NOhep Medical professional Visionaries

Are you a medical professional working in the field of hepatitis and are taking actions to eliminate this global killer? If so, we invite you to join other medical professionals from across the world who have committed to taking actions to accelerate this goal.

Dr Fernando Bessone

Hepatólogo y ex presidente de la Asociación Argentina para el Estudio de les Enfermedades del Hígado (AAEEH)
Argentina
What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?
It mean the end of a pandemic era suffered by earth which has left thousands of people dead. Largely, these deaths could have be avoided if there were more awareness around the world.

Dr Bessone is a Full Professor of Gastroenterology at the University of Rosario Medical School (Argentina), and the Chief of the Gastroenterology and Hepatology department at the Hospital Provincial del Centenario from University of Rosario School of Medicine.  He also belong to the teaching staff of the postgraduate career in Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of Rosario Medical School. He is a Past-president of the Argentinian Association for Study of Liver Diseases (AAEEH) and  Ex-Director of the Argentinian Journal of Hepatology. He earned his medical degree from the Rosario Medical School, and a Gastroenterology specialization from the Medical College of Rosario (Argentina).  He is also specialist in Hepatology ( title given by the Argentinian Ministery of Health and the AAEEH). He has conducted a residency in Gastroenterology at the Hospital Provincial del Centenario, University of Rosario Medical School, as well as several fellowships in Clinical Hepatology, Liver Pathology (Hospital de Clinicas, San Pablo-Brazil), Pediatric Hepatology (Hospital da Criança, San Pablo-Brasil), Liver Transplantation and Clinical Hepatology, (Hospital Clinic y Provincial de Barcelona, Spain). He has participated as a principal investigator or co-investigator in more than 50 clinical trials. He has been invited as a guest professor in several foreign Universities, and has received 7 academic awards (to the best research work) from different societies. His main research areas include hepatotoxicity and viral hepatitis. He is a coordinator of the Spanish – Latin American registry of hepatotoxicity (SLATIN DILI) in Latinamerica and he is also a member of the International group for the study of herbal hepatotoxicity. Expert panel and guidelines on alcoholic liver disease (in preparation). Director of Argentinian course on ¨Addictions in Medicine¨

He is currently a Member of the Expert Committee on viral hepatitis from the Argentinian Association for the study of the Liver (AAEEH) and he serves on the Expert Panel to carry out Guidelines and Recommendations on viral hepatitis from the Latin American Association of Hepatology (ALEH)

He is also a reviewer from several journals and a member of the editorial Board of World Journal of Hepatology, Annals of Hepatology, Current Drug Safety and Clinical and Molecular Hepatology and co-editor of Current Hepatology Report. He is an author of more than 60 published papers, 25 chapters in books, and more than 120 papers presented at meetings. He is also a member of several national and international liver societies, including ALEH, EASL and the AASLD.

Q&A with Dr Fernando Bessone

What are you doing to eliminate viral hepatitis?

We are carrying out a population-based HCV screening campaign using HCV rapid test in our city at this moment. Rosario has a population of 1.5 million inhabitants with a low prevalence rate of HCV (0.6-1%)

In your opinion, what is needed to accelerate the elimination viral hepatitis?

Unfortunately, we continue to see patients living with hepatitis C with advanced liver disease and associated with severe complications often out of therapeutic options.

How can medical professionals and patients work together to eliminate viral hepatitis?

Collaboration is key to carrying out massive campaigns of diffusion and detection of HCV

Dr Timothy M. Block Ph.D.

Co-Founder and President, Hepatitis B Foundation; President and Director, Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, USA
United States
What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?
It has personal meaning as well enormous, historic, public health implications

Dr. Timothy Block is President and Co-Founder of the Hepatitis B Foundation (HBF), which created the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute in 2003 to fulfill its research mission, which is to improve the lives of those affected by hepatitis B and liver cancer.  Its cause is a cure. The Institute was renamed to honor the late Dr. Baruch S. Blumberg who won the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the hepatitis B virus and helped establish the HBF. In 2006, the HBF established the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County to expand its research capabilities.  He is also Adjunct Professor, University of Pennsylvania, Wistar Institute, Drexel Univerisity, and Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine.

Dr. Block has been involved in viral hepatitis research for more than 30 years and is internationally recognized for his outstanding scholarship and scientific contributions. He received an honorary Medical Degree from the Bulgarian National Academies, was named judges’ choice CEO of the Year in the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Inaugural Life Sciences Awards (2010), and named one of 100 Most Inspiring People in the Life-Sciences Industry in 2011 by PharmaVoice Magazine.

