Health care providers at all levels of the health care system can help reduce health disparities and prevent viral hepatitis by learning more about the prevention, care, and treatment of this disease. This is one of the goals of the Action Plan for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis [PDF 673KB], to “Build a U.S. health-care workforce prepared to prevent and diagnose viral hepatitis and provide care and treatment to infected persons.”

Medical providers who share information regarding risk for certain diseases are one of the most powerful motivators for a patient to accept an intervention or change behaviors. But providers must first have the information needed to share with patients. Increasing the number of providers who are knowledgeable about viral hepatitis testing, care, and treatment is critical to maximizing the benefits afforded by viral hepatitis testing and treatment options.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have collaborated with other federal agencies and universities to create educational opportunities for health care providers to receive training in this area of disease prevention and control.

Hepatitis C Online Course
The University of Washington in collaboration with the International Antiviral Society-USA (IAS-USA) was funded by CDC to create a self-study, interactive course for medical providers on Hepatitis C. Features include a master bibliography, embedded video, and clinical calculators. Free CME/CNE credit available.

Hepatitis Web Study
The University of Washington – Seattle Prevention Training Center was funded by CDC to develop a website that offers interactive case studies covering topics related to prevention, management, and treatment of viral hepatitis. Free CME/CNE credit available.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham – National Training Center for Integrated Hepatitis, HIV/STD Prevention Services was funded by CDC to develop a website dedicated to the provision of practice-focused distance learning programs and training for frontline workers.

Medscape and CDC have worked together to provide the following educational opportunities:

ACT on HCV – A Practical Introduction to Treating HCV from AASLD

The American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) has launched an educational program providing practical strategies for managing patients with hepatitis C. Five interactive modules, webinars, and an experiential component address an overview of HCV, genotyping and predictors of response, selecting patients, initiating treatment and the first eight weeks, and managing side effects of therapy. Registration is free, but required.

Broader use of these training resources by medical providers will have a positive impact on our efforts to support viral hepatitis testing, care, and treatment. To receive viral hepatitis updates from CDC, including training opportunities, please sign up to receive email communications through GovDelivery and follow CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis on Twitter @cdchep.

Jonathan Merman is the director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This article was originally published on the blog.