RI Defeats Hep C
Brandon Bruzzi
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Lynn Taylor
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Hepatitis C The Silent Epidemic

Hepatitis C is a liver disease resulting from chronic infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). It is estimated that 5 million Americans are infected with HCV. Because symptoms of HCV infection may not appear for many years, more than 70 percent are unaware they are infected.

C is for CURE – HCV is a curable infection, with many new medications soon available anticipated to be safer, better tolerated and more effective (leading to a higher chance of cure with treatment) than older, interferon-based treatments.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends an age-based screening strategy consisting of a one-time screening blood test for HCV for those at highest risk, including people who ever injected drugs (even once many years ago), and everyone born between 1945 and 1965 (“Baby Boomers”). Approximately 75% of HCV infections in the U.S. exist among Baby Boomers. One in 30 Baby Boomers in the U.S. has HCV. This CDC recommendation was endorsed by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in June 2013. The broader testing recommendations likely will detect a substantial number of people who are unaware they are infected.

Remember that sharing straws/bills when using cocaine (even once many years ago), and having unprotected anal sex if you are an HIV-infected man who has sex with men, are also risk factors for having HCV. Refer to our selected links for more information on hepatitis C transmission (spread).

Deaths from HCV-related liver disease are on the rise. Early diagnosis allows people who are infected to receive treatment sooner rather than later, and prevent progression to more serious disease, such as cirrhosis (extensive scarring in the liver) and liver cancer.

Links Recommended HCV Websites and Reading

There is a lot of misunderstanding about HCV. There is a lot of misinformation circulating about HCV. Dr. Taylor has vetted and supports the following websites:

 Relevant Reading

FREE Hepatitis C Testing at AIDS Care Ocean State

We offer 2 free and confidential screening tests for hepatitis C virus infection (HCV), which look for the presence of HCV antibodies. Antibodies are proteins (a type of chemical) that the body makes when exposed to HCV. A positive result means that a person has been exposed to HCV. Both tests are very accurate.

The first test is a veni-puncture blood test. A nurse draws the blood from a vein in a person’s arm. The blood is sent to the Rhode Island Department of Health Laboratory. Results are returned to us in 2-3 weeks. The second test is a rapid test, using the Ora-Quick rapid HCV test kit. This test is performed with a finger stick, in which a tiny needle punctures the tip of a person’s finger. Results are ready in 20 minutes.

All staff members performing tests are Qualified Professional Test Counselors certified by the Rhode Island Department of Health.

Veni-Puncture Testing Hours

  • Suspended For a Few Weeks Until We Get a New Phlebotomist

Rapid HCV Testing Hours

  • Monday
    12:00 to 4:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday
    1:00 to 4:00 p.m. & 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday
    1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
  • Thursday
    10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. & 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
  • Friday
    by appointment only

HCV RNA Confirmatory Testing

We are proud to announce that on September 4th 2013, RI Defeats Hep C began offering free confirmatory HCV RNA blood testing for any/all persons with reactive (positive) hepatitis C antibody screening tests. This is ground breaking! This will be the first free HCV RNA confirmatory testing site in Rhode Island.

Now we can give people a definitive answer as whether or not they are infected with hepatitis C.

To have this blood test, a person must have a reactive (positive) hepatitis C antibody test. We can do this on-site at ACOS’ Broad Med Building, or a person may bring her/his documentation of a prior positive result to us.

NOTE: this blood test is NOT available currently as we are hiring a new phlebotomist. Please check back for updates.

More about HCV RNA confirmatory testing

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only half of people in the U.S. who screen positive for HCV with the initial antibody test (one of the 2 mentioned above) receive the necessary follow- up testing to determine if they actually have chronic HCV. Dr. John Ward, director of CDC's Division of Viral Hepatitis, said in a news release, "Identifying those who are currently infected is important because new effective treatments can cure the infection better than ever before, as well as eliminate the risk of transmission to others." About 20% of people with positive screening antibody tests clear away the HCV virus on their own within the first few months of infection, without medications. Most people, the other 80%, develop a chronic infection in which HCV viruses are made every day in the liver. People with chronic HCV may go on to develop related health problems.

The confirmatory, follow-up blood test is a viral load test called HCV RNA. The HCV RNA viral load test tells if there is HCV in the blood. If the result is reactive, or positive, a person has chronic HCV and will benefit from medical care.

For more information please contact Raynald Joseph at 401-781-0665 or through the contact form below.

Street Outreach Team

In addition we have a street outreach team that goes into various neighborhoods throughout Rhode Island to offer a wide range of services to the community including HCV testing. Our street outreach team travels in a Big Yellow Van and is able to provide testing and counseling on the spot for anyone interested. You may also contact Raynald Joseph, ACOS Prevention Supervisor, to schedule our team to come to your organization or location for testing a group of people.

Who should get tested for HCV?

We have expanded upon the CDC’s list by considering an important article published by HCV expert Brian R. Edlin, MD, of the National Development and Research Institutes, New York, NY. His article is entitled, “Hepatitis C Screening: Getting It Right,” Hepatology. 2013 Apr;57(4):1644-50. Dr. Edlin is also Associate Professor of Public Health and Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Professor of Medicine, SUNY Downstate College of Medicine, Brooklyn, NY. Dr. Taylor conferred with Dr. Edlin. She then she adapted information from his article for our website. Thank you, Dr. Edlin!

