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The New York Viral Hepatitis Advocacy Coalition
is a unified group of diverse stakeholders committed to promoting viral hepatitis as a public health priority through grassroots and legislative advocacy at the local, state and national level.

Anyone who is interested in viral hepatitis advocacy may participate. This page contains the latest news and information on advocacy efforts and policy surrounding viral hepatitis B and C in New York City. If you would like to be involved, please attend one of our meetings. We look forward to seeing you there!

Meeting Highlights - Click to view

Action Alerts - Things You Can Do Today

This section is updated regularly. Please subscribe and take action today!

Update Your NYC Council Member on the April 11 Committee on Health Hearing on HIV/AIDS-Hepatitis Co-infection

posted Jul 11, 2011, 11:35 AM by NYC Hep B Coalition   [ updated Jul 11, 2011, 11:39 AM ]


Update Your NYC Council Member on the April 11 Committee on Health Hearing on HIV/AIDS-Hepatitis Co-infection


Please let your City Council member know that Hepatitis B and C are critical public health issues for New York City - and your District in particular.   Make them aware that there was a Hearing in the New York City Council Health Committee on the subject on April 11th and direct them to testimony from the Hearing to learn more. Click Here to See Hearing Details & Testimonies


Making sure City Council members are aware of the hidden epidemics of Hepatitis B and C, and the health crisis they will cause if not addressed, is especially important as State and City budgets are being cut!


To find out who your City Council member is and get his/her phone number or contact info:

  • In Google type in NYC City Council and your zip code.
  • Or go to   On the City Council home page, click on “Council Members” or “Find My Council Member.”   If you know the District you live in, the Council member’s name will be next to it.  If you don’t know your District, you can enter your address and Borough to find it and your Council member.
  • If you cannot reach your Council member directly by phone, talk with the Council person’s policy director or another senior staff member.   It’s best to talk directly with your Council member or staff, but if you are unable to do so, many Council members provide an email address to send a detailed message.


Sample Call Script:

The script can be changed to fit your personal style.   If possible, you should also add anything you know about the impact of Hepatitis B and/or C in your District….and about programs or centers you think are making a difference and need support. 


“Hello Council Member ____________, my name is ____________, I live in your District.  I am a member of The New York City Viral Hepatitis Advocacy Coalition.   The Coalition is a unified group of diverse stakeholders committed to making viral hepatitis a public health priority.   I want to make myself available to you to provide information on Hepatitis B and C and the impact these diseases have on New York City, and especially on our District and its residents.


On April 11, 2011, the New York City Council Committee on Health held a hearing on HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis Co-Infection.   HIV/AIDS has long been a health priority in New York City, but now the serious implications of co-infection with Hepatitis B or C are becoming recognized as a critical public health issue.  


Hepatitis B and C are much more common than HIV/AIDS and yet these diseases have not received enough attention and funding.   Viral hepatitis, with or without co-infection with HIV/AIDS, is a major problem in New York City.   These diseases will become a health care crisis over the next decade, unless better testing, treatment, and support services are made available soon.


 At the hearing, testimony on viral hepatitis and co-infection was provided by the New York City Department of Health, local doctors, other experts, and patients.  You will find the testimony on the NYC Council website, under the Committee on Health. Click Here to See Hearing Details & Testimonies


In our District, Hepatitis…..(fill in facts you know about the impact of viral hepatitis in your District, or about programs that are helping people, need support, etc).


Thank you very much for your interest in this important issue.  Please feel free to contact me if you want additional information about viral hepatitis.”

Release of the HHS Viral Hepatitis Action Plan - Thursday, May 12, 2011

posted May 11, 2011, 12:40 PM by NYC Hep B Coalition   [ updated May 11, 2011, 12:43 PM ]

Though hepatitis is a leading cause of death in the U.S., many people who have it don’t know they are infected, so they are at greater risk for severe – or even fatal – complications of the disease, and at greater risk of unwittingly spreading the virus to others. 


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is committed to ensuring that new cases of viral hepatitis are prevented and that persons who are already infected are tested, informed about their infection, and provided with counseling, care, and treatment. Comprehensive and sustained efforts are necessary to effectively eliminate this epidemic.  Please join HHS officials and community representatives as they discuss the actions necessary to achieve this goal.


Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H., HHS Assistant Secretary for Health     
Kevin Fenton, M.D., Ph.D., FFPH, Director, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
Jim Macrae, M.A., M.P.P., Associate Administrator for Primary Health Care, Health Resources and Services Administration

Michael Ninburg, Community Perspective

Su Wang, M.D., Provider Perspective



Thursday, May 12, 2011

1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET



The National Press Club

First Amendment Lounge, 13th Floor

529 14th St, NW

Washington, DC 20045

The event will also be webcast live at:

SAVE THE DATE! HHS Action Plan for the Prevention and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis – The Community Response Webinar

posted May 3, 2011, 6:54 PM by Shari Foster   [ updated May 3, 2011, 7:01 PM ]

SAVE THE DATE! Upcoming Community Webinar SAVE THE DATE!

