April 17, 2018
patients at two Fort Worth clinics will receive testing and treatment for hepatitis
B thanks to a grant from the Texas Medical Association’s (TMA’s) Be Wise — ImmunizeSM program. TMA recently awarded the TMA
student chapter at the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort
Worth Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) funds to provide free screening
and shots for patients.
bringing the hepatitis screening and vaccination project into our Fort Worth
community, we hope to provide a great service to those who either can’t afford
it or who have no knowledge of the illness,” said Yohan Kim, one of the medical
students leading the project.
Hepatitis is an
inflammation of the liver, often caused by a virus. Hepatitis B is passed from
person to person through blood, semen, or other body fluids. The virus can spread
through sexual contact, through sharing needles or syringes, or from mother to
baby at birth. Hepatitis B can lead to liver cancer.
A vaccine is
the best way to protect against the disease.
The TCOM TMA chapter
is teaming up with the TCOM Infectious Disease Interest Group on the project. Students
are offering care to refugees through the medical school’s Building Bridges Program. Hepatitis B is common in Asia and
parts of Africa, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC). Students also are providing hepatitis B services at Mercy
Clinic, which serves
adults without insurance in south-central Fort Worth (the 76110 ZIP code).
At both clinics,
TCOM students screen patients for hepatitis B and provide vaccinations to those
who test negative for the virus. Mr. Kim said patients who test positive are
referred to local clinics and physicians who can manage and treat the illness.
treat hepatitis B can reduce the risk of liver cancer in patients by 50 percent
to 80 percent, according to CDC. CDC also estimates only 40 percent of people with hepatitis
B know they have the infection, and only half of those diagnosed receive appropriate
“This project gives us a
hands-on way to provide patient-centered medical care and learn the importance
of follow-up care,” said Sunny Kang, a TCOM student who helped start the hepatitis
TMA created the
Be Wise — Immunize Local Impact
Grants program in 2012
to enable members of TMA and the TMA Alliance to help ensure their communities
are healthy by offering childhood, adolescent, and adult vaccinations at
special events and clinics. Members often team up with local organizations to
reach residents in need. The TMA Foundation (TMAF), TMA’s philanthropic arm,
funds Be Wise — Immunize and the Local Impact Grants. In five years, TMA has
awarded grants totaling nearly $170,000 to provide more than 12,000
vaccinations across the state through the Local Impact Grants program.
“Hepatitis B is
a preventable illness that can prove deadly for some. Our grant funding will ensure
Fort Worth residents who might not otherwise receive proper care, or better yet
prevention, will be protected,” said TMAF President Leslie H. Secrest, MD, of
works to improve vaccination rates in Texas through its Be Wise — Immunize
program. TMA has given more than 340,000 shots to Texas children, adolescents,
and adults since the program began in 2004. TMAF funds the Be Wise program in
2018 through generous support from H-E-B, TMF Health Quality Institute, and
Pfizer Inc., along with contributions from physicians and their
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation,
representing more than 51,000 physician and medical student members. It is
located in Austin and has 112 component county medical societies around the
state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
Contact: Brent Annear (512) 370-1381;
cell: (512) 656-7320; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cooper (512) 370-1382; cell: (512) 650-5336; email: email@example.com
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