HBI-DC organizes free education, screening and vaccination events in collaboration with a faith-based community organization in Washington DC, targeting a high-risk group of Vietnamese Americans.
HBI-DC embarks on coalition building with leaders of African newcomer communities to expand outreach and also begins to develop culturally and linguistically sensitive materials.
NPR Tell Me More program features Dr. Jennifer Lee, Chair of HBI-DC Board, and Leslie Hsu Oh, co-founder of HBI-DC and HBI-Boston.
HBI-DC organizes free education, screening and vaccination events in collaboration with faith-based community organizations in Columbia MD and Washington DC, targeting high-risk groups of Chinese Americans, Korean Americans, Black Americans, and African newcomers.
HBI-DC establishes a partnership with the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services to provide practicum opportunities.
HBI-DC Executive Director co-chairs the newly established Hep B-Free DC Network. The purpose of this network is (1) to provide a forum for the exchange of information about Hepatitis B-related medical care, screening, vaccination, education, and other services by representatives of those providers, and (2) to promote collaboration between medical practitioners, health care providers, public health professionals, researchers, and community health advocates providing Hepatitis B-related services to communities in the District of Columbia metropolitan area (Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland).
HBI-DC publishes “Public Health Model for Prevention of Liver Cancer Among Asian Americans” in Journal of Community Health. “During 2003–2006, a total of 1,775 persons were tested for HBV infection through the HBI-DC program. Of all the participants, 2% (n = 35) were tested HBV positive (HbsAg+, HbsAb − ), 37% (n = 651) were HBV negative but protected (HbsAg − , HbsAb+), and 61% (n = 1089) were unprotected (HbsAg − , HbsAb − ). About 79% completed 3-shot vaccine series.” This study was supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health, Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, Gilead Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline, Hepatitis Foundation International, Inova Health System Foundation, Inova’s Congregational Health Partnership, and the Inova Reference Laboratory, and Merck & Co., Inc.
In response to a request brought forth by the HBI-Boston, Governor Deval Patrick proclaims May 19th, 2008 to be MA Hepatitis Awareness Day.
In partnership with the Office of Minority Health, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations and the Asian Pacific Islander Health Forum, HBI-DC creates a toolkit for faith-based organizations to raise awareness about hepatitis B.
HBI-Boston organizes the first hepatitis B and liver cancer run/walk on the East Coast in conjunction with the Asian Liver Center (ALC) at Stanford University and the Answer to Cancer Foundation (A2C)! The tremendously successful USATF-sanctioned and certified, timed road-race took place on April 28, 2007 and had more than 350 runners and raised over $21,000 for hepatitis B screenings and vaccinations.
HBI-DC attains nonprofit 501(c)(3) status and builds stronger coalitions. HBI-DC establishes a partnership with the Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Health, Behavior, and Society.
HBI-DC launches national outreach to Asian American pastors. Screenings and vaccinations continue with local Korean and Chinese churches.
HBI-Boston sets up a third clinic site at the Dorchester House Multi-Service Center in order to better serve the Dorchester’s Vietnamese-American population. At the same time, HBI-Boston significantly increases its outreach efforts in the Vietnamese-American community.
Under new leadership, HBI-DC is incorporated as the Hepatitis B Initiative of Washington D.C. Inc. HBI-DC initiates critical work according to the four-year strategic plan.
HBI-DC assists seven Korean churches in the DC, MD, and VA area with setting up hepatitis B education, free screening, and vaccination events. HBI-DC also launched a pilot program for developing a faith-based model for Chinese communities.
2004HBI-DC hosts the first Pastor's Luncheon for Korean pastors in the DC metro area to brainstorm ways of addressing hepatitis B prevention in their congregations. HBI-DC celebrates API Heritage Month and Hepatitis Awareness Month with an educational seminar in English and Korean and a focus group to review existing national Korean language materials for hepatitis B. Hsu speaks at Hepatitis B Foundation and Bristol-Myers Squibb "AIM for the B" educational forum. HBI is being taught as a case study in Harvard Medical School's Physician in Community Spring 2004 course.
The name of the organization was shortened from The Hepatitis B Education and Prevention in Boston Initiative to The Hepatitis B Initiative (HBI). Leslie Hsu and husband, Thomas Oh, launches faith-based hepatitis B initiative in DC metro area. Hsu testifies in front of President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Here is a copy of her testimony. Hsu is also nominated as Northeast Regional Director of the National Taskforce on Hepatitis B: Focus on Asians and Pacific Islanders and Board member of the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable.
To celebrate HBI's fifth anniversary a retreat was organized in October, where co-founder Leslie Hsu and many former HBI student leaders and advisors gathered to discuss the future of HBI. One product of the retreat was a Reorganization Steering Committee, which was formed to assist with continuity issues of the organization. Subway ad campaign was designed.
Sharewood clinic was relocated to Malden, Massachusetts. Outreach events were held at the DragonBoat Festival and Autumn Moon Festival. Begin discussions to expand to Dorchester, Massachusetts, chaperoning several groups of Vietnamese patients from Dorchester to Chinatown in the meantime.
Improved services at South Cove Community Health Center and Sharewood by instituting full panel screenings. Began outreach to providers by creating packets for Chinese and Vietnamese doctors. Results from patient surveys indicate that word of mouth recommendation is the best outreach method.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (at that time known as Health Care Financing Administration) threw a kick off event on March 30 at South Cove Community Health Center. An Advisory Board was set up of leaders from the community, faculty, and representatives of the Department of Health. This web site was launched. A video about HBI was created and featured on the Surgeon General's web site as a model program.
