Online Program

Innovative prevention & wellness efforts to address chronic hepatitis b in African immigrant communities in Philadelphia: Lessons from a pilot community program

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 2:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

C. a. Cohen, MPH, DrPH(c), Department of Public Health Research, Hepatitis B Foundation, Doylestown, PA
Kuan-Lung Daniel Chen, MPH, CPH, Department of Public Health Research, Hepatitis B Foundation, Doylestown, PA
Amy B. Jessop, PhD, MPH, Department of Health Policy and Public Health, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Chronic hepatitis B (HBV) is the world's most common liver infection and leading cause of primary liver cancer, affecting 400 million individuals worldwide. HBV causes up to 1 million annual global deaths. In the US, HBV disproportionately affects Asian and Pacific Islander (API) and African immigrants. Prevalence rates range from 5-15% in US APIs, but very little is known about HBV prevalence in African immigrants. In Philadelphia, an innovative campaign focused around a community-based multi-disciplinary coalition was developed to promote hepatitis B prevention and wellness through improving awareness, screening and linkage to care. Initially, local resources and barriers to screening and vaccination were assessed. Education and screening were integrated into existing cultural and community events. Of 98 African immigrants screened for HBV, 32% were in the US 5 years or less, 29% listed English as their primary language, 33% had a medical home, and 23% had health insurance. HBV prevalence was 10%, and 45% were protected from HBV, either through vaccination or recovery from infection. Barriers to screening and vaccination included low awareness, language and financial barriers, and lack of convenient resources for culturally appropriate services. There are potentially high rates of HBV infection in the Philadelphia African immigrant community, which also has limited access to care and low HBV awareness. Further research is necessary to address this disparity, including assessing resources and addressing barriers, improving awareness, promoting screening and vaccination, and linking to appropriate health services. Multi-disciplinary, culturally competent community programs can play an important role in this process.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control

Learning Objectives:
Describe the picture of chronic hepatitis B infection in African immigrant communities in Philadelphia. Understand the barriers and resources associated with addressing disparate conditions at the community level. Evaluate the initial success of an innovative partnership-based community program to promote hepatitis B prevention and screening in African immigrant communities.

Keyword(s): Immigrants, Access to Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: For 10 years, I have planned, implemented and evaluated community programs and research on hepatitis B and liver cancer. My research focuses on reducing HBV health disparities, and developing models for improved health care access and management for chronic HBV infection, including the early detection and prevention of liver cancer. I am director of Hep B United Philadelphia, a campaign and coalition to increase testing and vaccination to fight hepatitis B and liver cancer.
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.