While more than 5 million Americans are living with chronic hepatitis B or C, for most Americans, viral hepatitis is still a silent epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that up to 75% of the hepatitis C positive and 65% of the hepatitis B population are unaware of their status. The initial quiescent nature of the disease increases the difficulty of raising awareness of the potential seriousness of the high prevalence of viral hepatitis in the population, and hence, the urgent need for new leaders in every community to develop a collective voice calling for higher prioritization of hepatitis B & C on local, regional, and national public health agendas.
To increase hepatitis B and C awareness, the Caring Ambassadors Program is starting a community training/mentoring program entitled, Hepatitis Leadership Corps. The program will be modeled after the successful advocacy training developed by national breast cancer advocates beginning in the 1980s, the Susan G. Koman Advocates in Science Training. According to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure (formerly the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation), “Breast cancer advocacy efforts contributed to a more than quadrupling of federal funding for breast cancer research in the 1990s.” Participants will receive one-on-one training in Washington DC and monthly training webinars from experts in the field.
The goal of the Hepatitis Leadership Corps is to have one leader in health policy advocacy within each state, and one for each health sub-committee member in key jurisdictions.
Due to funding restrictions there are a limited number of slots for this program. Not everyone will be accepted into the Hepatitis Leadership Corps. All materials developed will be made publicly available on our website.