In January, the mass media campaign was launched in Boston Chinatown. A Toll-free line was setup. Community leaders walked us through Chinatown putting up posters and brochures, information kits for local newspapers and schools, talks at neighborhood council meetings, skits performed at health fairs, and appearances on local radio talk shows. A "big sibling" program was set up so that patients were paired with students who could provide one-on-one hepatitis B education. Incentives were offered to encourage patients to return for follow-up visits. Volunteer manuals were developed as the program expanded and new students became involved.
Leslie D. Hsu who was a first year student at Harvard School of Public Health and Michael K. Tran who was a first year student at Harvard Medical School founded The Hepatitis B Education and Prevention in Boston Initiative (HEP B Initiative). They recruited students from other professional schools in the area and organized them into four teams.
The needs assessment team interviewed local community, medical, and government leaders, met with faculty advisors, conducted surveys of AAPI youth at local health fairs, researched model vaccination programs, and identified key business, government, and foundation contacts for resource development.
The clinic team began discussions with South Cove Community Health Center and Sharewood Health Clinic, as possible screening/vaccination sites. Beth Irael-Deaconess Medical Center donated 400 hepatitis B screenings and Merck & Co. donated 600 doses of hepatitis B vaccines.
The outreach team worked with the community to develop storefront posters and brochures in Chinese, English, and Vietnamese. The resource team worked on getting funding and in-kind donations like Ben and Jerry's free ice cream coupons or McDonald's coupons that we could offer those that came in for their screenings.
LESLIE HSU OH is founder of The Hepatitis B Initiative in Boston and DC/MD/VA. When her brother, John, was seventeen years old, he suddenly experienced severe pain in his abdomen. A few days later, the doctor informed them that John had liver cancer and that both he and their mother had hepatitis B. John died shortly after his eighteenth birthday.
Leslie and her mother, Auxilia, come from a long line of artists, so in the days that followed John's death, words were the only way they could make meaning out of what happened. A week later, Auxilia was diagnosed with liver cancer. She decided to finish writing her book about John's battle with cancer and keep her disease a secret. A few weeks before Leslie's twenty-first birthday, Auxilia died mostly alone since she did not want others to know about her condition.
Fueled by her grief, Leslie founded several organizations; one of them survives today as The Hepatitis B Initiative. HBI began in Boston in 1997 when Leslie was a student at Harvard School of Public Health. In 2002, Leslie and her husband, Thomas Oh, expanded HBI to the DC area.
In addition, she has served as Federal Liaison to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; Northeast Regional Director of the National Task Force on Hepatitis B: Focus on Asians and Pacific Islanders; Program Chair for the American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian Caucus of the American Public Health Association; Membership Chair for the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus of the American Public Health Association; and Board of Directors member of the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable. She also designed user-centered web sites specifically for special populations for the Alaska Native Science Commission and healthfinder® for the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Surgeon General's web site.
She received a master’s degree in Health Communications from Harvard School of Public Health and a MFA in Creative Writing from University of Alaska Anchorage. She is the recipient of the Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Award; the first Julius B. Richmond Young Leader in Public Health Award for outstanding dedication to the health and well being of the community and demonstration of initiative and advocacy in public health; the first National Award for Excellence in Public Health Leadership; the Sun Memorial Award for exemplifying a commitment to improving the health and well being of people in underserved populations; and the Schweitzer Award for reverence for life. She is also a Fellow for Life with the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.
In their advocacy, Thomas and Leslie discovered that silence is hepatitis B's power. Hepatitis B thrives under a cloak of stigma, where most chronic hepatitis B carriers like Auxilia prefer to be silent about their condition, thus unknowingly spreading misinformation and perpetuating unnecessary fear.
Leslie was surprised that her mother never mentioned hepatitis B or her illness in A Whale of a Boy, her book about Jon-Jon's battle against cancer, which was published in 1995 and reprinted in 2010.
Her omission empowered Leslie and Thomas to dedicate their lives to rooting out this silent killer.
Leslie said, "An Alaskan Native Elder once told me that it's important to examine the motivation behind silence. If it is based on fears, usually of death or stigma, then the silence comes from a dysfunctional place. We live in a defensive society, one that teaches us to be private, internalize negativity and swallow our emotions. It takes courage to cry in public. But when you do, it can heal others."
Pregnant with Kyra, Leslie started writing again. She realized that all her life she had been raised by elders instructing her to: “Save face,” “Act as if it never happened,” “Better not to talk about it.” Before Ethan was born, Leslie finished her MFA by writing a memoir about the years that followed MaMa and Jon-Jon's death. She was surprised that she wrote about breaking silence by openly discussing hepatitis B and telling a secret of her own. She hopes that her story brings courage to others who are fighting hepatitis B. See www.lesliehsuoh.com.
THOMAS OH is founder of The Hepatitis B Initiative in DC/MD/VA. Seeing the devastating impact of hepatitis B on family and friends as well as being passionate about disease prevention and health promotion, Thomas is deeply committed to raising awareness about hepatitis B.
Thomas said, "If you show the world that we can end this disease, you will unleash the energy and the caring and the commitment we need to meet that goal. So keep on fighting, and never lose heart when things go wrong. This is a tough time for nonprofits and we need your support to continue our fight. We're not done, and we will not stop working, until hepatitis B is eradicated."
He received a MPH in Environmental Occupational Health from George Washington University. He is a Certified Industrial Hygienist. In addition, he served as Program Chair for the American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian Caucus of the American Public Health Association.