Transmission of HCV occurs via direct blood-to-blood contact -- meaning that blood containing HCV has to get into our body’s bloodstream in order for us to catch HCV. Here is RID Hep C’s list of people we think should get tested for HCV:

  • Persons born from 1945 through 1965.
  • Persons who have ever injected illegal drugs, including those who injected only once many years ago.
  • Persons with a history of intranasal (through the nose, or snorting) drug use, including those who snorted only once many years ago. An example is snorting cocaine.
  • Persons with a history of heavy alcohol consumption.
  • All persons with HIV infection.
  • Persons in correctional institutions and those with a history of incarceration.
  • Persons who received clotting factor concentrates made before 1987.
  • Persons who received a blood transfusion or solid organ transplants before 1992.
  • People who have ever received long-term hemodialysis treatment.
  • Persons with known exposures to HCV, such as:
    • Health care workers after needlesticks involving HCV-infected blood.
    • Recipients of blood or organs from a donor who later tested HCV-positive.
  • Persons with signs or symptoms of liver disease (e.g., abnormal liver enzyme blood tests).
  • Children born to HCV-infected mothers (to avoid detecting maternal antibody -- the adult woman’s positive blood test-- these children should not be tested before age 18 months).
  • Persons with diabetes.
  • Homeless persons and persons with a history of homelessness.
  • Persons with ≥ 10 lifetime sexual partners, and especially those with ≥ 20 lifetime sexual partners.
  • Persons who received unsafe medical injections (steroids, for example) or unsafe tattoos or piercings.
  • Persons born in high-prevalence countries (countries where a large proportion of the population has chronic hepatitis C, such as Egypt).

Our Progress

Collaboration with the non-profit organization CODAC Behavioral Healthcare

The RI Defeats Hep C Innovation Fellowship facilitated Dr. Taylor’s and ACOS’ collaboration with the non-profit organization CODAC Behavioral Healthcare, www.codacinc.org. As a result, the Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, awarded a grant to CODAC which started July 1, 2013, to enhance HCV Screening, Referral, Treatment and Cure.

The purpose of this program is to address the high prevalence of HCV among people who inject drugs or injected drugs in the past in selected opioid treatment programs. Dr. Taylor serves as Consulting Physician. In Spring 2014, Dr. Taylor started on-site hepatitis C care at CODAC Huntington Ave.

RID Hep C is on Target

From August 2013-January 2014, we have a 13% positivity rate on our HCV antibody screenings (versus estimated 1.3% of the U.S. population overall). Of these, 84% were positive for HCV RNA, indicating that RID Hep C is on target with our testing.

We Have RI Students Joining Our Efforts

Naomi Adjei

Naomi Adjei recently completed her first year at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She received her B.S. in Human Biology, Health and Society from Cornell University and taught middle school Science and Health in the Baltimore City Public School System for two years as part of Teach for America. During that time, she obtained her M.S. in Education at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education. Naomi is currently developing a sexual health education program for the Central Falls School District to address the high rates of teen pregnancy and STDs. As part of this initiative, she started Sex Ed by Brown Med, a student run organization that aims to improve adolescents’ knowledge about sexual health in order to influence their sexual activities and attitudes. With RI Defeats Hep C, Naomi is working with Dr. Taylor to organize C IS FOR CURE: A WATERFIRE LIGHTING FOR RI DEFEATS HEP C, IN HONOR OF WORLD HEPATITIS DAY, which will take place in Providence, RI on July 26, 2014.

Soumitri Barua

Soumitri Barua is a sophomore at Brown University concentrating in Public Health, and a student in Brown University's Program in Liberal Medical Education. She has assisted with research in breast cancer biology at St. Bonaventure University in New York, and research in environmental health with the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative of Rhode Island.. Soumitri will be working with Dr. Taylor to help make screening and treatment of hepatitis C more accessible to the Rhode Island Medicaid population. She will be studying relevant Medicaid policies in Rhode Island and other states.

Aaron Kofman

Aaron Kofman is a fourth year medical student at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Aaron's work has focused on issues of access to clinical trials for patients dually with HCV and HIV; implementing automated electronic medical screening for HCV in Baby Boomers in Rhode Island; profiling the work of ENCORE, Rhode Island's only Needle Exchange Program at AIDS Care Ocean State; and researching issues related to pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV in women. His clinical interests are in infectious diseases and emerging pathogens. He is excited to be applying for residency in Internal Medicine. Aaron has worked alongside Dr. Taylor caring for patients with HIV and HCV for 3 years.

Ali Zaman

Ali Zaman is a Master of Public Health (MPH) student at Brown University School of Public Health. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Miami with a major in neuroscience. Ali worked as a research assistant at the Schiff Center for Liver Diseases, focusing on hepatitis C therapies. After his MPH, he hopes to attend medical school and pursue a career in medicine and health policy. With RID Hep C, Ali works with Drs. Taylor and Pinkston to help develop group models of hepatitis C care in RI to expand capacity for treatment and improve outcomes.

Burke Gao

Burke Gao is a junior at Brown University concentrating in Economics and Biology. His most recent research experience involved working with Dr. Galarraga to model the economic aspects of treating HIV in Kenya. He has assisted with research in cancer biology at the Texas Tech Health Science Center, and research in human genomics at the University of Michigan. Burke is a student in Brown University’s Program for Liberal Medical Education, and intends to pursue an MD/PhD. Burke will be working with Omar Galarraga, PhD to model the costs of hepatitis C treatment for RI's hepatitis C population, and compare those investments with the cost saved from avoided complications and hospitalizations in the long run.

Lizzy Kinnard

Lizzy Kinnard is a recent graduate of Brown University, where she earned a B.A. in Public Health. She is returning to Brown as a Master of Science candidate in Behavioral and Social Sciences Intervention, focusing on promoting health and reducing harm among people who use drugs. She worked with Brandon Marshall, PhD, on RI Defeats Hep C to estimate the true prevalence of hep C in RI. Lizzy is the lead author on a paper resulting from this research, which will be published in Rhode Island Medical Journal's special July 2014 edition on hep C.

