Hundreds Gather for the Nation’s First Hepatitis C Elimination Summit

What Is a Hepatitis C Elimination Summit?

A summit is the name for an event in which professionals in many different industries come together to discuss the same topic or to work together to reach the same overarching goal. This event took place in Albany, New York, USA, and included healthcare providers, health experts, government officials, and people who identify as hepatitis C advocates. They work all over America, in more than 50 different medical facilities, including hospitals, health departments, universities, and organizations that are community based. Their joint goal is to figure out how to eradicate hepatitis C from the entire state of New York, which includes New York City, one of the most populous cities in the world.

Who Attends This Type of Event?

Typically, these events are attended by professionals, though this one was also open to the public. This meant that concerned citizens, people with hepatitis C, relatives or loved ones of people with hepatitis C, and anyone else interested in the information were able to attend. In addition, people from other cities may choose to attend so they can listen in to hear what this state is doing, in hopes of finding solutions or ideas to implement within their own cities. In some cases, local medical or mental health students may attend, in order to be in the audience for the presentations of current medical knowledge and to learn what the future of hepatitis C treatment looks like.

Why Do These Types of Events Matter?

These events matter for two reasons; first, they provide education to the public. Just seeing signs for the event can help to remove some of the stigma from hepatitis C, as it brings the conversation into the public eye. It can also lead some to do a basic internet search for the virus and both learn about the issues and find out whether they should consider getting tested, based on whether they have been engaged in activities that could have led to their exposure. Secondly, these events create a space for everyone to bring their knowledge into one shared space.

In most aspects of medical treatment, there is a patient file that can be viewed by different professionals in different departments. In some facilities, the professionals may consult with each other before prescribing treatment. However, it often occurs that each profession manages one piece of the treatment puzzle and the patient is the only common piece. By creating a summit, these specialists can come together in one room, face to face, and share their experiences while looking for insight from others whose specialties may not interact often. During these conversations, each professional may learn new insight and it is likely that the puzzle pieces begin to combine to show new pictures of the situation that might not have otherwise been recognized. With these new insights and a shared mission, the collective group can work together to create and discuss new strategies that can both help the patients undergoing hepatitis C treatment and that can positively impact the hepatitis C infection rate in the state of New York as a whole.

Now What?

The focus of this hepatitis C summit was to discuss every aspect of the hepatitis C experience for the more than 200,000 New Yorkers who are currently living with hepatitis C. This included a lack of public education, a lack of federal and state funding for hepatitis C related needs, a shortage of testing facilities, and the high cost of hepatitis C treatment. At the conclusion of these conversations, the professionals came together to create recommendations in the areas of testing and linkage, prevention, treatment and care, data obtainment, and the social determinants of hepatitis C diagnosis. These recommendations are then presented to the State Assembly and to the Senate in order to request funding for specific projects and to be used to create new policies and programs within the state of New York. In situations where the recommendations are ignored by the government, this also creates a framework for those involved in politics or in advocacy to begin to work to find alternative sources of funding and to make the public more aware of how the state and federal governments have decided to handle the recommendations from so many hepatitis C professionals. This means that a successful summit will not only produce a blueprint for how to move toward the goal of eradicating hepatitis C from the state of New York, it also creates a clear path from now until that goal is met, which makes it easier for other organizations to find their place in this mission and to offer their own insights and contributions to this goal.1-3

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The HepatitisC.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
View References

Comments

Poll