Hepatitis B Foundation Expands Hepatitis B Prevention Policy Initiatives
Doylestown, Pa., May 6, 2020 – The Hepatitis B Foundation has launched a new Hepatitis B Prevention Policy Program aimed at increasing adult hepatitis B vaccination rates in the U.S. The program will build and expand the Foundation’s policy and advocacy initiatives and increase engagement with federal and state public health agency partners to improve hepatitis B prevention and vaccination infrastructure and strategies. The program also will expand the Foundation’s engagement with Members of Congress.
In the U.S., more than 2 million people are living with chronic hepatitis B and many more are at risk for becoming infected with this virus, which is a leading cause of liver cancer and deaths worldwide. Despite the tools available to prevent and eliminate hepatitis B, including safe and effective hepatitis B vaccines, only about 25% of adults in the U.S. have been vaccinated.
The new program’s objectives are to:
- Foster public discussion about hepatitis B to improve awareness and knowledge about transmission and prevention, reduce hepatitis B‐related stigma and promote hepatitis B vaccination at all levels (community, health system, etc.).
- Engage with public health leaders, professional associations, clinical partners, patients and high‐risk communities to promote effective hepatitis B prevention and vaccination strategies and implement policies and programs to improve adult hepatitis B vaccination coverage rates.
- Expand grassroots advocacy efforts and engage hepatitis B patients and state-level advocates and provide training and education.
- Develop sustainable systems for improving hepatitis B prevention through public policy focused on grassroots engagement and collaboration with federal and state public health leaders.
The new program’s manager will be Michaela Jackson, who has been on the Hepatitis B Foundation’s public health team since 2018. Since her promotion, Jackson has been leading policy development and research into federal and state hepatitis B prevention, including vaccine-related policies and programs.
A Philadelphia resident, Jackson earned a Master of Science degree in science communication from Drexel University in 2018. Since then she has been coordinating the Hepatitis B Foundation’s coalition in Philadelphia, including raising awareness and increasing hepatitis B testing within the city's high-risk communities and supporting state policy development and advocacy efforts to promote a Pennsylvania viral hepatitis elimination plan.