New York State has the third highest hepatitis C rate in the U.S., and East Harlem has one of the highest rates of newly reported chronic hepatitis C infection of all New York City neighborhoods. To address this, the Prevent Cancer Foundation is partnering with the Coalition on Positive Health Empowerment (COPE) and the Hepatitis C Mentor and Support Group, Inc. (HCMSG) to bring their Think About the Link™education campaign to Harlem to increase awareness of the connection between the hepatitis C virus and liver cancer, ahead of World Hepatitis Day.
The Prevent Cancer Foundation, COPE and HCMSG will host a Day of Action on July 25, convening local health care leaders, policy influencers and advocates to focus on strategies to reduce the high rates of hepatitis C in the Harlem community. These experts will discuss how to improve awareness of and access to screenings and treatments in Harlem to prevent the virus, and ultimately, prevent cancer. Free hepatitis C screenings will also be provided at a health fair in the afternoon.
Harlem’s community is particularly at risk for hepatitis C, and African-Americans in Harlem are at higher risk of infection. There are screenings and treatments to diagnose and cure hepatitis C, but many Harlem residents are unaware of the virus and its link to liver cancer. Education is critical because hepatitis C is a leading cause of liver cancer.
Hep C by the numbers:
- New York State has the third highest hepatitis C rate in the U.S.
- 146,500 people in New York City are living with hepatitis C.i
- The number of hepatitis C-related deaths in New York City increased by 46 percent from 1999 to 2013.
- In 2014, East Harlem had one of the highest rates of newly reported chronic hepatitis C infection of all New York City neighborhoods.iii
- Hepatitis C infection is more common among African-Americans, who make up 62 percent of Central Harlem North’s population, 58 percent of Central Harlem South’s population, 35 percent of East Harlem North’s population, 24 percent of East Harlem South’s population, 26 percent of New York City’s population, and 18 percent of New York State’s population.
- New York State reports an average of 1,919 new liver cancer cases per year.
The event is part of the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Think About the Link™ campaign to raise awareness of the link between certain viruses and cancer, including human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis B and hepatitis C. The Foundation, COPE and HCMSG encourage all Harlem residents to attend the event for a free hepatitis C screening.
- Jan Bresch, executive vice president & chief operating officer, Prevent Cancer Foundation
- Gloria Searson, executive director, COPE
- Ronni Marks, founder and executive director, Hepatitis C Mentor and Support Group, Inc.
- Donald Kotler, MD, Mt. Sinai Roosevelt Hospital
- Damaris Carriero, NP, clinical coordinator, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital
- Marlene Taylor-Ponterotto, C-PA, primary care provider, Montefiore Medical Center
- Amye Gumbinner, hepatitis C advocate
- Reed Vreeland, director of policy, Housing Works
- Carlos Rosario, hepatitis C organizer, VOCAL-NY
- Yvette James, director of care coordination, COPE
- Inez Dickens, 9th Council District member, New York City Council
- Ariel Castillo, 28th Precinct police officer, New York City Police Department
Monday, July 25, 2016, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Hep C University, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.:
COPE, 127 West 127th St., 3rd Floor Gym, New York, New York 10027
Hepatitis C Screenings and Health Fair, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.:
Plaza Harlem State Office Building, 163 West 125th Street, New York, NY 10027
Photo credit: steps of NYC court House