of viral hepatitis, to care for and treat those infected with viral hepatitis, and to educate clients and the general public about viral hepatitis.

Healthcare for the Homeless clients are medically and socially complex, and often uninsured. As a local gastroenterologist, Dr. Jonathan B. Schreiber, HCH/Mercy Medical Center, has opened his practice, committing time and resources, to welcome HCH clients. Dr. Schreiber has never declined a request to care for HCH clients and has ensured HCH clients receive the highest quality care.
Please join me in applauding the MHC’s 2011 Hepatitis Heroes Honorees:
  • Appolo Bama, LPN of Total Health Care, Men’s Health Center for significantly increasing the number of patients vaccinated and protected against hepatitis B.
  • Frank Parish, RN, CIC of the Baltimore City Detention Center for implementing hepatitis B vaccination for individuals at high risk in the Detention Center.
  • Kathleen L. Becker, DNP, CRNP of Healthcare for the Homeless and Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing for her longstanding commitment to providing high quality care to patients at Health Care for the Homeless.
  • Jonathan B. Schreiber, MD of Mercy Medical Center for caring for patients with chronic viral hepatitis referred from Health Care for the Homeless.

In addition to these four individuals, we also wish to recognize Maryland Delegate Shirley Nathan-Pulliam. Del. Nathan-Pulliam has been a strong supporter of viral hepatitis prevention and care for many years. She has championed increasing funding for testing, vaccination and health services for individuals impacted by these diseases because she recognizes that a large number of people are impacted but they are not aware and they are not receiving the lifesaving services and support they need to prevent sickness and death.

For more information on hepatitis prevention activities in Baltimore City, visit the Health Department’s website. The CDC’s website also has additional information on viral hepatitis. 

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