West Virginia University School of Medicine Vice Chair of Research and Professor, Judith Feinberg, M.D. has won a “You Make a Difference” award from the Pittsburgh-based Community Liver Alliance.
She joins others who were recognized by the organization for an awards luncheon in Pittsburgh scheduled on Friday, Feb. 7.
The non-profit organization is dedicated to promoting liver health and liver disease awareness, prevention, education and research. Feinberg was identified through her work for the Central Appalachia HCV Coalition, which works to address the Hepatitis C epidemic as it relates to the opioid crisis in West Virginia and surrounding states.
“It’s a great feeling to be recognized as a good partner and someone who is advocating for, and positively affecting, awareness and conversations about serious viral liver infections, such as hepatitis C,” said Feinberg. “It truly takes a community in these sorts of crises, and when policymakers, the medical community and advocates can all come together to work collectively – that’s where we make the greatest strides in ending public health epidemics.”
According to Feinberg, West Virginia has had the highest rate of new hepatitis C infections in the U.S. for several years, and many may not know they have the disease because it doesn’t always exhibit immediate symptoms. However, if left untreated, it can lead to future liver-related health complications and even death.
But she also emphasized there’s a cure, and by working with partners in the region, such as the Community Liver Alliance, and educating primary care providers on how to screen, diagnose and treat hepatitis C, a much more positive outcome for many of those affected.
She is developing a training program for West Virginia primary care providers, West Virginia Hepatitis Academic Mentoring Partnership, so that patients can be treated and cured in their local community, especially those with Medicaid coverage. The first all-day training will be held in Bluefield on Thursday, March 5. More information and registration can be found at www.wvrha.org.
In addition to her work with liver disease, Feinberg is also committed to addressing the opioid epidemic and HIV, being recently named as the Chair of the board of directors of the HIV Medicine Association.