C is for Cure: A WaterFire Lighting for RI Defeats Hep C, In Honor of World Hepatitis Day
RID Hep C’s third annual “C is for Cure: A WaterFire Lighting for RI Defeats Hep C,” was held on Saturday, August 6, 2016, in honor of World Hepatitis Day. The purpose of this event was to raise awareness;; help diminish stigma; inspire people to get tested and cured; thank those working to eliminate HCV in Rhode Island and beyond; encourage expanded commitment to eliminating HCV in Rhode Island and beyond; and to provide a family-oriented, artistic, musical, free summer night in beautiful downtown Providence. Our WaterFire included entertainers, food, music, education, and free, confidential Hep C testing.
The 2016 HCV WaterFireTorchbearers honored Barbara McGovern, MD. Dr. McGovern was Dr. Taylor’s mentor. As Cami Graham MD MPH said as the Torchbearers gathered, Dr. McGovern trained a generation of HCV physicians and researchers all over the U.S. We were fortunate to have Dr. McGovern present as a Torchbearer on August 6.
This year, one key Torchbearer was missing – Dr. Steven Peligian, who died on November 16, 2015. The 2016 HCV WaterFire Torchbearers paid tribute to Dr. Peligian for his extraordinary vision, compassion, contributions and commitment to those living with and at risk for HCV. An empty Torch and yellow flowers represented the place Dr. Peligian stood at 2015’s HCV WaterFire. Dr. Peligian will always be remembered and will always be missed.
In addition to our lead Torchbearer Dr. Brian Edlin of the CDC (biography below), we welcomed Ms. Corinna Dan, RN, MPH, Viral Hepatitis Policy Advisor at the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As the Viral Hepatitis Policy Advisor, Ms. Dan has worked to implement the National Viral Hepatitis Action Plan, a comprehensive cross-agency action plan to address viral hepatitis in the U.S. Prior to joining the Office of HIV/AIDS, Ms. Dan served as the Hepatitis B Policy Fellow at the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO). In this role, Ms. Dan worked with community leaders and policy makers to promote improved prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care of viral hepatitis in Asian American communities across the United States. Before joining AAPCHO, Ms. Dan held positions in the Hepatitis Foundation International (Chief Operating Officer) and the Chicago Department of Public Health (Hepatitis C Virus Program Coordinator).
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 is an award-winning artistic event featuring over eighty lit bonfire basins along three rivers in downtown Providence, RI. The event attracts approximately 65,000 people per event, including a diverse group of visitors (over 50% of attendees are from out of state) and 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 is PRIVILEGED TO WELCOME Brian Edlin, MD TO KICK OFF OUR August 6, 2016 -C IS FOR CURE: WATERFIRE LIGHTING
Dr. Brian Edlin is the Chief Medical Officer for the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Edlin has been engaged in research, surveillance, and policy aspects of infectious diseases for 25 years. He has been at the forefront of efforts to expand access to hepatitis C prevention, screening, and treatment, remove barriers to treatment for people who use illicit drugs, and promote the elimination of hepatitis C.
Dr. Edlin began his career in 1989 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer in the CDC’s Division for HIV/AIDS Prevention. He remained there for 8 years, serving as Acting Assistant Director for Science in that Division during his last year. In 1997, he was recruited to direct the Urban Health Study at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), which was then the longest-running longitudinal study in the world of people who inject illicit drugs. In 2003, Dr. Edlin joined the Center for the Study of Hepatitis C in New York to establish an epidemiologic research program. For the past 20 years, he has conducted community-based research with people who inject illicit drugs in San Francisco and New York. Dr. Edlin has served on the faculty of UCSF, Weill Cornell Medical College, and SUNY Downstate College of Medicine. He is the author of more than 100 publications in medical and scientific journals, and received the Charles C. Shepard Science Award for his work at CDC. He holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and received his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.