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Response to Health Inequities

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Response to Viral Hepatitis Health Inequities

The Viral Hepatitis Elimination Plan outlines strategies for OHA to partner with healthcare providers and community organizations to improve cultural sensitivity and address health inequities that lead to significant disparities in hepatitis infection and health outcomes. The two main strategies are to work toward elimination of institutional and structural oppression within healthcare settings and development of community supports to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate viral hepatitis services.

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Eliminate disparities faced by people with and at risk for viral hepatitis in healthcare settings

Healthcare systems and professionals must provide culturally and linguistically appropriate education, counseling, and care to individuals at risk or infected with chronic viral hepatitis. 

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Reduce disparities in acute viral hepatitis infections, knowledge of status and engagement with care

Elimination of viral hepatitis requires engagement with communities that experience disparities. Community led initiatives are more likely to be culturally and linguistically appropriate and provide accurate information that considers cultural norms, generational knowledge, and values.

Strategy 1: Address stigma, unconscious bias and discriminatory practices at health care delivery sites

  • Increase culturally and linguistically sensitive care navigation services and care management in clinics that serve diverse people.

  • Undertake tribal consultation or urban confer* with American Indian and Alaska Native health care services to identify best practices for culturally and linguistically appropriate viral hepatitis services.

    *For governmental agencies, undertake Tribal Consultation or Urban Confer with American Indian and Alaska Native health care services to identify best practices for culturally and linguistically appropriate viral hepatitis services.(IHS, 2023)

  • Support trainings on systemic and institutional factors within healthcare settings that perpetuate racial health disparities such as system implicit bias, micro-aggressions and othering.

  • Foster collaboration between healthcare systems and community-based organizations that serve traditionally oppressed communities to implement effective strategies to improve viral hepatitis screening, prevention, care, and treatment.

Strategy 1: Strengthen and build partnerships with organizations serving communities at risk for viral hepatitis to raise awareness

  • Foster partnerships with organizations that serve disproportionately impacted populations, including community organizations, provider organizations, academic institutions, and offices of minority health, to raise awareness of viral hepatitis.

  • Promote hepatitis prevention, education, treatment, mental health, and MOUD/SUD treatment for individuals in carceral settings.

Strategy 2: Expand culturally competent and linguistically appropriate care, treatment, and prevention services

  • Promote recruitment of linguistically and culturally diverse staff in healthcare and MOUD/SUD treatment sites.
  • Ensure that materials on viral hepatitis, substance use recovery, mental health care and other social determinants of health are available and translated into languages representative of under-served people who engage in clinic services.
  • Partner with communities impacted by viral hepatitis and the systems that serve them to develop tailored culturally and linguistically responsive educational materials including videos, infographics, audio materials for radio or podcasts and social media messaging.
  • Partner with health care payers and delivery systems to ensure interpreter service is prioritized at healthcare, mental health care, MOUD/SUD treatment facilities as well as other sites where health-related social need services are provided.

Strategy 2: Engage community leaders and people with lived experience to dispel viral hepatitis–related stigma

Support communities to employ peer educators, traditional health workers and community health workers to raise awareness about viral hepatitis B and C prevention and the availability of a treatments and the HCV cure in their respective communities. Support communities to share stories, resources, facts not myths, and recommendations about their experiences with viral hepatitis. Share stories of hope, resilience, and achievement among communities to mutually empower one another to eliminate viral hepatitis. Increase awareness of peoples’ experience living with chronic hepatitis and of the cure for hepatitis C among media and social media groups that reach the most disproportionately impacted communities.