APAMSA Fights to Break the Hepatitis B Cycle | October 28, 2006

Boston, MA–While 5,000 of the worldÂ’s leading hepatologists were discussing the recent research developments in liver diseases across the street in the Hynes Convention Center at the annual AASLD Liver Meeting in Boston, 85 medical students from more than 50 different medical schools were gathered at the Hilton Back Bay for the first ever, Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association, Hepatitis B Outreach Training.

The Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) is a national organization representing more than 15,000 medical students nation-wide with more than 100 medical school chapters across the country. APAMSA is dedicated to improving the health and well being of the Asian Pacific American Community. Their national service project, “APAMSA Fights to Break the Hepatitis B Cycle!” is dedicated to educating, screening, and immunizing the APA community for Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is a devastating liver disease which is extremely prevalent in the Asian Pacific American community. It is often called a “silent killer” because it can lead to liver cancer and nearly sudden death at very early ages.

To address this issue, APAMSA held their first ever Hepatitis B training session in Boston coinciding with the annual Liver Meeting. The programming consisted of lectures by world renowned hepatologist Dr. Anna Lok, and national APA health advocate, Dr. Karen Kim. In addition, during their afternoon session, leading hepatologists from around the country led the students in break out sessions to discuss and brainstorm Hepatitis B outreach projects in their local areas. These physicians included, Ramsey Cheung, Steven Han, Harpreet Pall, K.Rajender Reddy, Thomas Tsang, Tse-Ling Fong, Eddie C. Cheung, Daryl T.-Y. Lau, Lawton Shick, Naoky Tsai, Chia Wang, and Tram T. Tran.

Dr. Anna Lok led the students in the basics of Hepatitis B epidemiology, pathophysiology and treatment. Dr. Karen Kim shared with the students her most compelling personal story of her motherÂ’s death from Hepatitis B and pleaded with the students to take action now.

One of the most unique highlights of the program, was the world premiere of the first ever Hepatitis B spoken word piece, created by APAMSA members and Washington University Medical Students, Jason Hill, and Leon Scott. Spoken word is an exciting new art form combining elements of hip-hop, poetry, and rap. Their performance captivated and astounded the audience, and through spoken word, they conveyed the messages of the need for Hepatitis B awareness, health policy changes, education and availability of the Hepatitis B vaccine, and the need to fight now to break this Hepatitis B cycle.

By the close of the meeting, a national cross section of future and current physicians had been united for a common cause of eliminating Hepatitis B. It was a groundbreaking and pivotal event in sparking a national movement to address Hepatitis B.

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