Stanford University’s Asian Liver Center launched a corporate outreach program in Palo Alto, California, to integrate hepatitis B wellness and education into local businesses’ health care programs, Mercury News reports.

The center’s five-step employer toolkit is designed to connect employees with education, outreach and prevention tools for hep B infections, and to help eliminate hep B discrimination in company policies. The kits, which include informational brochures and online risk-assessments, ask companies to provide health care policies that include hep B prevention and treatment as well as management for those living with a chronic infection.

The nonprofit outreach program focuses on businesses with a high ratio of foreign-born Asian employees, the most affected demographic of undiagnosed chronic liver disease. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly one in 10 foreign-born Asians are affected by hepatitis B virus (HBV) in the United States, mostly a result of mother-to-child transmission.

However, as the center points out, 40 to 65 percent of Asians and Pacific Islanders have never been screened and nearly two-thirds of those living with the virus are unaware of their infection. If chronic hep B is left untreated, it can cause liver failure, cancer and premature death, killing one in four of those affected.

“Hepatitis B needs to be made a fundamental part of wellness,” said Mei-Na Srein, corporate outreach and programs coordinator for the nonprofit grassroots campaign. “Just like some groups get routine screenings for cholesterol and blood pressure, for [Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders], hepatitis B is also a vital sign for which screening is absolutely necessary.”

The corporate toolkit also recommends that specialized corporate health-care programs include a one-time blood test for all employees, vaccinations for unprotected workers, routine liver cancer screenings and doctor checkups for those chronically affected. The Asian Liver Center is hoping that through outreach, awareness and early detection, Santa Clara County can become the first hepatitis-free region in the nation.

To read the article, click here.

To see the employer toolkit, click here.