UTHSC Researcher Receives $50K for Hepatitis C Virus Education/Community Awareness Program in African-American Community

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Dr. Patricia Matthews Juarez and her research team will be able to conduct a provider education and community awareness program about Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) in the African-American community, thanks to a $50,000 grant from Gilead Sciences, Inc. Data has shown that African- Americans have the highest mortality rate from the disease.
Dr. Patricia Matthews Juarez and her research team will be able to conduct a provider education and community awareness program about Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) in the African-American community, thanks to a $50,000 grant from Gilead Sciences, Inc. Data has shown that African- Americans have the highest mortality rate from the disease.

Patricia Matthews-Juarez, PhD, co-director of the Research Center on Health Disparities, Equity, and the Exposome and professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), has received a grant totaling $50,000 from Gilead Sciences, Inc. The one-year grant will be used to conduct a provider education and community awareness program about Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) in the African-American community.

The award will be used to support a project titled, “Test, Listen, Cure” (TLC) Hepatitis C Community Awareness Campaign.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012 data shows that African-Americans had the highest mortality rates from HCV in the United States from 2004 to 2008, at 6.5 to 7.8 deaths per 100,000 persons. African-Americans died from HCV 74.6 percent more often than did whites based on their representation in the overall population (Armstrong 2006). It was also concluded that black-white disparities in HCV treatment outcomes may lead to the progression of liver disease and/or primary liver cancer in any African-Americans diagnosed with HCV. These conclusions have implications for population, which include poor individual health outcomes for African-Americans and increased hospital services and costs at the community level.

To address HCV in the Mid-South and to implement the project, Dr. Matthews- Juarez and her research team will recruit and train 300 health care providers from Memphis and the surrounding areas (Northern Mississippi and East Arkansas). Their objectives will be to develop and implement a health education and promotion campaign to increase community awareness about Hepatitis C; provide culturally sensitive up-to-date provider and community education on Hepatitis C screening and treatment; and provide continuing professional education on Hepatitis C screening and treatment to health care providers in the community.  It is anticipated that 5.5 continuing medical education professional credits will be offered for attending training sessions.

Dr. Matthews-Juarez will serve as principal investigator for the project. Other participants will be Wilbert Jordan, MD, MPH, a nationally recognized authority on HIV and HCV and director of the Oasis Clinic in Los Angeles, California, John Norwood, MD, Marye Bernard, DNP, and Marshe Turner, FNP, nationally recognized HIV/AIDS specialists at the HIV Clinic at Regional One Health in Memphis, Freida Outlaw, PhD, consulting Clinical Nurse, and Gwendolyn Brown, oncologist social worker.

“Our intent is to develop training sessions that will provide culturally sensitive and health literate information about the HCV prevalence and incidence in the African-American community.” said Dr. Matthews-Juarez.

Discussion will also be provided on some of the HCV risk factors that are associated with “place” (where one lives, works, and plays), social determinants (income, education, poverty, incarceration, etc.), and community assets (access to primary care health services  for screening and treatment in the community).”

Gilead Sciences is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative therapeutics in areas of unmet medical need. The company’s mission is to advance the care of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases worldwide. Headquartered in Foster City, Calif., Gilead has operations in North and South America, Europe and Asia Pacific. For more information, visit www.gilead.com.