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In the news: Coverage of our programs and people

The most obscure and bizzare local mascots: From a dancing liver to a walking cheesesteak, get to know our lesser-known mascots. - Philadelphia Inquirer - Feb. 22, 2023 O’Liver B. Hepatitis, a 6-foot-5 human liver with arms, legs, and a toothy grin, may be the mascot of Hannibal Lecter’s dreams, but he works for the Hepatitis B Foundation of Doylestown, raising awareness of the vaccine-preventable virus that causes liver cancer. Born in Philly, O’Liver spent his early years noshing on cheesesteaks and hanging with his other mascot homies before attending mascot school, where he earned the nickname “Big Filter.”

Hepatitis B Foundation president responds to Janssen decision on company’s hepatitis B drug development programBucks County Herald -Feb. 16, 2023 Hepatitis B Foundation President Chari A. Cohen expressed frustration that Janssen has decided to shut down its program to develop a drug to treat hepatitis B, which is incurable and infects millions in the U.S. and globally. Industry publications have reported that J&J plans to walk away from its hepatitis B and D portfolio and pull out of the hepatitis B space, according to a news release posted on the foundation’s website.

Barnabas MD chosen for Hepatitis B Foundation’s 2023 Community Commitment AwardROI-NJ - Jan. 19, 2023 The Hepatitis B Foundation, a global nonprofit organization based in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, said it recently chose Dr. Su Wang, the medical director of Viral Hepatitis Programs and the Center for Asian Health at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, to receive the Foundation’s 2023 Community Commitment Award. Wang is a practicing internist who also lives with hepatitis B. She was diagnosed when she donated blood in college.

Hepatitis B Foundation’s Dr. Yasmin Ibrahim appointed to national Patient Engagement Collaborative - U.S. Food and Drug Administration - Jan. 13, 2023 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative have announced eight newly selected representatives for the Patient Engagement Collaborative, including Yasmin Ibrahim, MD, PhD, MBA, of the Hepatitis B Foundation. According to the CTTI, “The group of 16 patients, caregivers, and patient group representatives will meet with the FDA several times a year to discuss topics such as communication, transparency, and the best ways for patients to engage the FDA about medical product regulation.”

Hepatitis B Foundation names Baruch S. Blumberg Prize winner - Healio.com - Nov. 19, 2022 The Hepatitis B Foundation has awarded Stephen Urban, PhD, the 2023 Baruch S. Blumberg Prize for his development of bulevirtide, the first drug approved for the treatment of hepatitis D. “The entire hepatitis B/D community owes a tremendous debt to Dr. Urban for his conception, design and creation of new therapeutics for hepatitis B and D, as well as for his pioneering work on basic science advances toward understanding HBV and HDV virology,” Chari Cohen, DrPH, MPH, president of the Hepatitis B Foundation, said.

Hepatitis B Foundation Awarded Community Project Funding Grant - Doylestown Patch - Oct. 22, 2022 Bucks County Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) presented the Hepatitis B Foundation with a $475,000 Community Project Funding grant for its Center of Public Health Excellence. The funding will allow the Foundation to provide expert resources, training, and technical assistance on how to prevent, treat, and control Hepatitis B to state and local health departments, social service organizations, and community health providers.

Philadelphia joins fight against hepatitis - HepMag.com - Sept. 26, 2022 Catherine Freeland, associate director of public health research at the Pennsylvania-based Hepatitis B Foundation, thinks universal testing for hepatitis would be a “huge win” in the fight against hepatitis but admits that it’s unclear how such a policy might be implemented. The city of Philadelphia, meanwhile, is hoping for more funding to help it do its part in eliminating viral hepatitis.

In Philly’s push to eliminate hepatitis, a ‘silent infection,’ how many have it remains a big unknown - Philadelphia Inquirer - Sept. 25, 2022 A national push to eliminate two types of hepatitis is hindered by too little information about who's infected. Universal testing would avoid the complications of both obstacles and would be “a huge win,” said Catherine Freeland, associate director of public health research at the Hepatitis B Foundation, a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit promoting testing and treatment of the virus. Still, she said, it’s unclear how soon the recommendation could take effect. 

