By Lyle Dennis, Cavarocchi – Ruscio – Dennis Associates, Consultants to AASLD
It seems like only yesterday that AASLD members descended on Washington DC to participate in The Liver Meeting® in 2017. Of course, it was nearly a year ago and now work is well underway for the 2018 version in San Francisco in November. As all members know, there is no shortage of meetings to attend at this event, but I wanted to bring to your attention to one that will be a little different than most.
As everyone knows, enormous scientific progress has been made toward the elimination of viral hepatitis. There is a highly effective vaccine against hepatitis B and a cure for hepatitis C. The issue moving forward is less about science and more about strengthening relevant public policies and solidifying the political will that would be needed to reach the goal of elimination. This session will be designed to address this issue in the United States from the speakers’ various perspectives, with some comparison to global efforts.
The title of the session is the title of this article: The Elimination of Viral Hepatitis: What Are the Policy Issues? The session will be held on Monday, November 12 at 12:30 pm in the Convention Center. The exact location will be in your program. Moderated by the Chair of the Public and Clinical Policy Committee, Dr. Rohit Satoskar of Georgetown, the scheduled presenters will be:
- Vanila Singh, MD, MACM, Chief Medical Officer, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health, Department of Health and Human Services
- Su Wang, MD, MPH, FACP, Medical Director, Center for Asian Health at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in New Jersey
- Timothy Morgan, MD, Chief of Hepatology, VA Long Beach Health Care System
- Nick Walsh, MD, PhD, Regional Advisor, Viral Hepatitis, Pan American Health Organization
All four speakers will bring their unique perspectives to the question suggested above. What will it take to actually move from where we are today to the elimination of viral hepatitis? It promises to be an interesting and informative, future-looking program and we hope that you will be able to attend.
UPDATE: We have written frequently in this space about the importance of advocacy in helping AASLD members to attain their goals for research, finding cures and treatments and improving the lives of their patients.
As this is being written, the House of Representatives just gave final passage to the FY19 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations bill, which will now be sent on to the White House for the expected signature. The bill includes a $2.0 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health, meaning that in four years NIH funding has grown from $30.1 billion to $39.1 billion. In addition, another appropriations bill signed into law last week increased the VA’s Medical and Prosthetics Research account from $722 million to $779 million.
This has been a banner year for funding medical research and AASLD has been in the thick of the fight to enact these important increases.