Scaling Up Hepatitis C Screening in the United States

On September 17 and 18, 2013, our first Hepatitis C Navigator, Elier Reyes, served as a panelist at Project Inform’s HCV Think Tank Meeting, “Scaling-Up Risk-Based Hepatitis C Screening in the United States.” Hosting 30 national, state and local health officials, policy experts, doctors and community advocates, Project Inform will utilize the Think Tank to discuss the state of risk-based HCV screening, its challenges and successes, and ways to leverage the Affordable Care Act to improve access to testing, increase status awareness and decrease health disparities. Elier was on a panel with national HCV leaders, include those from the CDC and experts on clinical care and health systems. Eli presented a Community Based Organization Perspective.

Elier’s participation gave our Rhode Island communities a voice in this national discussion, and provided an opportunity for him to gather information that will be helpful to RIDHepC.

RI Defeats Hep C: Hep C 101 -- Current Standard of Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment for HCV Testers

We are working to expand the number of HCV screeners/testers in RI, to enhance our capacity to get at-risk persons screened. To this end, on September 12, 2013, we held a, “RI Defeats Hep C: Hep C 101 -- Current Standard of Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment for HCV Testers,” educational session for community partners. We are also helping to develop a HCV Testers training for health professions students this Fall.


Therapy for Chronic Hepatitis C in 2014

First annual Dennis Mikolich Lecture:
"Therapy for Chronic Hepatitis C in 2014"

Invited speaker: Dr. Norbert Brau
Professor of Medicine, Divisions of Infectious Diseases and Liver Diseases, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY
Medical Director, Viral Hepatitis Program, Bronx VA Medical Center

April 4, Friday at Noon: 5th Floor Classroom 3 at the Providence VAMC

Treating and Defeating Hep C in Rhode Island

The month of May is designated as Hepatitis Awareness Month in the United States. In honor of Viral Hepatitis Month, RID Hep C sponsored an Educational Conference with the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University on May 16, 2014, entitled, “Treating and Defeating Hep C in Rhode Island.” The Conference was held at The Omni Providence Hotel | Providence, RI.

Target Audience

This educational conference was designed for physicians and other health care practitioners (nurse practitioners and other nursing professionals, physician assistants, pharmacists, psychologists, social workers) who are involved (or soon to be involved) in the diagnosis and management of patients with HCV infection. This conference was particularly relevant for practitioners in the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, infectious diseases, HIV, corrections, internal medicine, family medicine, psychiatry and public health.

This activity has been approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™

Conference Brochure

Conference Student Abstract Competition Winners

  • 1st Place: John T. Nguyen
John T. Nguyen Poster Design
John T. Nguyen

John T. Nguyen recently completed his Master of Public Health degree at the Brown University School of Public Health and graduated from UCLA as a biology major. His poster submission for the Treating and Defeating Hep C in Rhode Island Educational Conference was adapted from his thesis work with Drs. Brian Montague and Josiah Rich, entitled, "Burden of Hepatitis C at the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institutions: a Budget Impact Analysis of Scaling Up Treatment with New and Incoming HCV Therapeutics." As part of his research at the RI Department of Corrections (RIDOC), John worked with the RIDOC HCV Committee to utilize the electronic medical records system for improved HCV tracking and management.He also developed budgetary prediction models for comparative analysis of newly approved and upcoming HCV therapies as it pertains to RIDOC's efforts to effectively provide HCV treatment and care in corrections.

Elizabeth Kinnard Poster Design

Conference Contributors

Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH
Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH
Rachel Baden, MD
Rachel Baden, MD
Jeffrey Bratberg, Pharm D, BCPS
Jeffrey Bratberg, Pharm D, BCPS
Brian R. Edlin, MD
Brian R. Edlin, MD
Nkiruka Emeagwali MD, PhD, MS
Nkiruka Emeagwali, MD, PhD, MS
Camilla Graham, MD MPH
Camilla Graham, MD, MPH
Arthur Y. Kim, MD
Arthur Y. Kim, MD
Alain H. Litwin, MD, MPH
Alain H. Litwin, MD, MPH
Brandon DL Marshall, PhD
Brandon DL Marshall, PhD
Kittichai Promrat, MD
Kittichai Promrat, MD
Thomas E. Sepe, MD
Thomas E. Sepe, MD
Anne Spaulding, MD, MPH
Anne Spaulding, MD, MPH
John B. Wong, MD
John B. Wong, MD
Paul G. Loberti, MPH and Paul Fitzgerald, MSW
Paul G. Loberti, MPH and Paul Fitzgerald, MSW
Michaela Maynard, MPH and Lynn E. Taylor, MD
Michaela Maynard, MPH and Lynn E. Taylor, MD
Drs. Sepe, Graham, Bratberg, Marshall, Wong, Edlin
Drs. Sepe, Graham, Bratberg, Marshall

Hepatitis C: C is for Cure

RI EOHHS Monthly Educational Talkbacks Presents:
Hepatitis C: C is for Cure featuring Lynn E. Taylor, M.D.

This program was held on Monday, May 19th, 2014 at 4:00 PM at the Rochambeau Library located at 708 Hope St. in Providence. The keynote speaker was Lynn E. Taylor, M.D. who is an HIV specialist focusing on HIV and Viral hepatitis coinfection (infection with both HIV and viral hepatitis).

