By Amy Killelea, Associate Director, Health Systems Integration, NASTAD
“We must meet people where they are, and help more people on the path to better health … Together we can work toward the same mutual goals – to reduce the consequences of drug use, to prevent overdose deaths, and to help people live safer and healthier lives.” Michael Botticelli, Acting Director, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) speaking at the 10th National Harm Reduction Conference in Baltimore. Continue reading
By Chris Taylor, Director, Viral Hepatitis, NASTAD
NASTAD Staff: Left to Right: Murray Penner, Deputy Director; Julie Scofield, Executive Director; Chris Taylor, Director, Viral Hepatitis
Last month, Julie Scofield, Executive Director of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), was recognized by the White House Office of Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) for her leadership in the prevention and treatment of viral hepatitis. The event was held at the White House in observance World Hepatitis Day. NASTAD congratulates Julie Scofield and other colleagues recognized for their leadership to address the domestic and global viral hepatitis epidemics.
By Emily McCloskey, Manager, Policy and Legislative Affairs
Today, NASTAD released an infographic analyzing viral hepatitis funding. State health departments receive less than $1 dollar in federal funding for every person living with viral hepatitis for the Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator (VHPC) program. The VHPC program is the only national program dedicated to the viral hepatitis epidemics and provides the only public health infrastructure for the prevention of viral hepatitis and linking individuals to care and treatment. In order to meet the goals established by the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan, the VHPC program must continue to be funded in all existing jurisdictions and increased resources are necessary to coordinate prevention efforts at the state and local levels. Continue reading
By Dawn Fukuda, Director, Office of HIV/AIDS, Massachusetts Department of Public Health and NASTAD Chair (Outgoing)
Director, Office of HIV/AIDS, Massachusetts Department of Public Health and NASTAD Chair
As I began my tenure as chair of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) in May 2013, I was full of energy and optimism. January 1st of 2014 was close at hand, and represented a massive new opportunity to invigorate our response to the HIV and viral hepatitis epidemics through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
I was confident based on our experience with state health care reform in my home state of Massachusetts that increased access to medical care through broader insurance coverage would translate into health promotion and disease prevention outcomes that would advance our progress along the HIV Care Continuum. I remain steadfast in my belief that integrating an HIV and viral hepatitis response into primary medical care and reimbursable health services is the way to sustain our efforts into the future; yet the mechanics of the ACA roll out over the past year also provide a striking reminder of the essential and non-transferrable role of public health.
By Oscar Mairena, Manager, Viral Hepatitis/Policy and Legislative Affairs
Panelists at the NASTAD and Harm Reduction Coalition Congressional Briefing.
Last year, the Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator (VHPC) in Massachusetts, Dan Church, wrote a post about the increasing rate of acute hepatitis C (HCV) infection among young persons who inject drugs in Massachusetts and the health department’s efforts to prevent new infections, identify existing cases, educate individuals vulnerable to acquisition, and enhance surveillance and data collection to better address the epidemic. Since then, more health departments have reported this trend, especially among young persons who begin using prescription opioids and transition to injecting heroin. Earlier this week, NASTAD partnered with the Harm Reduction Coalition to host a Congressional Briefing, An Emerging Epidemic: The Public Health Response to Hepatitis C Infection among Young People who Use Drugs, to bring this issue to light, educate Congressional staff and reinforce the role of public health in addressing emerging health concerns. Continue reading