Dear Hep B community,
Some of you may have noticed that I have been on the boards a little less frequently than usual and that has been because I’ve been busy with a lot of competing priorities. I just wanted to update you all on what has been happening behind the scenes to improve this community and let you know that this is still very much high on my list of priorities.
Conferences: We are right in the middle of a huge wave of conferences that require organinsing, attending, presenting at, etc. These have included:
- The Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis virology Scientific Conference (25-27/05). I was doing a lot of the sessions for this as president for the Australian Centre for Hepatitis Virology. We’ve also had to completely restructure these meetings for the future given a reduction in funding. On the plus side to the restructure, I am now pushing for this to include a session focused on the affected community and promoting these inter-community conversations.
- The Australian Viral hepatitis 2022 meeting (29/05 - 31/05) This was a great meeting for primary care, public health, policy and implementation of viral hepatitis issues. Some of the users on this board attended and I think it was a great way to highlight the lived experience. I organised a session, but was unfortunately unable to attend as I was presenting at…
- Science of HBV cure 2022 (30/05 to 03/06) in Singapore. In the end, I am a molecular scientist so this is more relevant to my everyday work. It was great to hear some of the region’s/world’s greatest experts talk about what is next in HBV cure. I was able to give a couple of talks about my perspectives, but more importantly it was good to see some colleagues (including @availlant and @Pietro_Lampertico). These sorts of chats are important to make sure that experts know how important it is to come and directly talk to the affected community.
- World Hepatitis Summit (07/06 to 10/06) One of the major global conferences on public health, policy and implementation for hepatitis elimination. It included huge array of stars, including: @Suwang88, @lien.tran, @Nafisa.Yussf, @CFreeland, @Carrie, @rgish , @jessicah, @YellowWarriorsPH, @chari.cohen, and @Capucine. @Suwang88 and I were able to promote HepBcommunity.org a bit in a couple of talks, but the time-zone made it difficult for me to attend most of the sessions. It would be great if some of the attendees could start a thread to maybe summarise their experiences!
- New South Wales Hepatology Nurse Masterclass 2022 (21/06) Organised by @kristen.mckee and others, I’ll be promoting the forum here too to make sure nursing staff in NSW know that there’s a place to refer people with Hep B to.
- EASL ILC 2022 in London (22/06 to 26/06) One of the biggest liver meetings in the world (something around 10,000 people go). Again, great to promote the importance of talking to the affected community. I’ll be attending in person to make these connections and be completely jetlagged :).
Funding: Aside from promotion, we also need to make sure that there are funds available to run the forum. There are also some additional administrative aspects of the community that need setting up. Honestly speaking, I cannot do this alone in my spare time while also doing everything else; we need to hire people to make sure that all the things needed by this community get done. To fund this, we need to apply for grants. With a general funding rate of ~10% (if you’re lucky), I expect to be submitting 10 applications to get just 1, so we will have to be patient with these and just keep applying (each one of these are 3-15 pages in length). I guess one good thing here is I’m up to application number 8 for trying to secure some longer term funding for the forum…
Research showcase: As many of you have seen, we have been organising our first ever research showcase. While opening the subforum itself and reviewing the entries has not been difficult, getting the attention of the research community to get more entries has been a little challenging. I have been able to get partners to promote the showcase (thank you to the Hepatitis B foundation, World Hepatitis Alliance, the Gastroenterological Society of Australia, Australian Centre for Hepatitis Virology, the International Meeting for Molecular Biology of Hepatitis Viruses, ASHM, EASL, APASL, and AASLD). These scientific and clinical societies represent hundreds to thousands of HBV scientists that are doing cutting edge research and I’m hoping that this will make our first showcase a success. I thank the great entries that we have already and encourage all of you to interact with the wonderful researchers that volunteer their efforts to present their work.
You are not alone: Despite this all, I would like all users to know that I read every single post even if I am not responding. I don’t say this to be lionised or fish for complements - I am saying it because everyone here should know that they are not alone. In fact, this is the single most important thing that I want everyone with Hep B to know.
Acknowledgements: I am grateful for all of the forum members for creating such a wonderful supportive environment. It is truly rewarding for me to see an idea come to fruition like this. I also want to say special thanks to the following active volunteers:
- Our leadership group: @chari.cohen, @Suwang88, @jessicah, @PuallyHBV, and (until recently) @Joan_Block, who have all been meeting regularly to guide the strategic direction of our community and volunteering with a whole bunch of behind the scenes work (including providing expertise, promoting the forum, organising events, keeping meeting minutes, and providing the forum with in-kind support).
- Our @HealthExperts and @ScienceExperts for providing all of their expertise to the community, particularly those who have been active on a weekly or daily basis: @availlant, @MarkDouglas, @john.tavis, @Pietro_Lampertico, and @simone.strasser.
- Peer mentors who have been active in the forum, many who I’ve never met but am glad provide a welcoming environment and have been open with their experiences for others to learn from: @Kinoti, @NeptuneJ, @PuallyHBV, @Bansah1, @hope4us, @Caraline and I’m sure many others who I’m forgetting at the moment.