This year’s theme was, “Promoting Health Equity in Hepatitis C.” Our Lead Torchbearers were:
Karen T. Tashima, MD
Karen T. Tashima, MD, Professor of Medicine, Director of Clinical Trials at The Immunology Center, Division of Infectious Disease, The Alpert Medical School of Brown University, The Immunology Center, The Miriam Hospital. Dr. Tashima has been a pioneer in Rhode Island in viral hepatitis research. Her areas of expertise include investigation of new medications for viral hepatitis especially in the setting of HIV co-infection, and in co-existing conditions. Dr. Tashima has been particularly successful in enrolling people representing minority groups, women and others affected by health disparities into studies.
Tina Broder, MSW, MPH
Tina Broder, MSW, MPH, is the Interim Executive Director of the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR, NVHR.org), a national coalition based in Washington, D.C. working to eliminate hepatitis B and C in the U.S. She created and leads NVHR’s Program Department, providing hepatitis C education, technical assistance and coalition building, focusing on patient and community input to inform research, medical guidelines, program development and policy. NVHR believes that all people deserve access to treatment for hepatitis C. One of NVHR’s top priorities is ensuring that public and private payers end all restrictions to treatment access. On October 23, 2017, NVHR and the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School released Hepatitis C: The State of Medicaid Access (stateofhepc.org), detailing hepatitis C treatment restrictions in all state Medicaid programs.
This year we acknowledge the whole-person, comprehensive care of people living with hepatitis C provided by two long-time hepatitis C champions at Thundermist Community Health Centers in West Warwick and Woonsocket, RI.
Michael Poshkus, MD
Michael Poshkus, MD, Medical Director, Thundermist Community Health Center/West Warwick, Assistant Professor of Medicine, The Alpert Medical School of Brown University. An Infectious Disease specialist by training, Dr. Poshkus is a primary care physician at Thundermist. He incorporates hepatitis C, HIV and addiction care in his primary care practice. He has expertise in caring for formerly incarcerated individuals and in their transition to the community. Prior to his position at Thundermist, Dr. Poshkus served as a physician and Medical Director at RI’s Department of Corrections.
Sapna Chowdhry, MD
Sapna Chowdhry, MD, is the Medical Director at Thundermist Health Center in Woonsocket, RI. She has been treating Hepatitis C and HIV for 14 years in a resource-poor setting, working to overcome challenges associated with disadvantaged populations including poverty, substance use disorders, mental health problems and uninsured or under-insured status. An Infectious Disease Specialist by training, Dr. Chowdhry is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Alpert Medical School and has been a part of the mentoring and doctoring programs for many years.