MAHA HEPATITIS B PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Approximately one in ten Asian Americans are infected with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV). Alarmingly, 65-75% of chronically infected people are not aware that they have hepatitis B, making awareness and education critically needed resources. Illinois has experienced a significant 50.1% growth of Asian Pacific Islanders (APIs) from 2000-2006, and currently has the 6th largest concentration of this minority population in the U.S. Unfortunately, many cultural, linguistic, and economic barriers prevent at-risk individuals from obtaining the resources and treatment they need.

In 2012, MAHA’s free community-based Hepatitis B Clinic first opened its doors in Chinatown under the clinical leadership of Dr. Sean Koppe, Director of Hepatology within the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Medical Director of Liver Transplantation at the University of Illinois Hospital. MAHA’s Hepatitis and Liver Cancer Prevention Program focuses on developing effective outreach and education efforts to improve community knowledge and awareness regarding hepatitis B and prevention resources. The program aims to build and enhance community capacity and infrastructure for hepatitis B screening, immunization, and follow-up care.

In partnership with other community-based organizations in the south Chinatown area of Chicago and the suburban Cook and DuPage Counties, hepatitis B outreach and education is provided to at-risk and hard to reach API populations at the community sites to raise awareness of the disease, its prevention and transmission, and the importance of getting screened. MAHA utilizes local media sources, stores, bakeries, restaurants, schools, religious organizations, and cultural fairs to provide outreach to community members to increase program awareness and participation. Education is provided by multilingual staff in a format that is both culturally and linguistically appropriate to ensure understanding and effectiveness. Free hepatitis B screening is provided at MAHA’s Chinatown Hepatitis B Clinic by Northwestern University’s Hepatitis B Alliance, and hepatitis B vaccinations are provided to at-risk individuals, offered free of charge by the Chicago Department of Public Health and administered by Midwestern University’s College of Pharmacy and the Hepatitis B Alliance. MAHA’s monthly Hepatitis B Clinic also provides free patient care courtesy of Dr. Sean Koppe.

For more information, please contact Cuihua Yang (Chinese) at 312-225-8659, or Jessica Szafron (English), Program Manager at jessicaszafron@maha-us.org.