Through our leadership in viral hepatitis elimination coalitions across central Appalachia, the Community Liver Alliance (CLA) actively supports the expansion of harm reduction services and hepatitis C prevention through collaboration, advocacy, education, and planning. We invest CLA staff expertise and engage subject matter experts to convene and educate providers and allied partners for coalition building, education, and provider trainings to expand HCV screening and treatment for PWUDs, and advocate to successfully eliminate barriers to access to care. Our success is predicated on collaboration. The CLA’s strength is bringing disparate groups together to work towards a common goal. The barriers we collectively face is the disparity and inequity between advocates and the local and state decision-makers who hold the power for change in harm reduction.
We appreciate our partnership with the National Harm Reduction Coalition and generous HepConnect grant support to offer these initiatives to support the intersection of harm reduction and viral hepatitis C. Working in synergy, these three initiatives will further ongoing efforts to advance hepatitis C prevention for PWUDs by supporting harm reduction services, advocacy, and education across the 5 HepConnect States and beyond.
Harm Reduction Leadership Learning Lab
The Community Liver Alliance Harm Reduction Leadership Learning Lab is a year-long program that connects participants to an experiential learning curriculum and mentorship with subject matter experts. The program will focus on five core competencies: Communication, Leadership, Business Basics, Building Relationships, and Personal Branding. The end goal is to provide organizations with essential skills to build capacity to carry out their mission and expand harm reduction services to people who use drugs.
Our 2023 cohort includes:
Melissa Allgeier, People Advocating Recovery
Monthly HCV Provider Network Virtual Meeting
The CLA convenes monthly virtual HCV Provider Networking meetings with enduring education, networking and actionable information. The HCV Provider Network reaches clinicians to educate on the importance of harm reduction services and as it relates to hepatitis C prevention and actively engages them to become advocates to inspire change. Members of the HCV Provider Network serve on the central Appalachia Viral Hepatitis Elimination Summit planning committee. HCV Provider Network members will also serve as mentors, educators and planning committee members for the Learning Lab Program. The HCV Provider Network will actively advocate to expand harm reduction services within their communities through education, activism and support. The Network will offer expert testimony to bring down statutory barriers, provide trainings and education to preserve harm reduction services, access to hepatitis C screening, treatment and linkage to care.
Register here: https://cvent.me/r0VlDV
Eliminating HCV in Appalachia for PWUD Summit Series
Led by a planning committee comprised of national experts, including PWUD, Suzanna Masartis with the Community Liver Alliance and the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, Policy Director, Daniel Raymond, serve as the Co-Chairs of the Summit Series. The goal of the Central Appalachia Viral Hepatitis Elimination Summit Series is to help assess local needs, identify best practices and build capacity to address the needs of PWUDs. These summits will use, as their framework, the National Strategic Elimination Plan and the CDCs recently published SSPs Technical Package, other developing information and the expertise of the planning committee members.
On November 17, 2021 the first Eliminating HCV Among PWUD in Appalachia Summit brought together medical and public health providers, policy makers, advocates, and people with lived experience to talk about common challenges and identify potential solutions to achieve HCV elimination among persons who use drugs (PWUD) in Appalachia. A feedback survey of the participants and planning committee will be used to plan future activities. The report and video are on this page for your review.
The outcome of the first Summit laid the foundation for the second Summit goals. The overall goal of Summit II is to identify best practices and model programs to diagnose and cure hepatitis C among people who use drugs, including people who inject drugs (PWID)—and to work though the details of how these practices/programs can be “translated” to serve PWID in Appalachia.