Sponsored by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. Ryan White Program

RI Defeats Hep C Poster Design Competition Results

  • 1st Place: Hayward H Gatch IV
Hayward H Gatch IV Poster Design
  • 2nd Place: Brandon Bruzzi
Brandon Bruzzi Poster Design

Event photographs by Brian DeMello
See the Photos

C is for Cure: A WaterFire Lighting for RI Defeats Hep C, in honor of World Hepatitis Day

  • July 26, 2014

C is for Cure: A WaterFire Lighting for RI Defeats Hep C www.waterfire.org, was held on July 26, 2014, in honor of World Hepatitis Day. The purpose of this event was to raise awareness; build Community, Connection, Cooperation, Camaraderie; help diminish stigma; inspire people to get tested and cured; and have a beautiful, family-oriented, artistic, musical, creative, enchanting, free summer night out on the town. Our WaterFire included entertainers, food, music, education, testing. Let’s put HCV on the map in RI, the U.S. and beyond!

WaterFire Providence is an independent, non-profit arts organization whose mission is to inspire its visitors by revitalizing the urban experience, fostering community engagement and creatively transforming the city by presenting WaterFire for all to enjoy. WaterFire centers around the installation of 80 bonfires floating on Providence’s 3 rivers. It attracts a large (about 65,000 people for each WaterFire event), diverse group of visitors (over 50% from out of state) and draws a strong international crowd. Recently, WaterFire has expanded with fires in Ohio, Missouri, Texas, Pennsylvania and with unique lightings in Singapore and Rome.

RID Hep C was privileged to welcome Scott Holmberg, MD, MPH, to kick off our July 26, 2014 -C is for Cure: Waterfire Lighting

John T. Nguyen

Dr. Scott Holmberg is the Chief of the Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch, Division of Viral Hepatitis, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). His unit is responsible for national surveillance for and outbreak investigations of hepatitis A,B,C,D and E. Dr. Holmberg is a leader in the CDC’s focus on hepatitis C in the U.S. He works to improve opportunities to improve identification and care of people with hepatitis C and decrease hospitalizations and deaths resulting from hepatitis C (Holmberg SD, et al. Hepatitis C in the United States. N Engl J Med. 2013 May 16;368(20):1859-61). Dr. Holmberg was the first to present CDC findings that there are more Americans dying now from hepatitis C than from HIV/AIDS.


Current projects include the Chronic Hepatitis Cohort Study involving thousands of hepatitis B and C patients; analysis of ‘NHANES’ data from >5,000 randomly selected households/year in the U.S.; and analyses of several large national datasets related to hepatitis morbidity and mortality. Dr. Holmberg’s work with outbreaks started as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia (1971-73) in the World Health Organization (WHO) Smallpox Eradication Programme, after undergraduate studies at Harvard. Thereafter, he attended Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons (1975-9), trained in internal medicine at RI’s own Roger Williams Hospital, Providence (1979-82), and CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (1982-85). For 19 years (1986 – 2005), Dr. Holmberg was Chief of the Clinical Epidemiology Section in CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, where he started and supervised many large studies of HIV/AIDS. Dr. Holmberg has authored or co-authored over 230 medical journal articles and is the recipient of several high US Public Health Service and CDC awards.

  • Rhode Island Medical Journal: One WaterFire Torch, One Life Remembered
Rhode Island Medical Journal

Restricting Access to New Treatments for Hepatitis C Virus Among People Who Use Drugs: Is this ethical or justifiable based on the available data?

  • Wednesday, November 12th 2014 8:30-9:30 a.m.

Join us for a lecture by Jason Grebely, PhD, a global leader in the field of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection epidemiology. Areas of expertise include: impact of HCV treatment on population mortality; role of opiate replacement therapy in the treatment of HCV; acute HCV; feasibility and benefits of HCV elimination; treatment of HCV in people who inject drugs; HIV/HCV coinfection; and HCV treatment as prevention. Dr. Grebely is a driving force of the International Network on Hepatitis in Substance Users (INHSU), and spearheaded the INHSU’s CID 2013 supplement, “Moving the Agenda Forward: the Prevention and Management of HCV among People who Inject Drugs.” Dr. Grebely received his PhD from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada and currently works at the University of New South Wales in Sydney Australia.

