In the years since 2011, when the Department of Health and Human Services released the first national Viral Hepatitis Action Plan, much of the Federal work to move towards the goals identified in the plan has been described in reports like the recently released 2014 Federal Implementation Progress Report as well as in posts shared on this blog.
While the current Viral Hepatitis Action Plan describes efforts to be undertaken by Federal stakeholders, it also acknowledges the vital role of complementary actions by non-federal stakeholders needed to achieve our national goals and highlights opportunities for non-federal stakeholder involvement. Indeed, many of the successes our nation has seen in the fight against viral hepatitis have resulted from the efforts of non-Federal stakeholders. To collect information on non-Federal activities that support the Action Plan, the HHS Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy has just published a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register. Information collected in response to this RFI will be compiled into a Viral Hepatitis Community Stakeholder Report intended to document and disseminate information about innovative and impactful actions undertaken by community stakeholders in 2014 and 2015 in support of the goals of the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan.
The advances and growing momentum in addressing viral hepatitis in the U.S. reflect efforts of many non-Federal stakeholders including: state and local health departments, academic researchers, community-based organizations, professional organizations, education and advocacy groups, healthcare providers, clinics and hospitals, private industry, and others. The Viral Hepatitis Community Stakeholder Report for 2014-2015 seeks to highlight a full range of promising practices, innovative programs, and existing tools and informational resources that have been developed by organizations providing services to persons at risk for or living with viral hepatitis. Importantly, this information will be made available to the public to foster further innovation and collaborations and to inform future Federal efforts.
The RFI poses several questions for respondents regarding non-Federal efforts undertaken throughout calendar years 2014 – 2015 to address viral hepatitis in the United States, including:
- What is the most significant need your community/clients experience with respect to combating viral hepatitis?
- What activities conducted in 2014 and 2015 demonstrated the greatest advances toward reaching the goals of the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan?
I encourage you to share your activities with us by responding to the RFI. Details on how to respond are included in the RFI in the Federal Register. Please remember that in order to consider your input, we must hear from you within 60 days of the RFI publication, on or before 5:00 p.m. EST on February 8, 2015.
Please help us make this report the very best it can be by sharing what you and your organization have done to reach the goals of the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan. We also encourage you to forward the RFI link to your colleagues and networks so that they, too, can contribute. We look forward to your valuable contributions to this first Viral Hepatitis Community Stakeholder Report.
Ronald Valdisseri, M.D., M.P.H. is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy. This post was originally published on aids.gov.