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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hepatitis B Foundation Supports National Hepatitis B Initiative for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
New goals and strategies to address chronic hepatitis B published by National Task Force on Hepatitis B Expert Panel convened by HHS Office of Minority Health

DOYLESTOWN, PA (December 17, 2008) –The National Task Force on Hepatitis B Expert Panel convened by the HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) released the “Goals and Strategies to Address Chronic Hepatitis B in Asian American Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander Populations,” now available on its website at www.omhrc.gov/templates/content.aspx?ID=7245&lvl=2&lvlid=190.

Hepatitis B is the world's most common serious viral infection of the liver and can cause premature death from liver disease or liver cancer. Chronic hepatitis B and liver cancer in Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders comprise one of the most serious but frequently neglected racial and ethnic health disparities in the United States.

”With nearly 1 out of 10 Asian Americans chronically infected with hepatitis B, we need to sound the alarm and let public policy makers know that chronic hepatitis B and liver cancer are urgent health priorities that must be addressed,” said Joan Block, Executive Director of the Hepatitis B Foundation and a member of the OMH Expert Panel. “The Hepatitis B Foundation is proud to partner with the Office of Minority Health and greatly appreciates that chronic hepatitis B has been added to their list of priority diseases.”

The published Goals and Strategies document lays out a national action agenda to eliminate hepatitis B in Asian American communities. Key elements include increasing national awareness of the disproportionate impact, engaging stakeholders, and expanding the infrastructure needed to reduce the risk of chronic hepatitis B infection and its long-term complications, such as liver failure and liver cancer.

About the Hepatitis B Foundation
The Hepatitis B Foundation is the only national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to finding a cure and improving the quality of life for those affected with hepatitis B worldwide through research, education and patient advocacy. For more information, visit www.hepb.org or call (215) 489-4900.

About the Office of Minority Health
The mission of the Office of Minority Health (OMH) is to improve and protect the health of racial and ethnic minority populations through the development of health policies and programs that will eliminate health disparities. It advises on public health program activities affecting American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders.


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