Below is the text of the Dear Colleague sent around Capitol Hill last week. The Rayburn House Office Building is located at
the intersections of Independence Avenue, South Capitol Street, C Street S.W., and First Street in Southwest Washington, DC. If you are using GPS, the zip code is 20515.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hepatitis C is the most common chronic bloodborne infection in the United States. More than 3 million adults are infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV), and the resulting disease is both a leading cause of liver cancer and a major driver of costly liver transplants.
Because there are often few signs of illness, infected people can live for decades without ever feeling sick. In fact, as many as 75 percent of infected persons are unaware they carry the virus. Many were infected by pre-1993 blood transfusions, before which point the nation’s blood supply was not screened for HCV.
CDC and the US Preventive Services Task Force issued recommendations in the past year that called for HCV screening among the baby boomer population. This was a departure from past practices of screening only those at risk of liver disease. In response to these new recommendations, local medical clinics and some hospitals have begun screening in an effort to identify individuals with hepatitis C before they develop costly cirrhosis (scaring) of the liver and other health problems.
According to the NIH, hepatitis C kills 15,000 Americans each year. Screenings that link more people to a health care provider earlier in their illness will help avoid unnecessary costs, protect health and save lives. We are pleased to partner with The Campaign for Public Health Foundation in hosting a briefing on hepatitis C that will explore these new recommendations and will detail programmatic efforts to identify hepatitis-infected individuals.
Honored speakers for this event will be:
Dr. Bryce Smith of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Smith is the primary author of CDC’s new hepatitis C screening recommendations. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force adjusted its preventive recommendations to match CDCs in 2013.
Dr. Seun Falade directs a hepatitis C screening project in Baltimore, Maryland. She also serves as both faculty in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and as the Medical Director of the Baltimore City Health Department’s HIV Early Intervention Initiative (EII) Program.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
9:00 to 10:00 am
Rayburn HOB room 2322
We will conclude with a question and answer period. Please RSVP by contacting Kimberly Chang in Rep. Cassidy’s office at Kimberly.Chang@mail.house.gov.
Bill Cassidy Lucille Roybal-Allard James P. McGovern
Members of Congress
UNSUNG HEROES OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Thanks to a generous grant from AbbVie, we will hold our fourth-annual Unsung Heroes of Public Health awards ceremony again this year. The government shutdown forced some adjustment to our calendar, and the new date for the awards reception will be January 8, 2014. We are excited the event will be hosted on Capitol Hill by the Congressional Study Group on Public health, and take place in the Gold Room of the Rayburn House office Building from 4 to 6 pm.
Nominations forms for the Rock in the Pond/Wavemaker and the Excellence in Media awards should be sent to AnnualAwards@CPHFoundation.org. More information can be found here.
FUTURE PUBLIC HEALTH TOURS
The CPH Foundation has led a dozen successful tours of public health and prevention institutions for members of Congress, their staff, members of the media, and prominent business leaders. Our last tour, held November 8 2013, led a bipartisan group of congressional leaders to Atlanta with the critical support of NASTAD, APHA, IDSA, Research!America and NACCHO.
We hope to visit public health “hot spots” like the US-Mexico border with members later in 2014 and have several other trips we hope to launching as well. Partner input and support is critical to making these trips happen. If your nonprofit organization would be interested in helping us execute one of these tours, please fill out our related Google Survey. We also invite you to call us to learn more.