For more information please contact Shahla Yekta PhD, MPH 401-793-7786

Meet The Team

Lynn E. Taylor
Lynn E. Taylor, MD Director
In May 2013, Lynn E. Taylor was awarded a Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship entitled, "Rhode Island Defeats Hep C.” She is a viral hepatitis, HIV/AIDS and primary care physician focusing on prevention and treatment of HCV and hepatitis B viruses in vulnerable populations and on the primary care of people living with HIV. She developed and directs Miriam Hospital's HIV/Viral Hepatitis Coinfection Program. Her research, patient care, teaching and community-based efforts involve extending HCV care to persons with HIV and co-existing substance disorders, and improving HCV screening, diagnosis and treatment uptake.
Paul Fitzgerald
Paul Fitzgerald
Paul Fitzgerald MSW is the Executive Director/CEO of AIDS Care Ocean State.  Paul founded the Family AIDS Center for Treatment (FACTS) in 1987 to address mother to child transmission of HIV. He worked tirelessly with community members to establish housing, preventative care, and counseling to families affected by HIV/AIDS.  Paul has always been a huge advocate and supporter of the HCV community.  He helped start Rhode Island’s first free confidential, fully integrated HIV and HCV testing site.  The goals were to increase awareness throughout the community, increase access to testing, and make referrals to care as seamless as possible. Paul Fitzgerald has been a guiding light for the community and continues to lead his organization on the bright path.
Raynald Joseph
Raynald Joseph ACOS Prevention Supervisor
Raynald Joseph has been the Prevention Supervisor for AIDS Care Ocean State (ACOS) for 4 years. As the Prevention Supervisor he oversees all things prevention, including the Street Outreach program, ENCORE (RI’s only Needle Exchange Program), Hepatitis A and B Vaccination program, and HIV and HCV/hepatitis B testing. Raynald is passionate about the work he does. He loves the opportunity to connect with clients and link them to the care and services they need.
ACOS Prevention Center Website
Osvaldo Lugo
Osvaldo Lugo ACOS Prevention Specialist/Outreach Coordinator
Osvaldo Lugo has been the Prevention Specialist/Outreach Coordinator for AIDS Care Ocean State (ACOS) for 3 years. As the Prevention Specialist/Outreach Coordinator, Osvaldo is the key person for all off-site testing. Osvaldo organizes and runs all special testing events. He also organizes and runs the Street Outreach program, setting up a schedule which includes venue locations and times for the street outreach workers.
Brad Brockmann
Brad Brockmann Consultant & Liaison
Brad Brockmann is the first Executive Director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights in Providence. The Center seeks to advance the health and human rights of prisoners and other criminal justice populations through education, research, and advocacy. Brad is a civil rights litigator who has been advocating on behalf of prisoners for over a decade. For RI Defeats HepC, he will recruit and oversee college students working on the project, consult on healthcare reform issues, and serve as liaison to the Department of Corrections to develop a health education campaign at the state prison and in probation/parole.
Brandon Marshall
Brandon Marshall, Ph.D. Mathematical Modeler
Dr. Marshall's research interests focus on substance use epidemiology and the social, environmental, and structural determinants of health of urban populations. In particular, his work seeks to inform public health and policy interventions that improve the health of drug users. With RI Defeats Hep C, he will be applying mathematical modeling tools to determine the most effective way to prevent, treat, and defeat hepatitis C in Rhode Island.
Learn More…
Omar Galárraga
Omar Galárraga, Ph.D. Economist
Omar Galárraga, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at Brown University, School of Public Health (Department of Health Services, Policy & Practice) where he teaches and conducts research on economic aspects of prevention and treatment of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, including economic incentives interventions. His research appears in health economics and public health journals. His teaching includes topics on HIV/AIDS disparities, large dataset statistical analysis, and global health economics. His role in Rhode Island Defeats Hep C will include modeling the economic impact of the proposed interventions including potential cost-effectiveness and cost-savings at the state level.
Learn More…
Keith McManus
Keith McManus Video Producer
Keith McManus is a Rhode Island based video producer that has spent 25 years working in broadcast television and multimedia production. His experience includes a multitude of skills that made him the perfect collaborated to distill and present the issues of Hep C to public. He has a passion for story telling, social justice, and bringing about positive change in the world. His 2 minute video was the essential link in winning the RI Foundation Fellowship Grant that launched our efforts.
Megan Pinkston-Camp, M.A., Ph.D. Consulting Psychologist
Megan Pinkston-Camp, M.A., Ph.D. is a clinical health psychologist who provides evidence-based treatments to persons with HCV and HIV. She works with patients before and during their course of HCV treatment by providing care for mental health and/or substance use concerns to facilitate HCV treatment initiation and completion. She runs a support group for people living with both HIV and HCV. Dr. Pinkston has extensive training and experience in the fields of addiction, mental health, HIV and HCV. For RI Defeats Hep C, Dr. Pinkston-Camp will work with Dr. Taylor to develop innovative group HCV treatment models to expand Rhode Island’s capacity to treat more people for HCV.
Jeffrey Bratberg
Jeffrey Bratberg, PharmD Collaborating Pharmacist
Dr. Bratberg collaborates with physicians on infectious diseases patient consultations at Roger Williams Medical Center and teaches in and coordinates all of the infectious diseases courses at the University of Rhode Island (URI) College of Pharmacy. His research interests include expanding pharmacists’ roles in public health, particularly in HIV/HCV, prevention of opioid drug overdose and death, and expanding immunization practices. Jeffrey is an immunization, drug overdose prevention and emergency preparedness consultant to the Rhode Island Department of Health. Dr. Taylor's invited lecture on viral hepatitis to PharmD students at URI has been a highlight of the infectious diseases core curriculum for several years. This fruitful collaboration continues with Dr. Bratberg's work on RI Defeats Hep C to develop, review, and maintain HCV treatment protocols for HCV treating physicians in RI.
Jules Levin
Jules Levin Inspiration
Jules Levin spearheaded New York City (NYC)’s HCV demonstration project and raised millions of dollars in private funding to do so. He is the founder and Executive Director of the National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project (NATAP), an internet resource for global HIV and hepatitis conference coverage and scientific information. NATAP has been a leader in HCV education and information and in policy/advocacy since 1995. Over 17,000 individuals have attended NATAP events. As an advocate and activist, Mr. Levin has put HCV and HIV/HCV coinfection on the map; Mr. Levin has been a leader in the in NYC, NY state and federal HIV and viral hepatitis advocacy communities since the early 1990s, with numerous achievements that have changed the course of hepatitis-related policy and service delivery across the nation. Jules Levin lives with HIV and was coinfected with HCV for 30 years prior to being successfully treated and cured of HCV.
Boris Bally
Boris Bally Artistic Consultant & Advisor
Artistic Consultant and Advisor to the project, Bally maintains a thriving art/metals/design studio in Providence. He is the recipient of the 2006 Individual Achievement Award for Visual Arts presented by the Arts & Business Council of Rhode Island. His work has received two Rhode Island Council on the Arts Fellowships in Design and a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Crafts Fellowship. Bally’s work is featured in numerous international exhibitions and publications. Public collections include London’s V&A Museum, Museum of Art & Design New York, Carnegie Museum of Art Pittsburgh, Brooklyn Museum, Renwick Gallery and Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum. An example of his anti-gun violence work in Rhode Island may be seen across from the Courthouse on North Main Street.
Shepard Fairey
Shepard Fairey Juror
World-renowned RI artist Shepard Fairey will be the Juror for RI Defeats Hep C’s Poster Competition.  Fairey is a contemporary artist and designer. He is also the person behind OBEY GIANT, graphics he started when he was a RISD student.  These graphics have changed the way people see art and the urban landscape, and have evolved into a worldwide street art campaign and a body of fine art.  Fairey's art reached widespread acclaim in 2008, when his "HOPE" portrait of Barack Obama became the image of the presidential campaign. The original image now hangs in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.  The posters selected by Fairey will win an award and will be used in state-wide hepatitis C awareness efforts.

