206629 Dispelling Liver Disease Stigma

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 8:45 AM

Susan C. Robinson, MPA , Program, American Liver Foundation, New York, NY
Indhira Blackwood, MPA , Program, American Liver Foundation, New York, NY
Emily Watson, MPH , Program, American Liver Foundation, New York, NY
Liver disease has a powerful impact on patients, their families and the public health community. An estimated 30 million people in the US have liver disease. Many are unaware of their disease status because of the often asymptomatic nature of liver disease and social stigma. After diagnosis, many patients are confronted with challenges including limited information, inadequate availability of and accessibility to clinical care and medical treatment, discrimination, isolation and depression.

The American Liver Foundation (ALF) facilitates, advocates, and promotes education, support and research for the prevention, treatment and cure of liver disease. Through its national and local education programs for the general public, healthcare and social service professionals and patients with liver disease and their families, ALF reaches more than 100,00 individuals annually. Participant knowledge has increased 36%. National and local support services have provided more than 150,000 individuals with risk assessments, counseling, support, and referrals for specialty care. ALF has granted more than $21 million to more than 650 research scientists pursuing the study of liver disease prevention, treatment and cure. Advocacy efforts on the local, state and federal level have contributed to greater awareness of liver disease and legislation that improves the lives of people with liver disease and begins to address the stigmatization of liver disease.

This session will describe ALF's comprehensive strategies to prevent liver disease and address the complex needs of people living with liver disease. We will discuss liver disease in the context of public health concerns, including the increasing prevalence of obesity.

Learning Objectives:
(1) Describe the need for more information about liver disease and its impact in the US (2) Define the ongoing needs of individuals with liver disease (3) Discuss the role of the American Liver Foundation

Keywords: Planning, Challenges and Opportunities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As Senior Programs Manager at the American Liver Foundation (ALF), I oversee and coordinate education and support service activities as well as ensure the development, implementation, and evaluation of ALF programs. I also participate in national liver disease focused coalitions and task forces.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.