Faculty Awarded $1.5 Million Grant to Reduce Liver Disease Incidence

Portrait of Tony Yang
11/13/2019 13:17

Y. Tony Yang, Sc.D., LLM, M.P.H., along with a team of GW faculty, community partners and local health departments received a $1.5 million grant from the Office of Minority Health of the Department of Health and Human Services. The three-year project aims to evaluate and reduce the incidence of liver diseases attributable to the hepatitis B virus (HBV).

“HBV, responsible for half of the deaths from liver cancer and a third of the deaths from liver cirrhosis, is a hidden threat to public health and to patients themselves,” said Dr. Yang, a GW Nursing professor. “We need improved tools and strategies to prevent and treat it.” 

This integrated, multijurisdictional community coalition has the potential to make a dramatic impact on HBV testing, vaccination and treatment. The covered geographic area includes residents deemed most at risk for this disease, as identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The assembled project team is equipped to provide HBV health services, education and care outreach to all CDC-identified at-risk populations. 

“It's time to build capacity for HBV vaccination, testing, linkage to care services and surveillance to advance progress toward national hepatitis B elimination goals,” said Dr. Yang.

In addition to Dr. Yang, GW faculty working on the project include:

  • Sherrie Flynt Wallington, Ph.D., a GW Nursing assistant professor
  • Daisy Le, Ph.D., M.P.H., a GW Nursing assistant research professor
  • Irene Kuo, Ph.D., from Milken Institute School of Public Health
  • Eduardo Sotomayor, M.D., from the GW Cancer Center

This grant partnership is led by GW and is primarily supported by the Hepatitis B Initiative of Washington, D.C., as well as health departments in D.C., Maryland and Virginia and many other community partners and government entities.

Evaluation of this project will include compilation of population-based data from community-based program activities, surveillance data from D.C., Maryland and Virginia, and clinical electronic medical record data.