Press What people are saying…

Rhode Island Public Radio

At The Crossroads, Part 6: Veterans Harder Hit By Hep C

  • December 5, 2014
  • By Kristin Gourlay

In our ongoing series about hepatitis C, we look now at one of the hardest hit populations: veterans. Hep C is three times more prevalent among vets than in the general population. The Veterans Health Administration has the country’s largest hepatitis C screening and treatment program in the country…

Read More
The Brown Daily Herald

R.I. Medicaid limits supply of Hepatitis C drug due to cost

  • December 4, 2014
  • By Emma Jerzyk

Rhode Island’s Medicaid program decided in September to ration the delivery of Sovaldi, a prescription drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year to cure chronic Hepatitis C, due to the drug’s high cost and the relatively high prevalence of the virus among Medicaid enrollees in the state…

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Rhode Island Public Radio

At The Crossroads, Part 5: The Uncomfortable Math Of Hep C Treatment

  • November 26, 2014
  • By Kristin Gourlay

What’s the price of a human life? Many of us would say each life is priceless. But health economists sometimes have a number in mind.

Want to know what that number is?

In this part of our series “At the Crossroads: The Rise of Hepatitis C and The Fight To Stop It,” we'll tell you that - and more…

Read More
Rhode Island Public Radio

At The Crossroads, Part 4: New Hep C Drugs Promise A Cure, For A Big Price

  • November 20, 2014
  • By Kristin Gourlay

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the discovery of the hepatitis C virus. Since then, people with hepatitis C have had limited – and not very effective – options for treatment.

Until now.

Revolutionary new treatments have hit the market in just the last few months…

Read More

Let's Eliminate Hep C
Spotlight: Lynn E. Taylor

  • Fall 2014
  • By Elaine Vitone

The ever-widening epidemic of hepatitis C virus—the leading cause of liver transplants in the United States—has long been ignored and neglected, says Lynn E. Taylor (MD ’97), assistant professor of medicine at Brown. This is partly because of its stigma, and partly because the real weight of it is just beginning to hit…

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WaterFire Helping RI Defeat Hep C

Dr. Lynn E. Taylor Partners with WaterFire to Help Eradicate hepatitis C in Rhode Island

  • Fall 2014

On Sat., July 26th, 65,000 people gathered to watch the ring of fire and ensuing ceremony as 100 physicians and persons at the forefront of the fight to eradicate hepatitis C in Rhode Island encircled Waterplace Park basin with torches alite…

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Rhode Island Public Radio

At The Crossroads, Part 3: As Old Hepatitis C Treatment Fades Out, New Treatments Stoke Hope

  • November 12, 2014
  • By Kristin Gourlay

In just a few weeks, another pharmaceutical company will likely win FDA approval for a new drug to cure hepatitis C. That makes three breakthrough medications hitting the market in less than a year. It’s big news for the estimated twenty thousand Rhode Islanders…

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Rhode Island Public Radio

At The Crossroads, Part 2: Finding Hep C Infections Before It's Too Late

  • November 3, 2014
  • By Kristin Gourlay

Hepatitis C infects an estimated five million Americans, nearly 20-thousand Rhode Islanders among them. And most of them don’t know it. But many are about to find out. It takes about 20 years for most people to notice any symptoms from hepatitis C, and it was about that long ago most people got infected…

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Rhode Island Public Radio

At The Crossroads, Part 1: A Tale Of Two Epidemics

  • October 21, 2014
  • By Kristin Gourlay

One infectious disease – Ebola – is dominating the headlines now. But there’s another that affects far more people around the world, including here in the U.S.

Hepatitis C infects an estimated five million Americans, though most of them don’t know it, because it takes years for symptoms to emerge…

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Brown Medicine

Front and Center
Lynn Taylor moves hepatitis C from the sidelines to the mainstream.

  • Fall 2014
  • By Kris Cambra

At the bus stop, in the supermarket, on the playground, strangers whisper their closely held secrets to Lynn E. Taylor, MD RES’00 F’05: “My husband has hepatitis C. My sister died of it. I have it.”

These impromptu confessions do more than illustrate the stigma that still surrounds the virus. They prove that Taylor has become a powerful voice for awareness, screening, and treatment in Rhode Island…

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Providence Business News

Five Questions With: Dr. Lynn Taylor

  • September 1, 2014
  • By Harold Ambler

PBN: Are people reluctant to participate in hepatitis C screenings? If so, why are they reluctant?