Please distribute widely

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,

Action Plan for the Prevention and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis

The Community Response

    Date & Time: May 16, 2011 at 12:00 PM Pacific Time

On May 12, 2011 HHS will release the first ever national strategy for viral hepatitis. Join us for this informative webinar as we explore what the plan does, and what it does not do, from the community perspective. Learn how you can use the plan to support the addition of viral hepatitis services into local health policy. As always, we will leave plenty of time for questions and answers.   

About the Presentation Team:

Ryan Clary

Mr. Clary is the Director of Public Policy at Project Inform. He advocates at the national, state, and local levels on HIV and hepatitis C policy issues. He is a co-founder of Hepatitis C Advocates UNITED!, a national grassroots coalition of advocates working to increase the federal government’s response to the HCV epidemic.


Daniel Raymond

Mr. Raymond is the Policy Director for the Harm Reduction Coalition in New York and a Steering Committee member of the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable. His work focuses on syringe access, HIV, hepatitis C, and overdose prevention. He has worked in the field of harm reduction and syringe exchange for two decades, and provided testimony to the Institute of Medicine on hepatitis C prevention for people who inject drugs.


Lorren Sandt

Ms. Sandt is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Caring Ambassadors Program. She has managed the Hepatitis C Program of the Caring Ambassadors Program since its inception in 1999. Lorren is a co-editor and a contributing author, to Hepatitis C Choices, 4th Edition, a one-of-a-kind, patient-centered book authored by a team of more than 25 multi-disciplined experts in hepatitis C. She has worked on policy changes at both the state and federal level since 2001. Lorren is the Chair of the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, a member of the Hepatitis Community Advisory Board, the Fair Pricing Coalition, a member of the Hepatitis Appropriations Partnership, and co-moderator of Hepatitis C Advocates UNITED.


Colin Schwartz

Mr. Schwartz is the Manager, Viral Hepatitis/Government Relations for the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD). In this role, he provides program and policy assistance to state health department viral hepatitis programs and advocates on their behalf with the Administration, Congress and Federal Agencies. Mr. Schwartz is actively involved in several national hepatitis advocacy coalitions including serving as the Coordinator for the Hepatitis Appropriations Partnership (HAP). He has policy experience in HIV and viral hepatitis, comprehensive sex education and sexual health, with expertise on Congressional Appropriations for public health programs.


To register for this webinar:


To join this webinar:


Dial-In: 1-800-201-2375 or 1-469-759-7753     Passcode: 327238


Long Island Regional Hepatitis C Task Force Meeting, May 10, 2011

posted May 3, 2011, 4:39 AM by Shari Foster

Long Island Regional Hepatitis C Task Force Meeting
Identifying Gaps and Barriers to Hepatitis C Care and Treatment 
and Prevention Education on Long Island

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

1045 Route 109, Suite 101
Lindenhurst, New York 11757
631 -225-5500

Please join us for our second meeting as we bring together key partners in Nassau and Suffolk Counties who have a stake in the hepatitis C virus care, treatment and prevention.

Lunch will be served.  RSVP to Shari Foster at 631-776-8095 or email

Visit Us on Facebook!

Follow Hepatitis NY on Twitter!/hepatitisny

Action Alert Urge Your Members of Congress to Attend Historic Viral Hepatitis Congressional Briefing

posted Apr 28, 2011, 4:59 AM by Shari Foster

On Thursday, May 12th, Congressman Mike Honda and Senator John Kerry will hold a Congressional briefing entitled “Combating the Hidden Epidemic: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Action Plan for the Prevention and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis.” This briefing will inform Members of Congress and their staff about the long-awaited report from HHS that will detail the federal government’s strategy for combating hepatitis B and C in the United States.

The release of this report and the briefing offer a tremendous opportunity to change the course of the viral hepatitis epidemic in the U.S. and demonstrate Congressional leadership in moving forward a comprehensive prevention and treatment strategy.

We need as many Members of Congress and their staff to attend this briefing to show their commitment to implement and fund the HHS plan. You can help make this happen by making three important phone calls right now!

