I started the effort to get National Hepatitis Testing Day proclaimed in Kentucky by searching the Governor’s website for information about requesting a proclamation. Like in many states, information and instructions are readily available, including the fact that it takes at least 30 days to process a request. Ahead of World Hepatitis Day on July 28, I encourage everyone to review proclamation requirements in your state and submit a request for a proclamation.

NVHR recently published a toolkit to help advocates understand the process of requesting a government proclamation to raise awareness of viral hepatitis. In the blog below, hepatitis advocate Debra Graner shares her experience with receiving a proclamation in honor of National Hepatitis Testing Day (May 19) in Kentucky.

Kentucky is continuing to suffer from high rates of viral hepatitis – especially hepatitis C – as rates continue rising due to the opioid use epidemic. But information and resources are not readily available to patients in the state, and there is a general lack of awareness about the extent of this epidemic. After I was treated for hepatitis C in 2019, I was determined to change that and help raise awareness of viral hepatitis in Kentucky.

A critical component to raising awareness of an issue is getting our elected officials to recognize the issue. One way to get formal recognition is through gubernatorial proclamations. In Kentucky, gubernatorial proclamations serve to honor or celebrate specific events or milestones or serve to raise awareness of noteworthy issues among Kentuckians. While the proclamations are purely honorary and not legally binding, they are tracked in the Executive Journal by Kentucky’s Secretary of State.

I started the effort to get National Hepatitis Testing Day proclaimed in Kentucky by searching the Governor’s website for information about requesting a proclamation. Like in many states, information and instructions are readily available, including the fact that it takes at least 30 days to process a request. While figuring out how to submit a proclamation request was not hard, determining what to include in the request was more challenging.

If advocates are going to request a proclamation for National Hepatitis Testing Day, Hepatitis Awareness Month, World Hepatitis Day, and other hepatitis milestones, it’s important to highlight the key facts about the impact of viral hepatitis, especially in your state or local community. While advocates may know the exact statistics to reference, NVHR can help provide additional information and format the information in “Whereas” clause format, which is necessary for most proclamations. I would also recommend that advocates refer to NVHR’s Proclamation Toolkit for sample language and examples of previous proclamations as this will help expedite the creation of a proclamation for your state.

After reaching out to NVHR for updated statistics and information, I was very proud to submit and receive a proclamation for National Hepatitis Testing Day for May 19, 2021. The process was simple and straight forward, and I’ve been able to share this accomplishment not just with fellow advocates, but also with officials at state and local public health departments to raise awareness of the impact of viral hepatitis with key decisionmakers.

Ahead of World Hepatitis Day on July 28, I encourage everyone to review proclamation requirements in your state and submit a request for a proclamation. You can reference NVHR’s Proclamation Toolkit and reach out to info@nvhr.org for help if needed. NVHR is tracking state and local proclamations, so don’t forget to share if you get a proclamation passed in your state!