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Advocacy / Policy

HONOReform Advocacy Conference Feb. 22-23

                                                           February 10, 2010

Dear Friends,  

Thank you all for taking the time out of your busy schedules to travel to Washington, DC, for our third annual Hepatitis Outbreak National Organization for Reform (HONOReform) Advocacy Conference. Your participation as an advocate, as well as your ongoing commitment to our mission, has a tremendous impact on current and future consumers of our healthcare system. Every stakeholder in our nation's healthcare system—including providers and patients—must play a role in promoting safe injection practices. At current count, over 30 advocates who represent a dozen states are joining us. I thank you all for your support.

I particularly want to welcome the nursing students from Omaha’s Creighton University who are such great supporters of HONOReform at home. Led by HONOReform director Prof. Dianne Travers-Gustafson, these students dedicated themselves over the last two semesters to learning about our history and mission, interviewing victims of outbreaks and health professionals, and assembling a Compassionate Response Toolkit designed to aid people throughout the United States who have been affected by outbreaks of blood-borne pathogens.  

Sadly, outbreaks of hepatitis C (HCV), hepatitis B (HCB) and HIV continue throughout the United States. This summer in Colorado, a surgical technician injected herself with pain medication prescribed for patients and refilled these syringes. Five thousand patients received notification letters; 36 Coloradans are now struggling with HCV they contracted in this outbreak. As I wrote this summer in the Denver Post, “This tragedy…could have been entirely prevented. As a survivor of a similar hepatitis C outbreak, I know the shock and anger the victims and their loved ones are feeling. I know what it’s like to ask “Why me?”—and to wonder how a calamity of this magnitude could happen in the United States.”  

In our third year, HONOReform maintains an aggressive public policy agenda. We continue to work closely with our public and private partners on the Safe Injection Practices Coalition, including leadership from the Division of Healthcare Quality and Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dedicated members of our coalition are preparing the roll-out of the One and Only Campaign (“One Needle, One Syringe, Only One Time”) in Nevada and New York. Your efforts on February 23rd on Capitol Hill will allow us to extend programmatic funding from the CDC bring our campaign to 5-10 more states…among other requests that we will detail for you when we meet later this month in Washington.  

On behalf of the many people throughout the United States who have been affected by outbreaks—and with a commitment to make each and every injection safe for all Americans—I am grateful for your inspiring and important commitment to our advocacy efforts.

Sincerely yours,

Evelyn McKnight, AuD
Founder and President, HONOReform