Papers authored by Dr. Waridibo Allison, HSC vice president of health policy and executive director of the university’s Center for Health Policy, are part of a larger collection of works released Sept. 7. 

“Special Projects of National Significance Curing Hepatitis C (HCV) among People of Color Living with HIV Initiative: Improving Linkage to and Retention in HCV, Behavioral Health and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Care” was released by the Journal of Health Promotion Practice. The special collection of papers was written as a part of a commission to report the findings of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Special Project of National Significance to Cure Hepatitis C in People of Color Living with HIV. 

Dr. Allison was a co-grantee of the completed grant work with Dr. Merceditas Villanueva, director of the HIV/AIDS program at the Yale School of Medicine. The special collection includes four papers by Allison.

Work on this initiative concluded in March 2022. The scope of the combined work reflects the different geographical locations and contexts of the two awardees. Each author focused on a variety of related topics, including HIV workforce development, integration of HCV care into HIV care, strategies to improve HCV screening and more. 

“HCV and HIV exist as a syndemic, and if we are to eliminate HCV and end the HIV epidemic in the U.S., the kind of work presented in this collection of papers is vital,” Allison said. 

There was one awardee in the North — Yale School of Medicine — and one in the South — the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, where Allison worked prior to HSC. 

“We are very excited to share our experiences and lessons learned from our two very different states of Connecticut and Texas,” Villanueva said. “Although Texas has a much larger population of people with HIV, both states share the disparity of people of color being overly represented. However, compared with Connecticut, people with HIV in Texas tend to be younger and identify as Hispanic. These differences are important to understand for the design of strategies to cure hepatitis C.” 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 21% of people with HIV in the U.S. also have HCV. Both diseases have followed similar trajectories during the last 30 years by starting as death sentences but now virally suppressed with treatment. 

“The papers in this focus issue reflect core processes of effective health promotion practice, including evidence-informed policy and system change, investment in appropriate infrastructure, collaborative partnerships, supporting providers and patient-centered care,” said Dr. Kathleen Roe, editor of the Journal of Health Promotion Practice. “We are proud to contribute to the global calls to eliminate HCV and HIV as public health threats.” 

Both HIV and HCV remain national public health threats. This collection of papers represents outcomes and lessons learned for a body of work that contributes to the knowledge base for ending the HIV epidemic and eliminating HCV in the U.S.

About HSC

The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth is located in the heart of the Fort Worth Cultural District. HSC trains the health providers and scientists of the future in an interprofessional ecosystem. In HSC’s six schools, students learn to work in teams and to develop an innovative mindset that prepares them for a rapidly changing health landscape. HSC Health, the clinical enterprise of the Health Science Center, provides patient-centered care to people across Tarrant County. HSC’s research enterprise provides a foundation to expand the frontiers of scientific discovery to improve health and well-being.

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