At Stanford University, the nonprofit Asian Liver Center’s Corporate Outreach and Programs Coordinator Mie-Na Srein is reaching out to corporations in the Silicon Valley area who have an Asian-American and Pacific Islander employee base of at least 20 percent, to ask them to participate in a recently launched corporate outreach program to fight against hepatitis B. The program consists of a five-step employer tool kit that integrates hepatitis B wellness tools and education into existing corporate wellness programs and ensures that company-sponsored healthcare includes not only prevention and treatment but also management for those employees found to be chronically infected with hepatitis B.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), individuals who are foreign-born or have foreign-born parents are much more likely to be infected with hepatitis B because of mother-to-child transmission, and one in 10 foreign-born Asian-Americans are chronically infected. WHO recommends that all at-risk individuals be tested and vaccinated, but many remain untested, unvaccinated, and uninformed. Approximately 40–65 percent of Asian-Americans have never been screened and close to two-thirds of foreign-born Asian-Americans who are infected with hepatitis B are unaware of their status. If the disease is left untreated, premature death can result from liver failure or liver cancer, causing fatalities in 25 percent of those infected.
California’s Santa Clara and San Francisco counties contain the two largest Asian-American and Pacific Islander populations in the United States, at 33 and 34 percent, respectively, according to the US Census Bureau. Sixteen years after it was established as a grass-roots campaign, the Asian Liver Center is working to reach more of the population hardest hit by this disease. Team HBV, an outreach arm of the Asian Liver Center, is a student-run grass-roots campaign at Stanford that addresses awareness, prevention, and treatment for hepatitis B as well. The chapter collaborates with the university’s Vaden Student Health Center to offer free hepatitis B screenings to students who may be at risk for the infection.