In 2009, Dr. Block was named an Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has served on several National Institutes of Health (NIH) study sections; elected Fellow, International Union Against Cancer and of the Glycobiology Institute of the University of Oxford; is co-inventor of new methods to detect liver cancer and experimental drugs, in clinical trials, for managing chronic hepatitis B, has co-authored more than 240 publications, has been continuously funded by the NIH for the past 30 years, primarily as a principal investigator; and recipient of awards and patents for his scientific achievements. In April 2007, he was awarded the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Humanitarian Award by the Bucks Chamber of Commerce for his work with the Hepatitis B Foundation. Dr. Block received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the State University of New York Buffalo, and completed his post-doctoral training at Princeton University.

Q&A with Dr Timothy M. Block Ph.D.

What are you doing to eliminate viral hepatitis?

As a scientist, I am working on new treatments for HBV and liver cancer, and new ways to detect liver cancer early. As an advocate, I have co-founded, and am President of, 3 non profit organizations dedicated to outreach, patient counseling and advocacy for those affected by HBV (The Hepatitis B Foundation); translational research to discover new HBV, HCV and liver cancer medicines and diagnostics (The Baruch S Blumberg Foundation), and a Biotechnology Business Start up incubator , owned by the HBF, to nurture spin out companies from scientists, to help expand the Blum berg Institutes research community and accelerate new technology development (The Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center), which has been home to several new companies dedicated to HBV and liver diseases (Oncore, Arbutus, Novira, Synergy, Enantigen, JBS Sciences, Forge, PMV)

In your opinion, what is needed to accelerate the elimination viral hepatitis?

Elimination should include not just eradication through prevention, but elimination of the current suffering of those with the disease. Therefore, prophylactic vaccines are needed for prevention and curative therapies are needed for management and relief of individuals currently affected. Vaccines for HBV are available; curative medicines are available for HCV. So, curative medicines are needed for HBV and vaccines are needed for HCV. And, then, mechanisms to deliver these resources and care to the appropriate populations is needed.

Dr Raymond T. Chung, MD

Massachusetts General Hospital Boston
MA, United States

Dr Eduardo Fassio

Jefe del Servicio de Gastroenterología y hepatología del Hospital
Argentina

Dr Jordan Feld, MD, MPH

Scientist,
Toronto General Hospital Research Institute (TGHRI), Canada
Ontario, Canada

Dr. Feld graduated from medical school at the University of Toronto in 1997 and then completed residency programs in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. Following his clinical training, Dr. Feld focused on developing skills in clinical and laboratory research in liver disease, with a particular interest in viral hepatitis. He completed a clinical research fellowship in hepatology and then spent 4 years doing clinical and laboratory research in the Liver Diseases Branch of the National Institutes of Health. He received a Masters of Public Health with a focus on Infectious Diseases as a Sommer Scholar from Johns Hopkins University and has worked extensively abroad, maintaining a strong interest in International Health. Currently, Dr. Feld is clinician-scientist based at the Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Centre for Liver Disease and the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health.

Dr Michael W. Fried, MD

Professor of Medicine and Director of Hepatology
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill
NC, United States

Dr Adrian Gadano

Hospital Italiano, Dra. Claudia Vujacich (SADI)
Argentina

Dr Camilla S. Graham, MD, MPH

Co-Director, Viral Hepatitis Center, Division of Infectious Disease
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Camilla Graham, MD, MPH was an AIDS activist (ACT UP Boston) in the 1980’s before going to medical school. She trained in infectious disease at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA and remains at BIDMC as a faculty member and Co-Director of the Viral Hepatitis Center in ID.  She trains fellows in HIV and viral hepatitis, provides care, and teaches at Harvard Medical School. Her main interest is in how to use technology to make the care of people living with hepatitis B or C easier. She implemented a HCV 1945-1965 birth cohort prompt with medical education support in the BIDMC electronic medical record system and an HBV order set that includes HBsAg, anti-HBc and anti-HBs to fully characterize the HBV interventions patients need.  Dr. Graham worked at Vertex Pharmaceuticals for five years and as the Head of Global Medical Affairs she worked with government agencies and payers on understanding the value of curing hepatitis C. She now works with Trek Therapeutics, PBC on developing affordable drugs for infectious diseases.

 

Q&A with Dr Camilla S. Graham, MD, MPH

What are you doing to eliminate viral hepatitis?

