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Hepatitis B Foundation receives Congressional funding for a Center of Public Health Excellence

Doylestown, Pa., March 14, 2022 – With the passage of the Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Act, the Hepatitis B Foundation will receive $475,000 to create a Center of Public Health Excellence focused on hepatitis B elimination by providing expert resources, advice, training, capacity building and technical assistance for state and local partners including health departments, social service organizations, and community-based health providers on how to best prevent, treat and control hepatitis B and to increase the rate of adult vaccination and testing for hepatitis B. The Center will build public health infrastructure to decrease heath disparities and improve health access and outcomes in underserved, disparately impacted communities of color.

The Center of Public Health Excellence was one of nine community projects that Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick secured funding for in the Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Act. The final bill passed the House with Congressman Fitzpatrick’s support on March 9, and passed the Senate on March 10.

“We greatly appreciate Congressman Fitzpatrick’s leadership and help in securing this essential funding,” said Chari Cohen, DrPH, MPH, senior vice president of the Hepatitis B Foundation. “Our center is an exciting new initiative that will serve people living with hepatitis B, their families, health care providers and the public health community here in Pennsylvania and eventually nationwide.”

There are at least 50,000 Pennsylvanians living with chronic hepatitis B, only 10-15% have been diagnosed, and only 50% of those diagnosed access sustainable medical care. This epidemic primarily impacts underserved communities of color and left untreated, one in four chronically infected individuals will die prematurely of liver cancer or cirrhosis. The addiction crisis has severely exacerbated this problem, and rates of acute hepatitis B have increased more than 150% in Pennsylvania. There is therefore an urgent need for the creation of a Center of Public Health Excellence focused on hepatitis B elimination.

This program will build critical strategic public health infrastructure and partnerships in Pennsylvania to be leveraged and modeled for expansion as a national program. Ultimately, this initiative will help us meet the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) goal to eliminate hepatitis B in the United States by 2030.

About Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is the most common serious liver infection in the world. It is caused by the hepatitis B virus that attacks and injures the liver. Each year 840,000 people die from hepatitis B worldwide despite the fact that it is preventable and treatable. Hepatitis B is a “silent epidemic” because most people do not have symptoms when they are newly or chronically infected. Thus, they can unknowingly transmit the virus to others. For people who are chronically infected but don’t have any symptoms, their liver can still be silently damaged, which can develop into serious liver disease such as cirrhosis or liver cancer. 

About the Hepatitis B Foundation: We are 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. Founded in 1991, 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, Instagram and Facebook (@hepbfoundation) or call us at 215-489-4900. To donate, contact Jean Holmes at 215-489-4900 or jean.holmes@hepb.org.