HCV Health Equity Forum

The presenters were asked to highlight what their program has done to reduce health care inequities in people living with HCV and answer the following questions.

1. What evidence-based best practices and innovative approaches have you utilized to reduce disparities in incidence, morbidity, and mortality associated with viral hepatitis at the population level?

2. What are the key challenges to implementing, evaluating, and scaling up interventions that will reduce these disparities?

3. What are the social and structural factors/social determinants of health pathways that should be addressed to reduce these disparities? And how are you addressing these factors and which strategies have been most successful?

4. What are the gaps?

About the Presenters

Matthew J Akiyama, MD, MSc

Dr. Matthew Akiyama is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Clinician-Investigator in the Divisions of General Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Albert Einstein College of Medicine & Montefiore Medical Center. In addition to providing care and treatment to people living with HIV, HCV, and substance use disorders, Dr. Akiyama conducts NIH- and institutionally-funded research focusing on HCV among socioeconomically marginalized populations with particular emphasis on the intersection of HCV and the criminal legal system.

Matthew has no disclosures to report.

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Ray Joseph

Raynald Joseph is the Prevention Supervisor for AIDS Care Ocean State (ACOS), the primary community-based organization servicing people living with HIV in Rhode Island. While at ACOS I have worked in a number of positions including Outreach Worker, Prevention Worker, and Prevention Specialist/Outreach Coordinator which has given me intimate knowledge and understanding of the needs and perspectives of these various populations.  As the Prevention Supervisor, I currently manage all of the prevention programs within ACOS including Rhode Island’s only needle exchange program ENCORE. In this role I work with many HIV and HCV-vulnerable populations and have particular experience with People Who Use Drugs and have acquired or may be at risk of acquiring HCV.  I am deeply passionate about the community I live and work in.  Working and serving in the community that I have grown up in has allowed me to give back in numerous ways; 1. I am able to provide education and services to a vulnerable population, in a manner that is well received. 2. I am able to empower the community by hiring and working with people that reflect and come from the community served by ACOS.

I also serve as the Co-Chair for the Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Community Engaged Research Council (C-CERC), where I work closely with researchers and leaders of other community-based organizations as well as the Rhode Island Department of Health in strategic planning for HIV research in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  This position has provided me with experience in connecting communities and patients to the research community, as well as translating the needs of those I represent to world-class researchers.

View the presentation here.

P. Todd Korthuis, MD, MPH

Dr. Korthuis is Professor of Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, Addiction Medicine Section Chief, and Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program Director. He graduated from University of Health Sciences/Chicago Medical School in 1991, primary care internal medicine residency and chief residency at Yale University in 1999, and a health services research fellowship and MPH at University of California Los Angeles in 2002. He began his career caring for patients living with HIV and substance use disorders. His research focuses on integration of pharmacotherapy for substance use disorder treatment in diverse health care settings, including primary care, HIV clinic, and rural settings. He serves as Principal Investigator for several multi-site, NIH-funded clinical trials including: CTN-0067 CHOICES trial of extended-release naltrexone in North American HIV clinics; BRAVO trial of buprenorphine for opioid use disorder in Vietnam HIV clinics; Oregon HOPE study to improve engagement in opioid use disorder treatment in rural Oregon counties; and the PROUD-R2 trial to support retention in people with opioid use disorder in rural Oregon, Ohio, and Kentucky. He is Co-Principal Investigator for the Western States Node of the National Institute of Drug Abuse Clinical Trials Network that conducts clinical trials of opioid, methamphetamine, and cocaine use disorders. Honors include the 2008 Lawrence S. Linn Award for research that improves the lives of people living with HIV and a 2012-2013 Fulbright Scholar award to study integration of HIV and addiction care in Vietnam.

Todd has no disclosures to report.

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Judith Leahy, MPH

Judith Leahy, MPH has been with the Oregon Health Authority since 2009, serving as the Adult Viral Hepatitis Prevention Coordinator with the state’s Public Health Division from 2009 to 2022 before transitioning to the state’s Health System Division to serve as the Harm Reduction and Public Health Intervention Strategist for the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant. In this new role, Judith works with state and local partners to implement harm reduction centered initiatives and interventions, including the Save Lives Oregon/Salvando Vidas Oregon Initiative, the Peer Recovery in Medical Establishments plus HIV/HCV testing and linkage to treatment (PRIME+), Peer Assisted Treatment HIV/HCV and Syphilis (PATHs) and more. Oregon uses a substance use centered syndemic model, working across programs and divisions to integrate and leverage work that address overdoses, infections, and injuries. Judith has been a learner and practitioner of harm reduction since volunteering with outreach and syringe exchange programs in the 1990’s, and working nearly two decades with the California community-based nonprofit organizations, Project Inform and Centerforce. Project Inform was a national community-based non-profit HIV treatment information and advocacy organization. Centerforce was a San Francisco Bay Area non-profit that provided a broad range of health, re-entry, peer and mentoring programs that served people incarcerated within local jails and the California state prison system, their families and loved ones.