I try to identify all the ways patients with viral hepatitis slip through the cracks of our medical system and how to provide support to busy doctors so they give patients the care they need.

What is needed to accelerate the elimination of viral hepatitis?

We first need to determine who is infected. Different countries have specific challenges but few countries have fully characterized how many people are infected with HBV or HCV or how to identify them.

What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?

People won’t die prematurely from infections that we can cure or control.

How can medical professionals and patients work together to eliminate viral hepatitis?

We need to reclaim the conversation about the value of treating HBV and HCV from those who want to characterize treatment as too expensive.

Dr Jessica Hwang MD, MPH

Associate Professor, Tenured
Department of General Internal Medicine, Division of Internal Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
United States

Dr Donald M. Jensen, MD

Department of Internal Medicine
Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, Rush Medical College
United States

Dr Andrew Joseph Muir, MD

Professor of Medicine; Chief, Division of Gastroenterology in the Department of Medicine Member in the Duke Clinical Research Institute
United States

Dr Brian McMahon MD

Liver Disease and Hepatitis Program; Alaska Native Medical Center
United States

Prof. Nahum Méndez-Sánchez

Médico especialista en Gastroenterología y Hepatología
Mexico
What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?
For me it is a permanent reduction to zero of the worldwide incidence of viral hepatitis as a result of deliberate efforts. It is necessary to identify interventions that have a high impact and accelerate the efforts to universal health coverage and increase investments in life-saving care.

Doctor of Medicine specialized in Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Academic Masters and PhD degrees in Medical Science at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and Post-doctorate at Harvard University. National Researcher Level III. Professor of Masters and PhD Medical Science programs at the UNAM. Director Biomedical Research and Medica Sur Clinic Foundation. Member of 18 Medical Associations, both nationals and internationals respectively. Governor of Mexico at the American College of Gastroenterology. Editor of Annals of Hepatology. Associate Editor of the World Journal of Gastroenterology, Member of the Advisory board of the American Journal of Gastroenterology. Honors and the “Gabino Barreda” medal award in his Bachelors Degree, Masters and Ph.D by the UNAM. Winner by the National Medicine Academy. PastPresident of the Mexican Association of Hepatology and the Latin American Association for Study of the Liver. Author of 15 published books,148 chapters for several books and 239 articles published in PUBMED.

Q&A with Prof. Nahum Méndez-Sánchez

What are you doing to eliminate viral hepatitis?

I have spent most of my career researching about Hepatitis focus on Viral Hepatitis C, carrying out many studies or collaborating in different protocols. Moreover, I have contributed with innovative information through my books “Concepts of Hepatology” and “Gastroenterology” where i wrote many chapters about Viral Hepatitis. I have organized for 9 years the walk commemorating the National Healthy Liver Day and World Hepatitis Day. Since 2015, I provided the annual hepatitis training and i had given many radio, TV and press interviews about prevention measures and risk factors of viral hepatitis mainly of Viral Hepatitis B and C.

In your opinion, What is needed to accelerate the elimination viral hepatitis?

There must be a compromise between different health systems of each country. Moreover, the best way of population become aware is through primary prevention this can be achieved through guidelines for strictly control of vaccines application mainly of hepatitis B and mediating risk behaviors such as drug uses, sexual practices, and percutaneous exposure in order to reduce risk of infection. It is necessary that government increased the economic resources to improve the health coverage in order that population can access to direct action antiviral treatment that is the only evidence that eradicates virus around to 90%.

What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?

For me is a permanent reduction to zero of the worldwide incidence of viral hepatitis as a result of deliberate efforts. It is necessary to identify interventions that have a high impact and accelerate the efforts to universal health coverage and increase investments in life-saving care.

How can medical professionals and patients work together to eliminate viral hepatitis?

It is important that population become aware to yearly check up and a multidisciplinary team that have been prepared to identify unknowingly infected patients through more effective testing and screening programs. Also treatment programs and good health coverage of local prevention and control practices are essential to fight against viral hepatitis.

Dr Arturo Panduro, MD, PhD

Mexico

Dr. Panduro was born and raised in the iconic city of Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico. He is a member of a world-famous family of traditional ceramic artists where he inherited the compassion needed to perform his medical and research career. After graduating from the University of Guadalajara Medical School, he continued the specialty in Genetics at the “Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social in Guadalajara, Mexico. Mentored by Dr. Marco Rojkind at the CINVESTAV in Mexico City where he obtained his Ph.D. degree, he then completed his postdoctoral training as Associate Professor at the Liver Research Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York under Dr. David Shafritz. Upon returning to Mexico City in 1985, he created and headed the Research Center in Molecular Hepatology of the Department of Gastroenterology, “Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Biomédicas y de la Nutrición, Salvador Zubirán.” In 1992, Dr. Panduro then re-joined the Universiy of Guadalajara as full-time Professor and founding Director of the Doctoral Program in Molecular Biology in Medicine. Additionally, he opened the Department of Genomic Medicine in Hepatology at the “Hospital Civil de Guadalajara, Fray Antonio Alcalde.”, the first research center of its kind in a Latin American public hospital.