TAYLOR: As we address hepatitis C in a more comprehensive way, we need to consider barriers at the patient level, physician level, and systems level. I do not think that people are reluctant to be screened for hepatitis C once they are made aware…

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Rhode Island Public Radio

On World Hepatitis Day, An Invitation

  • July 28, 2014
  • By Kristin Gourlay

Baby boomers are five times as likely to have chronic hepatitis C as any other age group. That's why the CDC launched a public health campaign to encourage boomers to get screened for the disease. And so, in honor of World Hepatitis Day, I invite---no, I encourage--boomers to get tested for hepatitis C…

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Dr. Lynn Taylor - hepatitis C

  • July 26, 2014
  • By Steve Klamkin

PODCAST: Learn about Dr. Lynn Taylor's effort to eliminate hepatitis C in Rhode Island.

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WaterFire to help raise awareness of hepatitis C

  • July 25, 2014
  • By The Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ This weekend's WaterFire will feature free hepatitis screenings to help raise awareness of a virus that affects an estimated 17,000 Rhode Islanders…

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WaterFire lights flame for those affected by Hep C

  • July 25, 2014
  • By Macey Farnsworth with Angie Angers

Providence is suiting up to recognize the millions of Americans living with Hepatitis C this Saturday at WaterFire.

Sponsored by Gilead, a company who aids those living with life threatening diseases, C is for Cure: A WaterFire Lighting for RI Defeats Hep C will kick off this Saturday night…

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The Rhode Island Foundation

Hep C taking spotlight at Waterfire

  • July 25, 2014
  • By Chris Barnett

A statewide campaign to eliminate hepatitis C in Rhode Island will offer people free, confidential screenings at Waterfire this Saturday beginning at 6 p.m. on the College Street Bridge…

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Rhode Island Public Radio

WaterFire Lighting Spotlights Hepatitis C

  • July 25, 2014
  • By Kristin Gourlay

This Saturday, WaterFire Providence is dedicated to raising awareness about hepatitis C. Organizers are offering free hepatitis C screenings at the event.

WaterFire volunteers will light more than eighty bonfires along the downtown river on Saturday night. A group called Rhode Island Defeats Hep C, led by Dr. Lynn Taylor, organized the lighting…

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Providence Journal

RI boomers urged to get screened for hepatitis C

  • July 24, 2014
  • By Thomas J. Morgan

PROVIDENCE — The dome of the State House will glow yellow starting Saturday in recognition of a “silent epidemic” of hepatitis C, only recently recognized, that is sweeping through America’s baby boomers…

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Medicare Will Cover Hepatitis C Screening for Baby Boomers and People at Risk

  • June 4, 2014

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced this week that Medicare will cover hepatitis C virus (HCV) screening for adults born between 1945 and 1965, as well as others considered at risk…

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The Miriam Hospital

Waterfire’s Barnaby Evans and Bronwyn Dannenfelser “interviewed” Dr. Lynn Taylor on AM RADIO

  • July 23, 2014

Dr. Lynn Taylor discusses Hepatitis C and the RI Defeats Hep C WaterFire scheduled for July 26, 2014 on am790's WaterFire Ignites Rhode Island.

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The Miriam Hospital

Miriam Hospital physician advocates awareness and collaboration to combat peaking hepatitis C epidemic

  • July 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Lynn E. Taylor, M.D., director of The Miriam Hospital’s HIV/Viral Hepatitis Coinfection program, states in the July, 2014 Rhode Island Medical Journal special edition, “RI Defeats Hep C” that eliminating hepatitis c virus infection (hep c or HCV) is feasible…

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WaterFire Providence

WaterFire Announces Details Of Next Full Lighting On Saturday, July 26

  • July 17, 2014

WaterFire Providence, the award-winning sculpture by artist Barnaby Evans, announces the details of the next full lighting of the 2014 season, Saturday, July 26th. This lighting is sponsored by Gilead Sciences, Inc…

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World Health Organization

Partners sign call to action on hepatitis

  • June 5, 2014

Participants of the first global partners' meeting on hepatitis convened by WHO in March 2014 agree on a historic "Call to action to scale up global hepatitis response"…

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Rhode Island Department of Health

HEALTH Recognizes Local Physician for Excellence In Hepatitis C Testing, Connecting to Care, and Treatment

  • May 19, 2014

In recognition of National Hepatitis Testing Day on May 19, the Rhode Island Department of Health’s Division of Infectious Disease and Epidemiology, Office of HIV/AIDS & Viral Hepatitis has honored Lynn E. Taylor, M.D…

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NIDA Insite

Dr. Jag Khalsa
May 2014’s Who’s Who at NIDA

  • May 2014

May 2014’s Who’s Who at NIDA features Dr. Jag Khalsa, Chief, Medical Consequences Branch, Division of Pharmacotherapies and Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse, NIDA, champion of research on addiction and its medical consequences of HCV and HIV…

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Rhode Island Medical Women's Association

Lynn E. Taylor, MD, FACP
2014 Woman Physician of the Year

  • April 16, 2014

Lynn E. Taylor, MD, FACP will be honored as the 2014 Rhode Island Medical Women’s Association (RIMWA) Physician of the Year at its annual meeting and dinner on Tuesday, May 13 at the Providence Marriott…

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Johnson & Wales University

Hayward Gatch IV ’14 placed first in RI Defeats HepC Poster Design Competition

  • Winter 2014

RI DEFEATS HEP C (ridefeatshepc.com) recently announced that student Hayward Gatch IV ’14 placed first in its HepC Poster Design Competition…

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AIDS Care Ocean State

"C"is for CURE

  • September 2013
  • By Kalene Brennan

Earlier this year, the Rhode Island Foundation announced their 2013 Innovation Fellows. Out of a pool of 180 original proposals, AIDSCare Ocean State's Medical Director, Dr. Lynn E. Taylor…

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Dr. Lynn Taylor Joins International Colleagues in Calling for Better Management of Hepatitis C Among Drug Users

