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Hepatitis B Foundation co-founders chosen for major new award from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases

Joan and Tim Block to be honored for their advocacy on behalf of people living with hepatitis B.

Doylestown, Pa., Nov. 12, 2020 – Hepatitis B Foundation co-founders Joan Block, R.N., and Timothy M. Block, Ph.D., will receive a very significant honor on Nov. 14 during The Liver Meeting, which is the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD).

You can watch a video recording of the presentation here, courtesy of the AASLD.

AASLD is the leading organization of scientists and health care professionals committed to preventing and curing liver disease.

The Blocks will receive the AASLD’s inaugural Distinguished Advocacy Service Award, which “recognizes service provided to the hepatology community over an extended period that raises awareness or garners public and federal legislative support and promotes liver health and quality patient care.”

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The award was conceived last year by T. Jake Liang, M.D., chief of the Liver Diseases Branch, National Institutes of Health, who will be presenting the award.

“The Hepatitis B Foundation has grown from a one-person crusade to a well-funded multi-tier organization with a large staff and deep influence in the advocacy community,” Dr. Liang wrote in his nominating letter. “The Foundation has effectively represented and advocated for patients with chronic hepatitis B and raised prominent awareness of the disease by implementing innovative educational, patient-oriented, community-based and public health programs.”

Harvey Alter, M.D., who recently was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for 2020 with Charles Rice, Ph.D., and Michael Houghton, Ph.D., was one of the many leaders in the field of hepatology who sent in congratulatory messages for the ceremony.

“Tim, despite his humble nature, is a scientific and social giant – a great scientist, a great teacher, a great leader and a remarkable innovator,” Dr. Alter wrote. “With Joan as inspiration, they have evolved the Hepatitis B Foundation from a random thought to a major international entity serving innumerable carriers of hepatitis B infection and their families.”

“Joan, the heart and soul of the HBF, has endeared herself to patients and health care workers and has put hepatitis B into public and governmental consciousness,” Dr. Alter wrote. “She has given patients and their families hope for a better future and Tim has worked on therapeutics to make that hope real.”

Joel Rosen, Esq., chairman of the Hepatitis B Foundation’s Board of Directors, said the Blocks certainly are deserving of this honor. 

“The dedication and leadership in the fight against hepatitis B demonstrated by Joan and Tim for so many years inspires all of us and has set a high bar for everyone associated with the Hepatitis B Foundation,” Rosen said. “Joan and Tim have always combined great intellectual rigor in their research and public health endeavors with heartfelt compassion for people living with hepatitis B.”  

The Hepatitis B Foundation (HBF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding a cure and improving the quality of life for those affected by hepatitis B worldwide. Joan and Tim Block established the HBF in 1991, along with Janine and Paul Witte. Today, it is a trusted global authority and primary portal of information about hepatitis B, with 4 million website visits annually from more than 100 countries. HBF reaches thousands of people each year through email, social media and community-based screening and linkage to care programs.  

The Blocks are receiving this award to recognize their outstanding efforts to raise awareness and prioritization of hepatitis B, and to ensure that the 2 million people living with hepatitis B in the U.S. have unhindered access to screening, appropriate medical care and treatment. Under their leadership, HBF’s long-standing commitment to advocacy has resulted in many groundbreaking successes that have prohibited discrimination, increased focus and dollars for research to find a cure for hepatitis B and better treatment for liver cancer, and improved access to medication across the U.S.  

Tim was a tenured professor at Thomas Jefferson University and Drexel University College of Medicine until 2015, when he joined the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, the research arm of the Hepatitis B Foundation, full-time. He has more than 250 scholarly publications and earned more than 20 patents. Tim is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, U.S. National Academy of Inventors. 

Joan has served on the WHO Committee for HBV management guidelines, received awards from the White House and CDC for advocacy and has served on the American Liver Foundation national board.

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About the Hepatitis B Foundation: The nation’s leading nonprofit organization solely dedicated to finding a cure for hepatitis B and improving the quality of life for those affected worldwide through research, education and patient advocacy, the Hepatitis B Foundation is based in Doylestown, Pa., with an office in Washington, D.C. To learn more, go to www.hepb.org, read our blog at hepb.org/blog, follow us on Twitter @HepBFoundation, find us on Facebook at facebook.com/hepbfoundation or call 215-489-4900. To donate, contact Jean Holmes at 215-489-4900 or jean.holmes@hepb.org.

 

11/04/20