Language barriers, bias, and cultural differences hinder access to health care for Asian PhiladelphiansPhiladelphia Inquirer - Sept. 21, 2022 A lack of health care services for Asian Americans in Philadelphia contributes to poor screening for serious illnesses like Hepatitis B. The virus is not well-known to most primary care physicians, said Catherine Freeland, associate director of public health research at the Hepatitis B Foundation. “Providers frequently misinterpret test results,” she said. “If you talk to someone in medical school, they don’t spend a lot of time on hep B.”

The "love story" behind a local institution (p.35) - Central Bucks Business & Arts Journal - Spring 2021 During the late Eighties, Joan was a nurse at a Philadelphia hospital and Tim was a professor at Jefferson University, researching the herpes simplex virus. Then, unexpectedly, a routine health exam determined that Joan was positive for hepatitis B. “When I was diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B, instead of panicking, he changed his whole focus of research to search for a cure for hepatitis B,” Joan recalls.

Allow People With HIV and Hepatitis B to Enlist in the Military, Urge Lawmakers - HepMag.com - Sept. 12, 2022
Congress members write to Biden, pushing for the Department of Defense to allow people with HIV and hepatitis B to enlist in the military. 

Buckingham man's liver cancer inspires new research lab - Bucks County Courier Times - Aug. 21, 2022
On Aug. 8, 2022, the Steven W. Miller Laboratory dedication ceremony was held at the institute at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center in Buckingham. Friends, colleagues and family came to see the unveiling of the plaque outside of the lab to honor Steve. 

Generic subscription services like Mark Cuban’s promise cheaper drugs — but will it work? - PharmaVoice - Aug. 4, 2022
The rising price of drugs and the complexity of the healthcare system have brought about the advent of online subscription generic drug services offering to cut out the middlemen. Now it’s time to see whether that’s economically viable.

World Hepatitis Day 2022 - CDC Global Immunization - July 27, 2022
CDC, in collaboration with the Nigerian Primary Health Care Development Agency, the African Field Epidemiology Network, and the Hepatitis B Foundation, is working with 40 healthcare facilities in Nigeria to train healthcare workers and community volunteers, with the goal of improving coverage of the hepatitis B birth dose (HepB-BD) and the additional 3-dose series (HepB3).

Destigmatizing hepatitis B - Nature - April 1, 2022
"...people with hepatitis B are barred from deployment in the US military. This puts their careers at risk, says Catherine Freeland, director of the public-health programme at the Hepatitis B Foundation, a patient-advocacy charity based in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. “That’s a significant consequence that’s unnecessary, and it’s not based on current updated medical guidelines,” Freeland adds.

Some $6.6M is coming to Bucks from Washington. Bucks County Courier Times - March 21, 2022
Hepatitis B Foundation’s Center of Public Health Excellence... will allow the Hepatitis B Foundation to provide expert resources, training, and technical assistance on how to prevent, treat, and control hepatitis B to state and local health departments, social service organizations, and community health providers, according to Fitzpatrick's office.

Fred Beans awards $250K in EITC funds to orgs in Bucks Co. and beyondThe Reporter - March 2, 2022
A repeat beneficiary, the Hepatitis B Foundation, directs the funding from Beans to its High School Science Enrichment Program, which provides unique hands-on learning opportunities for Bucks County high school students in the Foundation’s labs at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center.

And Then There Were 4: VBI Scores FDA Approval with Hepatitis B Vaccine – Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News - Dec. 6, 2021
Approval of PreHevbrio came nearly a month after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) unanimously recommended universal HBV vaccination for all U.S. adults aged 18-59 and for adults age 60+ with risk factors for infection. “As we work to implement the ACIP’s new universal hepatitis B vaccine recommendation for all adults ages 19 to 59, as voted on in November, we benefit from having more tools, including this newly approved three-antigen hepatitis B vaccine,” said Chari Cohen, DrPH, MPH, the senior vice president of the Hepatitis B Foundation.