Dr, Panduro´s career focuses on teaching, doing research and providing medical assistance in the field of Genomic Medicine. He has developed a Genomic Medicine in Hepatology Program that aims to study the major causes of liver disease among the Mexican population. A major line of research is viral hepatitis B and C, in which the interactions between the host´s genes, viral genotypes and environmental factors influencing the clinical outcome of viral hepatitis infections are studied. Complementarily, at the Nutrigenetic Clinic for Liver Disease, strategies for the prevention and early detection of liver damage due to obesity, NASH, and viral hepatitis are designed to halt the progression of liver disease and improve the quality of life for patients living with these diseases.

To date, he has published 130 international articles in indexed journals, has more than 3000 citations, an h index of 30 and 10-index of 80. Other publications include scientific articles in Spanish as well as international books and book chapters. Dr. Panduro has mentored more than 30 Ph. D. students and specialists in the field of Genomic Medicine, many of which are successful researchers and heads of their departments.

The National Research System recognizes Dr. Panduro as a Level III researcher. In addition, his research has received awards given by the European Association for the Study of the Liver, the Japan Society of Hepatology, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Study of the Liver. Most recently, the Mexican Association of Hepatology honored him for his contributions in the field of Genomic Medicine in Hepatology. Dr. Panduro served as President of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, 2002-2004. He was editor-in-chief of the journal of “Investigacion en Salud”, (Health Sciences Center, University of Guadalajara); the “Revista Mexicana de Endocrinologia, Metabolismo & Nutricion”, (Mexican Society of Nutrition and Endocrinology and is member of the Editorial Board of the World Journal of Gastroenterology, World Journal of Hepatology and Annals of Hepatology.

Dr. Panduro currently is Head of the Department of Genomic Medicine in Hepatology, Hospital Civil de Guadalajara, Fray Antonio Alcalde, Health Sciences Center, University of Guadalajara.

Q&A with Dr Arturo Panduro, MD, PhD

 

What are you doing to eliminate viral hepatitis?

First, I research how the hepatitis viruses affect the Mexican population to alert the public health authorities of the need for controlling, preventing and treating viral hepatitis. Creating a better consciousness among the medical community of Latin America on not to focus only on the personal economic benefits of treating the patients, but also to promote alternative treatment pathways for people who are infected and have low resources–which are many. Also, I call out to the pharmaceutical companies to support scientific meetings and research on viral hepatitis in Latin America.

What is needed to accelerate the elimination viral hepatitis

Lowering the costs of treatments for people in the developing countries. More honesty and humbleness of the medical community. More knowledge of viral hepatitis among the Latin-American population. Further understanding the impact that viral hepatitis has in different geographic regions of Latin America (genotype distribution, resistant mutations, risk factors, evolutionary aspects in each country)

What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you

Diminishing the number of deaths, over a given time range in defined geographic regions. Preventing and providing early detection of the disease, and a better quality of life to infected patients.

How can medical professionals and patients work together to eliminate viral hepatitis?

Getting actively involved in international organizations to validate the social work between physicians and patients. Obtain national and international funding to organize this kind of events, and more support by the local and national authorities to achieve these tasks.

Dr Anna Suk-Fong Lok, MD

Assistant Dean for Clinical Research
Alice Lohrman Andrews Research Professor of Hepatology Department of Internal Medicine
United States
What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?
I will be out of job, NO, I can happily retire and know that people do not need my service, it would be fantastic to see that the sufferings many of my patients and their loved ones face will be gone

Dr. Lok graduated from University of Hong Kong Medical School. She completed her medicine training at Queen Mary Hospital and hepatology training in London under Dame Sheila Sherlock.  She was a faculty at the University of Hong Kong until she moved to the United States in 1992. Dr. Lok joined the University of Michigan in 1995 as Director of the Hepatology Program. She became Associate Chair for Clinical Research in the Department of Internal Medicine in 2008 and Assistant Dean for Clinical Research in 2016.

