Northwestern Medicine hepatologist Sean Koppe, MD, and vascular surgeon James Yao, MD, are part of a community effort to raise awareness about Hepatitis B in Chicago. Koppe recently spoke at a Daley Plaza rally to promote Hepatitis B screenings and vaccinations, especially among the Asian-American population.
Hepatitis B is a virus that infects the liver and more than half of the estimated 1.4 million to 2 million people infected in the United States are Asian American. Asian Americans are nearly three times more likely to develop liver cancer than Americans of non-Asian descent. A significant number – up to 75 percent – of those infected remain untested, untreated and unvaccinated.
In response, Northwestern Medicine sponsors a Hepatitis B program, through Northwestern University’s Hepatitis B Alliance and Chinatown. Koppe and Yao are the physician leads for the program which has screened more than 750 people and given more than 450 vaccinations though its monthly immunization clinic, which is staffed by medical student volunteers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The program is offered in partnership with the Midwest Asian Health Association (MAHA), Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and Midwestern University College of Pharmacy.