HepBFreeLasVegas is a dynamic and evolving practice. We are both an entity and an initiative.
We started in 2010 educating ourselves on hepatitis B outreach/ screening/ vaccination/ linkage-to-care programs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palo Alto and Honolulu. We mapped out the landscape of key health policy makers, recognized physician thought leaders on the subject, pharmaceutical innovators and local players.
We launched HepBFreeLasVegas in February 2011, incorporated as a Nevada non-profit corporation for public benefit in May, applied for 501(c)(3) status in September and received it in November, retroactive to May.
We assembled a group of stakeholders that included medical associations, public health entities, medical providers, non-profit clinics, business associations, API community leaders and community organizations. We organized educational and training for health professionals and API community leaders and groups. We developed a unique database management system so that we would be able to provide follow-up service to our clients, as well as measure our outcomes and share them with appropriate stakeholders.
Dr. Ben Calderon, a participant in our Physician Pilot Program, started screening in June 2011. The following month HepBFreeLasVegas conducted its first screening event. From June 1, 2011 to August 31, 2013 we have:
- conducted nineteen (19) community screening events;
- screened 2,443, of whom 84.5% percent are API, and of whom 71.7 % were born in Asian countries where the prevalence of chronic hepatitis B is high; and
- organized and/or presented at fourteen (14) educational, advocacy or awareness events.
Today we are a collective impact initiative with partners from different sectors in Southern Nevada. Our relationships are dynamic and uncompromisingly focused. Our sharing of outcomes and measurements with our Medical Service Partners promotes evidence-based decision-making and reaffirms the mutually reinforcing nature of our shared goals. As our relationships with existing Community Partners deepen, we steadily gain traction in at-risk, hard-to-reach API communities. We attract new partners who expand our capacity and our reach.
Challenges continue to present themselves, but the center holds. We have learned to adapt to the dynamic complexities inherent in relationship building. We recognize that the alignment of goals between two or more parties can become a mismatch for a variety of reasons, including availability of resources, organizational politics and differences of opinion. When this happens, a parting of the ways is a healthy outcome. Adapting is a dynamic process that leads to emergent, organic and straightforward solutions.
In collective impact parlance, HepBFreeLasVegas, the entity, would be considered the backbone support organization for HepBFreeLasVegas, the initiative. Our leadership, management and administration consist of a Coordinator (Aurora Wong) and Assistant Coordinators (Gicelle Canlas, Christine Melocoton and Jacinta Jose). All are volunteers who bring very specific skill sets, passion and energy to the table. Our governance consists of a Board of Directors and Officers who oversee compliance with our by-laws, state and federal laws and best practices.
We follow emerging, promising and best practices developed by other hepatitis B programs in the United States. We adhere to our HIPAA-based privacy and security policies and procedures. We seek input and advice from public health officials, health professionals, community groups, non-profit health clinics and national associations that are committed to the public health battle against hepatitis B. We evaluate outcomes from each event, we provide feedback to our partners and we make improvements in our action plans for future events.
We are supported by Medical Service Partners who are generous with their time, resources and expertise. They themselves operate within cultures of charity, caring, service and health empowerment for those most vulnerable in our community. Our events and activities reinforce and advance their own respective goals and action plans.
We strive for cultural and linguistic competency by working hand-in-hand with Community Partners who already provide some type of service (social, health, educational, spiritual and/or religious, etc.) to their respective communities and who are willing to adopt community health empowerment as a core value. Our events typically occur at culturally and linguistically friendly venues, such as places of worship, community service centers and community health fairs. We advertise in various languages. While our outreach is designed to attract at-risk, hard-to-reach APIs who bear a disproportionate risk for Chronic Hepatitis B, we serve any at-risk person who presents himself for service, regardless of ethnicity.
We are blessed with a pool of volunteers with strong native language speaking/writing skills who donate their time, talent, minds and hearts to our events and activities. The pool includes health degree students studying at Roseman University of Health Sciences, health professionals and service-minded individuals. To the extent our volunteers have access to any client protected health information, they are required to comply with our Privacy and Security Policies and to sign confidentiality agreements.
HepBFreeLasVegas is not a medical provider and does not provide medical care. It is a charitable organization that is not owned or operated by medical providers. It does not provide patient referrals to any particular medical provider, and any person who receives hepatitis B testing from HepBFreeLasVegas is free to select a medical provider of his choice to serve his medical needs, including treatment for hepatitis B infection. HepBFreeLasVegas is not responsible for any of the medical treatment or care provided by any medical provider. Treatment decisions are to be made by the patients and their own medical providers. The people we serve are “clients,” not “patients.”