How you can make a difference:

Call the Capitol Switchboard toll-free at 1-888-876-6242 and ask to be connected to your U.S. Representative. When you are connected, ask for the staff person who handles health care issues. Whether you speak directly to the staff person or leave a message, tell him/her:

“My name is _____________ and I live in (city/state). I am calling to urge Representative _____________ to attend a Congressional briefing on fighting the viral hepatitis epidemic in the United States. This important briefing will outline the new HHS “Action Plan for the Prevention and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis.” The briefing will be held on Thursday, May 12th, from 9:30 – 11:00 am in 210 Cannon House Office Building. Please contact Meina Banh in Congressman Mike Honda’s office for more information and to register. In the next 10 years, about 150,000 people in the United States are projected to die from liver cancer and liver disease associated with chronic hepatitis B and C. I strongly urge your office to participate in this briefing and show your commitment to fighting these preventable diseases.”

Next, call both of your two U.S. Senators (using the Capitol Switchboard number) and deliver the same message to their health care staff.

You can also ask the staff person for his/her email address and forward the attached “Dear Colleague” letter with more information about the briefing.

Thank you for taking the time to make a difference!

This Action Alert was created by the Hepatitis Appropriations Partnership, the National Task Force on Hepatitis B: Focus on AAPIs, and the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable.

Community Sign-On to Protect FY2011 CDC DVH Funding

posted Apr 20, 2011, 10:27 AM by NYC Hep B Coalition   [ updated Apr 20, 2011, 10:43 AM ]

Dear Colleagues,


As many of you know, the continuing resolution (CR) that funds the remainder of this fiscal year has an estimated ~$270 million cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that could potentially impact program activity at the Division of Viral Hepatitis (DVH). In addition to and not included in this cut, the CR has a .2% rescission that impacts all programs which amounts to a cut of $38,600 to DVH of its $19.3 million appropriated from Congress. The CR requests that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) present a spending plan as to how these cuts will be made to Congress by May 15. As such, HAP and NVHR have developed a community sign-on letter to send to various federal officials in the coming weeks as they go through their process of developing this plan to ensure that none of the ~$270 million in cuts impact DVH. This letter focuses on CDC but we will end up sending similar letters up the HHS chain and to the Administration.


Since this will move quickly, we have developed an opt-out sign-on letter that already includes our most recent signatories to related letters. Ideally we would like to send this letter tomorrow. I apologize for the short turnaround but if you would like to be added to this letter and are not signed on, or would like to opt-out of this letter please let me know by COB today.


The letter is below and attached with signatories automatically added.




Colin Schwartz

Manager, Viral Hepatitis/Government Relations

National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD)

444 North Capitol Street NW, Suite 339

Washington, DC  20001

Phone: (202) 434.8005  Fax: (202) 434.8092 

Provide Feedback to Medicaid & Medicare

posted Apr 20, 2011, 10:04 AM by NYC Hep B Coalition

Provide Feedback to Medicaid & Medicare: - allows you to help shape the future of the Medicare, Medicaid & CHIP programs. Seeking your ideas, both to help build the Innovation Center and to help identify innovative ideas about how care can be delivered and paid for in ways that will save money while improving health and healthcare. 

Urge Congress to protect public health funding

posted Feb 11, 2011, 8:34 AM by Justina Wu

The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote next week on a budget that would drastically cut federal funding levels for the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 for critical public health programs, including those at CDC and HRSA, as well as key programs addressing food safety and environmental protection. House Republican leaders are also expected to allow an amendment to this legislation that would block all funding for implementing the Affordable Care Act.

Your Representative needs to hear from you TODAY! Please take the time to send a message urging him/her to oppose these cuts to our public health system.

Click here to send a letter to your Representative. This important action takes only 1 minute!

Tell Your Rep Today: No Funding Cuts for Community Health Centers

posted Feb 8, 2011, 8:22 AM by Justina Wu

If You Don’t Want Health Center Funding Cut You Need To Call Your Representative NOW! Only a Powerful Grassroots Effort NOW Can Keep Cuts from Happening!

Key decisions about health center funding will be made this week. The U.S. House of Representatives is currently in the process of determining the funding level for the entire Health Centers Program for FY2011 and your Representative needs to hear from you TODAY to ensure health center funding remains whole.

Click here for more information, to send an email or find a phone number for your Representative.

Submit Comments For Hep B Goal in HHS plan

posted Jan 21, 2011, 1:53 PM by Justina Wu   [ updated Jan 27, 2011, 10:28 AM ]

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a plan for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Interagency Working Group to increase Asian American and Pacific Islanders' (AAPI) access to the federal government. The plan includes addressing hepatitis B health disparities as its first goal. HHS is seeking feedback on their plan.

The Department of Health and Human Services plan is available for public comment at:

Please submit your feedback! Specify "Health and Human Services plan" in your subject line and address your email to Comments due February 17, 2011.

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