Dr. Lok’s research focuses on natural history and treatment of hepatitis B and C. She has published more than 450 papers on viral hepatitis and liver diseases including four iterations of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) guidelines on “Hepatitis B”. She also participated in the development of the first World Health Organization guidelines on hepatitis B and C. Dr. Lok has made important contributions to the understanding of factors influencing the progression of hepatitis B and C, and the development of new treatments of these diseases. She was one of the top 1% most cited researchers in the world for the period 2002-2012. Dr. Lok has mentored more than 50 fellows and junior faculty worldwide, many are now professors and heads of their departments.

Dr. Lok received many awards throughout her career including the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Hepatitis B Foundation and the Distinguished Women Scientist Award from the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) in 2008, the Distinguished Service Award from the AASLD in 2011, the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award from the American Liver Foundation in 2015, the William Beaumont Prize in Gastroenterology from the AGA in 2016, a Gold Medal Award from the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver and an Hon DSc from the University of Hong Kong in 2017.

Dr. Lok served as Associate Editor of HEPATOLOGY in 2002-6, co-Editor of Journal of Viral Hepatitis in 2007-9 and a Senior Associate Editor of GASTROENTEROLOGY in 2011-2012.

Dr. Lok is currently President of the AASLD.

Q&A with Dr Anna Suk-Fong Lok, MD

What are you doing to eliminate viral hepatitis?

I promote WHO and NASEM goals, and inform physicians that we have the tools and educate them to implement plans”

In your opinion, what is needed to accelerate the elimination viral hepatitis?

Increase screening and diagnosis, linkage to care, curtail opioid epidemic in US to decrease new HCV infection, enhance birth dose HBV vaccine worldwide”

How can medical professionals and patients work together to eliminate viral hepatitis?

Everyone needs to be educated, familiar with the tools available to us, think of it and use it in our practice. We also need to work together to raise awareness and educate public, patients, their family, and health policy folks. Also lobby for research funding.

Lynn E Taylor, MD, FACP, FAASLD

Brown University, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases Miriam Hospital
USA
Lynn E. Taylor, MD is an HIV, viral hepatitis and primary care physician, clinical researcher, educator and public health advocate focused on care of hepatitis C virus infection (HCV) in vulnerable populations. She developed and directs Miriam Hospital’s HIV/HCV program and provides longitudinal primary and subspecialty care to patients with infectious consequences of addiction. For 18 years she has worked to enhance HIV and HCV prevention and treatment efforts for people who inject drugs, persons on opiate agonist therapy and individuals with psychiatric illness.  Dr. Taylor is a Member of the CDC and Health Resources and Services Administration Advisory Committee on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and STD Prevention and Treatmentand serves on the World Health Organization Guideline Development Group for Screening, Care and Treatment of Chronic HCV.  She developed and directs Rhode Island Defeats Hep C (RID Hep C), http://www.ridefeatshepc.coma comprehensive program to Eliminate HCV in Rhode Island. 

Q&A with Lynn E Taylor, MD, FACP, FAASLD

What are you doing to eliminate viral hepatitis?

I direct Rhode Island (RI) Defeats Hep C, a program to eliminate HCV in RI, and collaborate with national and global elimination-focused organizations.  I provide care to drug-involved and marginalized patient populations.

In your opinion, what is needed to accelerate the elimination viral hepatitis?

We must ameliorate health care disparities.

What does the elimination of viral hepatitis mean to you?

Elimination of viral hepatitis means that we will have harnessed scientific advances and global cooperation to avert premature, needless suffering, illness and death.

How can medical professionals and patients work together to eliminate viral hepatitis?

Collective action is needed – together we can speak out, step up, raise awareness and make viral hepatitis a priority wherever it is not.

Dr Norah A Terrault, MD, MPH

Professor of Clinical Medicine & Surgery; Director of Viral Hepatitis Research in Liver Transplantation
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, USA

­Dr. Norah Terrault is the Professor of Medicine and the Director of the Viral Hepatitis Center at the University of California San Francisco. She is recognized nationally and internationally for her work related to viral hepatitis, especially in the setting of liver transplantation.  She has authored more than 275 original articles, reviews and book chapters. She has served as Associate Editor for Hepatology and Deputy Editor for Liver Transplantation in the recent past and is current Associate Editor for Hepatology Communications. She is an investigator on several NIH-funded clinical studies in hepatitis B and NASH and is an investigator on several ongoing clinical trials of therapies for patients with chronic hepatitis B, hepatitis C and NASH.

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