Jude has no disclosures to report.

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Anthony Martinez, MD, AAHIVS, FAASLD

Anthony Martinez, MD, AAHIVS, is Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Buffalo, Medical Director of Hepatology at Erie County Medical Center, and Attending Physician at Buffalo General Medical Center in New York. He received his medical degree from Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Mexico, and completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence, RI, and fellowship in Addiction Medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City. His clinical research interests include treatment outcomes in special populations infected with HCV as well as novel models of HCV care delivery including telemedicine, integration of community health clinics, and prison-based therapy. Dr Martinez has authored or coauthored several peer-reviewed articles that have been published in journals such as Journal of Viral Hepatitis, Journal of Practice Management, and Current Hepatitis Reports. He is a member of the American Academy of HIV Medicine, American Society of Addiction Medicine, American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, and National Hispanic Medical Association.

Anthony has the following disclosures:

Speaking: Abbvie, Gilead
Consulting: Abbvie, Gilead, Eisai, Antios, Intercept
Research: Gilead, Abbvie

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Brianna Norton, DO, MPH

Dr. Brianna Norton is an associate professor of medicine in the Divisions of General Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/ Montefiore Medical Center. Her clinical work includes the treatment of HCV, HIV, and opioid use disorder. She conducts research to improve linkage to HCV care and treatment for people who inject drugs. She is also the medical director of OnPoint, an overdose prevention center, in East Harlem.

Brianna has no disclosures to report.

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Andrew Seaman, MD, MPH

Andy Seaman (he/they) is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, the Medical Director of Hepatitis and HIV Services at Portland, Oregon’s Central City Concern, and the Director of Substance Use Disorder Services at Better Life Partners, a harm reduction-based opioid use disorder treatment program. He is boarded in internal medicine and addiction medicine. He is a harm reductionist, educator, researcher, and activist for substance decriminalization, overdose prevention sites, and the rights of people who use drugs. His research centers on the intersection of hepatitis C and injection drug use and the implementation of harm reduction into health systems.

Andy has the following disclosure:

I have received investigator-initiated research support from Merck, Abbvie, and Gilead FOCUS Foundation

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Andrew H. Talal, MD, MPH

Andrew Talal, MD, MPH is a physician-scientist with more than 20 years’ experience in treating hepatitis C virus (HCV), especially among substance users. He is currently Professor of Medicine at SUNY, University at Buffalo where he has been the principal investigator on a 7-year, $8 million award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to study a facilitated telemedicine model-based HCV treatment among patients in treatment for opioid use disorder. The study consists of 12 telemedicine sites across New York State conducting integrated treatment of HCV and opiate use disorder. The study has also been supported by ~$4 million from the Kaleida Health Foundation over the past 8 years. Dr. Talal was also appointment by the New York Governor to a task force to develop a statewide HCV elimination plan and he also serves on the NYS HCV Guidelines committee. He also has active funding from the NIH to study factors leading to HCV elimination, and he is a practicing physician evaluating patients for liver diseases.

Andrew has the following Disclosures: 

Grant/Research Support

Merck, Gilead, Abbott Laboratories, Intercept, Genfit, BMS, Eli Lilly and Co.

Committee /Advisor


Speaker’s Bureau

Chronic Liver Disease Foundation

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Lynn E. Taylor, MD, FACP, FAASLD

Lynn E. Taylor MD, FAASLD, FIDSA, FACP, is a viral hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, internal medicine and primary care physician, clinical researcher, educator and public health advocate focused on prevention and treatment of hepatitis C virus infection (HCV) in vulnerable populations. She provides longitudinal primary and subspecialty care to patients with infectious consequences of addiction. For 25 years she has worked to enhance HIV and viral hepatitis prevention and treatment and whole-person care for people who inject drugs (PWID) and persons contending with opioid use disorder. Her patient care, research, teaching, policy and community-based efforts involve expanding access to HCV care and HCV elimination. She has worked on numerous NIH, ACTG, CSAT/SAMHSA, PCORI and private foundation-funded studies. Dr. Taylor has served as an advisor to the CDC and World Health Organization. For the International Network on Health and Hepatitis in Substance Users she served as member of the International Consensus Guidelines Committee Management of HCV in PWID. She has been honored for her work at The White House.

Lynn has no disclosures to report.

View the presentation here.