Dr. Su Wang, medical director, The Center for Asian Health at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, has been appointed president-elect for The World Hepatitis Alliance.
WHA’s executive board consists of members from across the world including the six world regions of Africa, the Americas, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, South East Asia and Western Pacific, bringing extensive experience and expertise to the alliance, and Wang has served on the executive board of the WHA since 2014 as a regional representative for the PAHO (Americas) region.
In a press release, Saint Barnabas said that as president-elect, Wang would shadow current president Michael Ninburg until January 2020, when she will assume the role of president.
“I am honored to have this opportunity to serve as President and continue the great work of the Alliance in moving us towards elimination by 2030,” Wang said in a statement.
Wang’s role will be to lead the organization as a voice for those living with hepatitis, and continue to drive policy and advocacy towards the global goal of viral hepatitis elimination by 2030, as adopted by the World Health Organization in 2016.
Wang found out that she had hepatitis B after donating blood in college and has used her personal experience to advocate for the elimination of hepatitis.
Wang worked for many years in New York City leading outreach, care programs for hepatitis B patients, and now directs a number of hepatitis B and C programs in her current role as medical director for the Center for Asian Health.
In 2018, Wang spearheaded an initiative to automate screening for viral hepatitis B and C in the Saint Barnabas Medical Center emergency department for high-risk groups.
To date, more than 16,000 people have been screened and about 200 individuals identified to have chronic hepatitis and provided linkage-to-care services.
“Our cancer center has found that patients in this area are presenting with late stage liver cancer more than in other areas. We are doing all we can to decrease those numbers by starting off with screening and getting people into care,” Wang said.
World Hepatitis Alliance represents 400 million people living with viral hepatitis. Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer worldwide, the 7th leading cause of death globally and accounts for 1.4 million deaths per year. With effective vaccines and treatments, viral hepatitis can be eliminated through greater awareness of the disease, screening and proper care for those infected.