  • August 2013

A Miriam Hospital researcher has joined forces with international colleagues to call for new strategies to better manage and improve assessment and treatment for hepatitis C…

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RI Innovation Fellowship winners chosen

  • April 30, 2013
  • WPRI

An interview with Rhode Island Fellowship winners Lynn Taylor and Adrienne Gagnon on The Rhode Show…

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R.I. Foundation awards two innovation fellowships

  • April 25, 2013
  • By Mariya Bashkatova

Lynn Taylor, assistant professor of medicine at Alpert Medical School and attending physician at Miriam Hospital, and Adrienne Gagnon, executive director and co-founder of Downcity Design, were each awarded a three-year Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship to fund their efforts…

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The Miriam Hospital

Lynn E. Taylor, MD, Receives Prestigious 2013 Rhode Island Foundation Innovation Fellowship

  • April 18, 2013

Lynn E. Taylor, MD, an HIV and viral hepatitis specialist, primary care physician and director of the HIV/Viral Hepatitis Coinfection Program at The Miriam Hospital, is one of two recipients of the 2013 Rhode Island Innovation Fellowship…

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2013 Rhode Island Innovation Fellows to focus on 'design thinking' and eradication of Hepatitis C

  • April 16, 2013

From a pool of 180 applicants, Adrienne Gagnon and Lynn Taylor have been selected as 2013 Rhode Island Innovation Fellows. Congratulations, Lynn and Adrienne!

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Many Thanks…

  • Renso Acevedo
  • Rob Adamoski
  • Naomi Adjei
  • Nicole Alexander-Scott
  • Ijeoma Azodo
  • Alex Bally
  • Boris Bally
  • Doris Bally
  • Corinne Barber
  • Soumitri Barua
  • Judy Bentkover
  • Donna Blais
  • Tim Blankenship
  • Christopher Botelho
  • Samantha Bowen
  • Norbert Bräu
  • Brad Brockmann
  • Dolores Brooks
  • Peggy Brown
  • Brown University Alpert Medical School
  • Brandon Bruzzi
  • Mike Bryce
  • Maria Burgo
  • Ali Caine
  • Marlene Callahan
  • Kris Cambra
  • Charles CJ Carpenter
  • Ken Carpenter
  • Jane Carter
  • Beverly Case
  • Phil Chan
  • Kim Chapin
  • Sandra Cheng
  • Sapna Chowdhry
  • Bronwyn Dannenfelser
  • Theresa Desautels
  • Tyler Devlin
  • Joan Doppke
  • Malinda Ellwood
  • Nkiruka Emeagwali
  • Alan Epstein
  • Barnaby Evans
  • Elena Falcone-Relvas
  • Gabriel Fernandez
  • Katie Fillion
  • Paul Fitzgerald
  • Ryan Fugate
  • Melissa Gaitanis
  • Justina Gamache
  • Leslie Gardner
  • Elenita Goris
  • Christine Goulette
  • Camilla Suzanne Graham
  • Jason Grebely
  • Rabbi Leslie Gutterman
  • Sue Hart
  • Claire Haynes
  • Jennifer Hoffer
  • Scott Holmberg
  • Melanie Holmberg
  • Karen Isselbacher
  • Marjorie Janvier
  • Breanne Johnson
  • Jeff Johnson
  • Laura E. Johnson
  • Betsy Jones
  • Raynald Joseph
  • Brett D. Kalmowitz
  • Susan Kaplan
  • Patricia Kaplan Bowen
  • David Katzevich
  • Jag Khalsa
  • Arthur Kim
  • Janet Korins
  • Mary Korr
  • Kenneth Korr
  • Elsa Larson
  • Tammy Lederer
  • Angela Lemire
  • Jason Levine
  • Benjamin Linas
  • Liquor Wicks Candles
  • Paul Loberti
  • Manuel Lopez
  • Oz Lugo
  • Mario Luis
  • Cindy MacLeod
  • Brandon Marshall
  • Paula Martesian
  • Keith McManus
  • Tom McQuaid
  • Jen McWeeney
  • Roberta Meglio
  • Peter Mello
  • Brandie Millovitsch
  • Brian Montague
  • Amanda Noska
  • Amy Nunn
  • Steven Peligian
  • Megan Pinkston
  • Diane Plante
  • Joe Reddish
  • Rhode Island Organ Donor Awareness Coalition (RIODAC)
  • RI Blood Center
  • Lou Rice
  • Laryl Riley
  • Andrea Ritter
  • Mike Rizzi
  • Joanne Rodgers
  • Heather Ross
  • Ginna Schiapo
  • Samir Shah
  • Edwin Silva
  • John A. Simonetti
  • Sophie Sprecht-Walsh
  • Janet Steig
  • Karen Tashima
  • Judith Taylor
  • Arnold Taylor
  • Aila TaylorBally
  • Etai Taylor Bally
  • Patricia Threats
  • Caitlin Towey
  • Judith Tsui
  • Sheila Tumilty
  • University Medicine
  • Darren Wells
  • Ivan Wolfson
  • Lola Wright
  • Ali Zaman
  • Daniel Zariczny
  • Yidan Zeng
  • Brett Schneider
  • David Comer
  • Charles Fagundes
  • Amy Rasmussen
  • Naomi Adjei
  • Angelica Meinhofer
  • Christoph Schorl
  • Alex Reda
  • Julia Harvey
  • Nell Baldwin
  • Chloe Day
  • Alicia Lu
  • Katie Baird
  • Meredith Wasserman
  • Rebecca Bracken
  • Katherine Taylor
  • Rebecca Slotkin
  • Jing Wang
  • Soumitri Barua
  • Nathaniel Nelson
  • Kevin Simmons
  • Michelle Koh