June 2011
In This Issue
Successful Policy Briefing
2011 Ziegler Award Winner
Increasing Access
CA Legislative Update
Consumer Education Materials in Multiple Languages
New CalHEP & Steering Committee Members
Grants to Eliminate Hep B Disparities

Greetings. We hope you were able to recognize Viral Hepatitis Awareness Month in your community and that you're getting ready for summer. We have a lot to share this month, including some staffing changes. I will be leaving the Center for Health Improvement (CHI) this month, to take a position with the Alzheimer's Association of Northern California and Northern Nevada. Peter Reed will also be leaving CHI in June, to lead the Pioneer Network. Karen Shore, CHI's Vice President for Planning and Health Policy, has been promoted to President and CEO. CHI and the CalHEP Steering Committee are committed to ensuring CalHEP's continued viral hepatitis advocacy and awareness building activities in California. They will be meeting in early summer to develop a strategic plan and identify the best options to provide for CalHEP's future success. If you have questions or would like to share your ideas, please contact Karen Shore via email or telephone (916-930-9220). 
It has been my pleasure to help further CalHEP's important mission. I wish you all the best.

Michelle Johnston's signature
Michelle Johnston, MPH
Sr. Program Specialist &
CalHEP Project Director
Center for Health Improvement



CalHEP Hosts Successful Hepatitis Policy Briefing


05-19-11 Forum Panel
Forum Panelists (photo credit: Bill Hackwell)
On May 19th, CalHEP and the California Health Policy Forum (CAHPF) co-sponsored a Forum on Viral Hepatitis: Disparities and Opportunities. Approximately 50 attendees came together for an overview of the racial/ethnic and economic disparities associated with viral hepatitis in California; information on plans to reduce the burden of viral hepatitis; a consumer perspective on the importance of access to viral hepatitis services; and recommendations for incorporating viral hepatitis services into Affordable Care Act implementation efforts. If you weren't able to attend the Forum, you can visit the CAHPF website to review the presenter slides and other resources. A video of the event has also been posted. A big thanks to all who helped make this event successful.

Member Spotlight

Orlando Chavez - 2011 Sherri Ziegler  

Community Service Award Winner 

Orlando Chavez is CalHEP's 2011 Sherri Ziegler Community Service Award winner for his outstanding leadership and service on behalf of those with, and at risk of, viral hepatitis. Established in 2009 in honor of the late Sherri R. Ziegler, a founding member of the CalHEP Steering Committee, the award reflects the dedication to advocacy and support Sherri exhibited for those with hepatitis. Sherri worked tirelessly to advocate for those in need of support and services, especially in rural northern California. Orlando was presented with the award at the May 19th CalHEP & California Health Policy Forum viral hepatitis briefing in Sacramento.

Orlando assisted with the formation of United for Drug Policy Reform (UDPR), a grassroots organization that focuses on drug policy and support services and is currently leading a group of viral hepatitis advocates in a voter registration drive across California.
For more on Orlando, visit the Viral Hepatitis Community page on our website. Please help us in congratulating Orlando.

Orlando Chavez 05-11
Orlando Chavez, Sherri Ziegler Community Service Award Winner (photo credit: Bill Hackwell)


Educating Incarcerated Individuals

Educational resources on hepatitis are available for those who are incarcerated, thanks to funding from the CDC. Centerforce's Peer Health Education Program (PHEP) currently focuses on the development of educational materials and trainings around peer-based health education models for hepatitis C prevention and management in prison settings. With a CDC grant, incarcerated individuals at San Quentin Prison have developed a series of educational videos on viral hepatitis. The CDC has also produced a fact sheet on hepatitis C and incarceration, available in color or black and white.
Release of Federal Viral Hepatitis Action Plan
Combating the Silent Epidemic of Viral Hepatitis: Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis, authored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is the federal government's first action plan focused specifically on reducing viral hepatitis. This is an excellent tool for our local, state, and national advocacy efforts.
Patient Assistance and Co-pay Programs
Two new hepatitis treatment drugs received FDA approval in May: Victrelis (boceprevir) and Incivek (telaprevir). For individuals with insurance who have high prescription co-payments and for those who lack health insurance, but make too much money to qualify for government assistance, help may be available. Many pharmaceutical companies offer patient assistance programs (PAPs) and co-pay programs to help increase access to their products. has compiled a list of co-pay and patient assistance programs.
Cost Effectiveness of Hepatitis B Virus Screening
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) continues to be a major health issue in the United States despite prevention strategies. Now, research at the University of Cincinnati provides evidence that current prevention and screening standards are worth the cost and may even need expansion to include more of the population, further helping prevent the spread of this life-threatening disease. 


Opportunities to Improve Viral Hepatitis Prevention, Screening and Treatment

Capitol Dome

Several bills working their way through the California Legislature have the potential to reduce the burden of viral hepatitis. Bills related to standards for tattoo and piercing practitioners (AB 300), authorization for syringe exchange programs (AB 604), and HCV testing by HIV counselors (AB 1382)  have been passed by the Assembly and are now moving on to Senate committees. A bill limiting prescription copayments (AB 310) is currently in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. A syringe access bill is awaiting vote by the Senate. Have you voiced your support for these important bills? Visit our Calls to Action page to find out how to weigh in and to read CalHEP's letters of support.

CalHEP also wishes to thank Senator Sam Blakeslee for his leadership on Senate Concurrent Resolution 36, which designated May 19th as California Viral Hepatitis Awareness Day. While the World Health Organization has now designated July 28th as World Hepatitis Day, the California Legislature is typically in recess at that time. Selecting a date during National Viral Hepatitis Awareness Month allowed us to continue to raise awareness with policymakers regarding viral hepatitis. Please send an email to Senator Blakeslee, thanking him for his support.

Support for CalHEP

CalHEP received funding from Merck to support our May viral hepatitis Forum and a brief on racial and ethnic disparities related to viral hepatitis, due out in June. 

If you want to support CalHEP's work, click on the box below.

CalHEP donation button 


Consumer Education Materials in Multiple Languages 

We have identified hepatitis B and hepatitis C consumer education materials in a variety of non-English languages, which are available on the web. Visit the General Resources page of the CalHEP website, for this resource and many more.
Free Hepatitis Posters
Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has free viral hepatitis posters? Cover up those blank walls and educate people about viral hepatitis prevention and screening.

New Members  

We are pleased to welcome the following organizations and individuals to CalHEP: 

  • Greg Woods (Associate)
  • SBNC/Westside Clinic

You can also view the full list of members and see more detailed member profiles on the CalHEP website. Encourage others to visit our website to learn more about free CalHEP membership.

New CalHEP Steering Committee Members

CalHEP welcomes three new members to the Steering Committee:


Hilary McQuie

Regional Director

Harm Reduction Coalition-Oakland


Hollis Pickett


LASH-Local Area Support for Hepatitis-Redding    


Garrett Stenson

Program Director

C.O.R.E. Medical Clinic-Sacramento


Grants to Eliminate Hep B Disparities
B Free CEED logo
The B Free Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Hepatitis B Disparities (CEED) funds Legacy Pilot Projects to support community based participatory research projects dedicated to eliminating hepatitis B disparities in Asian & Pacific Islander (API) communities. Legacy Pilot Projects are located all across the country. Pilot awards range from $25,000 to $40,000 for a one-year period. Calls for proposals for Year 5 are open; the deadline is July 15, 2011.


CalHEP thanks the following corporations for their support: Gilead Sciences Incorporated, Merck, Roche/Genentech and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated. CalHEP is solely responsible for the design, content, and implementation of our public policy-focused programs and activities.

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