National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable Advisory Committee

 
 
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The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable is committed to advocating for viral hepatitis elimination in the U.S. that prioritizes disproportionately impacted communities, in alignment with HEP’s mission & vision.  To this end, and in recognition of the importance of member oversight and input, NVHR has formed the below advisory committee comprised of eight individuals who have demonstrated commitment to health equity, harm reduction, and inclusivity. The advisement of these experts with direct personal or professional experience will inform the efforts and strategic decisions of NVHR.

Alicia SuarezAlicia Suarez, PhD is a professor and medical sociologist at DePauw University. Her previous research focused on the lived experiences of people with HCV. She specifically looked at issues of disclosure, stigma, and knowledge of the virus. She served on the steering committee for NVHR for many years as well as the President of the Board of the Indiana Recovery Alliance. In addition, she had HCV for 20 years before being cured in 2015.

 

 

Bright AnsahBright Ansah lives in Mount Airy, Maryland. He was born and raised in Ghana and emigrated to the US in 2007. He is a student at UMBC, majoring in Social Work and Sociology. He volunteers with HBI-DC to do community hepatitis B education, screening, and awareness in the Washington, DC metropolitan region. He also volunteers with the Hepatitis B Foundation. Through his volunteering, he helps educate and raise awareness about hepatitis B virus by sharing his experience as someone living with chronic hepatitis B. Hepatitis B has impacted his life and that of his family in a huge way; and he is working and partnering with organizations so he can prevent other families from suffering the same ordeals as his family has. When he is not busy studying, he enjoys catching up with friends and family, watching sports, and volunteering with the Meals on Wheels program.

 

Jessica EntoJessica Ento lives in the Bay Area and is a hepatitis C survivor. As an NVHR Patient Advocate she has shared her story to raise awareness about the impact of hepatitis C and the elevate the topic of vertical transmission. Having lost her mother to hepatitis C and having dealt with barriers to treatment herself, Jess is passionate about ensuring that all persons know their status and gain access to care. She is a social media expert and has trained patients and survivors on the use of digital platforms to elevate and amplify their stories. 

 

Jessica LestonJessica Leston is the Clinical Programs Director the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB) where she focuses on systems and policy change. She began her public health career working at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in 2004 and has worked in tribal health since then. She believes strongly in learning from traditional indigenous ways of knowing to help guide, direct and strengthen our public health systems. Her mother’s side of her family are settlers to Turtle Island, originally from Germany, Sweden and Ireland. Her Father’s side of the family is originally from Austria, Finland and Tsimshian from British Columbia/Southeast Alaska. She grew up in Chicago but spent many summers in Southeast Alaska with her Grandmother’s family – climbing Deer Mountain, picking huckleberries around Ward Lake and watching the salmon make their way to the Ketchikan Creek Falls. In her life and work, she honors the Alutiiq cultural value, “we are responsible for each other and ourselves.”

 

Navin Vij, MD, MSHPNavin Vij, MD, MSHP is a Physician Scientist in the Value Institute and an Academic Hospitalist at ChristianaCare. He focuses on improving health outcomes for vulnerable populations through health system and community-based interventions addressing social determinants. Formerly, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar and performed research on the intersection of the opioid epidemic and secondary infectious complications, particularly hepatitis C. During his medical training he co-founded the Baker Institute for Public Policy Student Forum and interned on various health policy issues in the British Parliament, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and with the Texas Program for Society and Health. Beyond his research and academic interests, Dr. Vij has also been an NVHR Patient advocate dedicated to improving the delivery of healthcare for patients. He is an NVHR Patient Advocate and currently serves as a Board Member for HepAware and the Caring Ambassadors Program. He is a co-founder of the Clinician Action Network and, in 2016, he was named a 40 Under 40 Leader in Health by the National Minority Quality Forum.

 

Nick VoylesNick Voyles is from Bloomington, Indiana and is Program Manager at the Indiana Recovery Alliance. He also works nationally with Urban Survivors Union on viral hepatitis elimination and medication assisted treatment reform. He is a proud Patient Advocate for NVHR and believes in Harm Reduction. Nick is hepatitis C (and interferon!) survivor, and his experience with intravenous drug use, incarceration, and homelessness fuel his advocacy. Radical Love and ‘Any Positive Change’ are the driving forces behind his work.

 

Rachel McLeanRachel McLean, MPH, is the Chief of the Office of Viral Hepatitis Prevention for the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), where she has worked since 2008. Previously, she worked in criminal justice policy for the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, California and the Council of State Governments Justice Center in New York, New York. While completing her Master of Public Health degree in Baltimore, she collaborated with Power Inside to complete a needs assessment among women in the Baltimore City jail. She also founded the Drug Overdose Prevention and Education (DOPE) Project and spent four years working with homeless youth in San Francisco. Her service for NVHR is advisory only; CDPH does not take public positions on or endorse any products, budgets, candidates, or legislation.

 

Robert Gish, MDRobert Gish, MD, is an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the University of Nevada Schools of Medicine in Las Vegas and in Reno. He serves as an Adjunct Professor of Pharmacy at Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at UCSD. In addition, he is also Medical Director of the Hepatitis B Foundation. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease, the American Society of Transplantation, and the American College of Physicians. He has served on the editorial boards of several Gastroenterology and Hepatology journals and has co-authored public health policies several countries, including Vietnam, Georgia, Armenia, and the Philippines. He was a major early contributor to decipherment methods for the detection of hepatitis B and C virus and characterizing its epidemiology and clinical presentation in humans. He was involved in studies that led to the genotypic classification strategies and methods now in use worldwide. He has published more than 700 original articles, review articles, abstracts, and book chapters.