Hep Free NYC Research Committee Meeting Highlights

03-24-2021 (3 – 4:30 PM EST) via Zoom

In attendance: See below

Hep Free NYC Research Committee Goal: Create a network and foster collaboration among NYC hepatitis focused researchers.

Committee Chairs:
Ben Eckhardt, MD, NYU and Bellevue – Benjamin.Eckhardt@nyulangone.org
Shashi Kapadia, MD, Cornell – shk9078@med.cornell.edu

Hep Free NYC Research Committee Webpage and community research board for recruiting for studies or jobs. Please share any suggestions and share with those interested in posting/utilizing.

Current research projects review

  • Project highlight: Hep C & Racial and Ethnic Disparities with a national scope
  • Research Project of Interest: Mount Sinai is Seeking West African Immigrant Community participants for Hepatitis B Screening Survey. View flyer here in English and French.
    • Contact: Nyasha Makoni, Clinical Research Coordinator at Mount Sinai
    • Aim: to create a culturally competent education program that is comprehensive for the West African Immigrant Community

NYC Viral Hepatitis Elimination Plan update

  • All Hep Free NYC partners will receive these goals for feedback via survey.
    • NYS Hep C elimination plan is not yet released. NYC is including Hep B and NYC-population specific.
    • Drafted proposal for elimination planning work groups. Call for nominations for 1) writing group, 2) reviewer group.

Hep C Telemedicine Implementation during COVID study – project update

  • Telemedicine study-national Hep C provider survey evaluating their telemedicine experience. In funding/logistical process currently.
    • Telemedicine pilot- telemedicine services at syringe exchange programs for Hep C treatment. Majority of patients prefer a combination of telemedicine & in-person treatments.
    • Telemedicine project for youth services at syringe exchange programs-comfortable to get labs with their provider but faced barrier with sending patient to another lab via telemedicine treatment with new/unfamiliar providers.

Setting up collaborations between researchers & Community Based Organizations

  • Korean Community Services (KCS) expressed interest-any collaborations with hepatitis would be of interest and can work together to develop focus & research questions.

Recruitment for the Research Committee

  • Via social networks in the hepatitis community. Formal recruitment on hold.
  • Seeking Hep B researchers in our community
  • Inviting researchers to formally present their work at future committee meetings


1. Abigail Hunter, Clinical Program Manager, Vocal-NY, abigail@vocal-ny.org
2. Grace Kim, Health Educator, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, gkim@health.nyc.gov
3. James Spellman, Senior Medical Scientist, Gilead Science, james.spellman@gilead.com
4. Jeff Weiss, Program Director, Mount Sinai – Respectful & Equitable Access to Comprehensive Healthcare (REACH) Program, jeffrey.weiss@mountsinai.org
5. Jessie Schwartz, Clinical Coordinator (VHP), NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, jschwartz2@health.nyc.gov
6. Joyce Bwenyi, Mount Sinai Hospital, joyce.bwenyi@mssm.edu
7. Justin Chan, Infectious Disease Physician, Clinician Educator, NYC Health + Hospitals/Correctional Health Services, chanj15@nychhc.org
8. Marie Bresnahan, Director of Training, Policy and Administration, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, mbresnahan@health.nyc.gov
9. Meryl Elian, Gilead Science, meryl.elian@gilead.com
10. Nirah Johnson, Capacity Building Director, Viral Hepatitis Program, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, njohnso2@health.nyc.gov
11. Nyasha Makoni, Clinical Research Coordinator, Mount Sinai Health System, nyashadzashe.makoni@mountsinai.org
12. Okhyun Ko, Patient Navigator, Korean Community Services, oko@kcsny.org
13. Sarah Ahmed, Communications and Community Engagement Coordinator, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, sahmed10@health.nyc.gov
14. Shashi Kapadia, Instructor in Medicine/ Infectious Diseases, New York-Presbyterian – Weill Cornell Medicine, shk9078@med.cornell.edu
15. Victoria Foster, Manager, NYU School of Medicine – Division of Epidemiology Department of Population Health, victoria.foster@nyulangone.or

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