Hep Free NYC Research Committee Meeting Highlights

06-16-2021 (3 – 4:45 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

Feedback on Hep Elimination Goals Survey

  • Where to find data for Elimination Goals:
    • NYC DOHMH has program data from organizations we contract with
    • We may be able to access data from Medicaid which will have race and ethnicity data but will not have information about country of origin.
  • Overall goal for Hep B and C:
    • Will want to look for Hep B viral suppression. We have negative hepatitis B DNA results and can use those results to look at viral suppression by age group.
    • To eliminate Hep C, we will use negative RNA tests but our cure definition might need to change since monitoring guidelines during treatment have changed (fewer RNA tests during treatment).

Review of Stakeholder Survey Data (15 minutes)

  • View presentation here
  • What has to change in order to reach NYC hepatitis C goals?
    • Summary information on 66 respondents:
      • Experienced group with an average of 8.4 years working in hepatitis
      • Half work on both hep B and C
      • Diverse work settings including clinical practices and community-based organizations
      • Diverse race/ethnicity and gender demographics
    • Ranking questions:
      • Strategies awareness & education
        • Develop public awareness campaigns promoting access to affordable and accessible hepatitis testing and treatment
        • Awareness – build capacity of CBO non-clinical workforce, content, dissemination
        • Many comments received on expanded  testing: having universal testing vs. evaluating the cost-effectiveness of universal testing
      • Testing strategies:
        • 36.4% advocate for universal hep B screening recommendation and reimbursement
        • A lot of ideas on how to expand testing more facilities where RNA testing can happen, universal testing in most healthcare settings, educating PCPs in immigrant communities about the importance of testing, increasing funding for testing to match the guideline
      • Healthcare navigation strategies:
        • Ranked #1 – expand hepatitis navigation programs and agencies where people at risk seek care or services
      • Clinical care & treatment strategies:
        • Advocate to remove all hepatitis treatment prior authorization requirements in NYS
        • Support clinical care – promote harm reduction and trauma-informed approaches for clinical & nonclinical approaches.
      • Health department (surveillance) strategies:
        • Consider pairing hep B & C testing with COVID-19 testing while we are in this pandemic
        • Legal regulations in place that limit data. For example, detainees in correctional facilities need to provide consent to receive outreach for DOHMH hepatitis C linkage to care.
        • Any legal regulations for non-incarcerated people in general outreach?
          • HIV already reaches out to those who are co-infected.
          • Mono-infected with Hep C individuals there is no legal barrier, but it is very challenging (no phone # or can’t reach the person).
        • Create a status-neutral prevention treatment continuum for hep B & C similar to HNS (HIV Navigation Services)

Getting Specific: Brainstorming Activity (30 minutes)

Recruitment for the Research Committee

  • Engaging hepatitis B & C researchers by expanding contact list
  • Bring in specific researchers to provide feedback on specific issues on Elimination Plan
  • Next Steps:
    • Lina to synthesize feedback and develop draft Elimination Plan
    • Will share plan in September
    • Reach out to Justin and Matt on specific micro-elimination plans for specific populations (e.g. incarcerated, PWID)
    • Invite people from H+H? Columbia?
      • Re: Hep C-where does Hep C research end? How much does it overlap of healthcare of people who inject drugs and engaging those people? Researchers we partner with should be asking these questions.
      • There are fewer Hep B researchers
  • Plan by mid-July a list of potential new members with a description of committee goals. Shashi will follow up via email on how big of a group we would like to disseminate to before our September meeting.

Go to the Hep Free NYC Research Committee Webpage and community research board to recruit for studies or to post jobs.


  1. Angelica Bocour, Viral Hepatitis Surveillance Director, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, abocour@health.nyc.gov
  2. Benjamin Eckhardt, Infectious Diseases Fellow, New York-Presbyterian – Weill Cornell Medical Center, eckhardt@nyumc.org
  3. Brianna Norton, Medical Director, New York Harm Reduction Educators, bnorton@montefiore.org
  4. Grace Kim, Health Educator, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, gkim@health.nyc.gov
  5. Lina Cherfas, Evaluation Consultant, A Good Question, lina@agoodquestion.net
  6. Pedro Mateu-Gelabert, CUNY School of Public Health, mateu-gelabert@sph.cuny.edu
  7. Sarah Ahmed, Communications and Community Engagement Coordinator, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, sahmed10@health.nyc.gov
  8. Shashi Kapadia, Instructor in Medicine/ Infectious Diseases, New York-Presbyterian – Weill Cornell Medicine, shk9078@med.cornell.edu
  9. Yi-Ling Tan, Program Manager, NYU Langone – NYU Hospitals Center, yi-ling.tan@nyulangone.org

Last Updated on August 16, 2021 by HepFree NYC

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