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The Coalition

 

The Viral Hepatitis Action Coalition is a public-private partnership developed by the CDC Foundation to help the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) make meaningful advances in the prevention, screening and treatment of viral hepatitis.

"Viral Hepatitis is a large and under-appreciated problem in the United States," says Dr. John Ward, director of CDC's Division of Viral Hepatitis. "Approximately 5.3 million persons are living with hepatitis, and CDC is particularly concerned that most of those persons are unaware of their infection, meaning they can unknowingly transmit these viruses to others, and that they are not receiving the care they need that could prevent the progression to liver disease, including liver cancer, in later life."

A report on hepatitis and liver cancer issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2010 highlighted an overall lack of knowledge about the extent and seriousness of viral hepatitis in the United States. The report specifically called on CDC to work with partners to:

  • increase data collection on Hepatitis B and C to provide a better overall understanding of how many people are infected, how they become infected, if and when they get tested and treated and the outcomes of their treatment
  • educate populations at-risk, healthcare providers, and the general public about hepatitis to promote vaccination and prevention strategies and encourage screening and testing

Through the Viral Hepatitis Action Coalition better prepares CDC to respond to the urgent calls to action outlined in the IOM report. Members of the Coalition help support crucial CDC-led research and programs, as well as fellowship opportunities, through grants to the CDC Foundation, amplifying CDC’s messages to the public to increase overall awareness of viral hepatitis.

"The Viral Hepatitis Action Coalition has given us capacity that we did not have previously to launch a variety of new projects that our division believes are critically important to our success in preventing disease and deaths from viral hepatitis," says Ward.