PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A coalition of hepatitis C experts opened trading on the Nasdaq stock market May 19 to mark National Hepatitis Testing Day. Part of the morning's events on Wall Street included a panel discussion with Amy Nunn, assistant professor of public health and of medicine, who spoke about her work in Philadelphia to link medically underserved residents to care.
Nunn talked about how she and colleagues assembled a vast team of volunteers in a campaign called Do One Thing, to go door-to-door to ensure that thousands of people in the 19143 zip code could get tested for HCV and HIV. The community has high rates of HIV and HCV infection as well as high rates of poverty. Much of Nunn’s work has investigated the linkages between where someone lives and their risk of disease.
“A lot of our prevention interventions haven’t been focused geographically,” she said. “In my mind this is a social justice crisis and this is a public health crisis. Why aren’t we giving the communities with the greatest disease burden a lot more resources?”
A key step in her work, she said, was performing rapid confirmatory testing for initial results, so that people who tested positive would stay linked to care throughout the process of becoming insured, seeing a primary care provider, and gaining a specialist referral to obtain medication. She published a paper about her work in February.
In addition to Brown, Nunn represented the Rhode Island Public Health Institute, which she directs. The institute’s mission is to promote community health and to eliminate health disparities in Rhode Island and beyond.
The panel and Nasdaq market opening were primarily organized by Orasure, a Nasdaq-traded company that sells technology for rapid testing, and the Chronic Liver Disease Foundation, which webcast the panel.