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ATTC Messenger May 2015: The HCV Current Initiative

May 2015

The HCV Current Initiative

Sarah Knopf-Amelung, MA-R, Mid-America ATTC
Beth Rutkowski, MPH, Pacific Southwest ATTC
Michael Chaple, PhD, Northeast & Caribbean ATTC
Leslie Cohen, New England ATTC

HCVCurrent is a national initiative funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and led by the 10 ATTC Regional Centers. This new project has two main goals: to disseminate the latest science-based information on the rapidly evolving field of HCV treatment, and increase the knowledge and capacity of behavioral health and medical providers to treat persons with hepatitis C (HCV), particularly staff at federally-qualified health centers (FQHCs). To that end, the ATTC Network’s Viral Hepatitis Workgroup has developed a comprehensive set of resources, including online and in-person curriculum and training, downloadable provider tools, and region-specific resources.

"With over half of new HCV infections associated with intravenous drug use, the ATTC Regional Centers have a unique perspective to offer for addressing this mounting public health concern."

Leslie Cohen
Chair, ATTC Viral Hepatitis Workgroup
Co-Director, New England ATTC

Why Focus on Hepatitis C?

It is estimated that more than five million people in the United States are infected with HCV. Baby boomers (people born between1945-1965) and persons with mental health and substance use disorders face an increased risk for infection, yet many are unaware of their status. Among people who have used or currently use intravenous drugs, one in three young adults and three in four older adults are HCV-infected. Dramatic medical advances in the past year have revolutionized the course of HCV treatment, increasing the role of primary care and behavioral health practitioners in addressing this major public health concern.

“With over half of new HCV infections associated with intravenous drug use, the ATTC Regional Centers have a unique perspective to offer for addressing this mounting public health concern,” says Leslie Cohen, Chair of ATTC Viral Hepatitis Workgroup and Co-Director of the New England ATTC. “The rapid advances in the field of HCV treatment are incredible, and we are eager to disseminate the latest on HCV prevention, screening, testing, and treatment to behavioral health and medical professionals through the HCV Current Initiative."

Training Resources and Provider Tools

HCV Current offers multiple training options, including:

  • HCV Snapshot: An Introduction to Hepatitis C for Health Care Professionals, is a free, 90-minute online course that provides an overview of HCV. The four self-paced modules cover: (1) populations at risk; (2) an overview of HCV; (3) screening procedures; and (4) treatment options. Continuing education is available for a variety of disciplines. To register for the course, visit:
  • Hepatitis C: Capacity Building for Behavioral Health and Medical Providers: A six-hour training curriculum that builds on the basics of the HCV Snapshot self-paced online course. The five modules cover opportunities for promoting hepatitis C screening and testing; linking patients to treatment; available treatment options; and patient considerations for treatment. Once finalized, the curriculum will be available for viewing and downloading (at no cost) from the HCV Current website. The training curriculum is being released in May 2015 in conjunction with Hepatitis Awareness Month.
  • The HCV RNA Provider Card is a small pocket card to help medical and behavioral health professionals discuss HCV RNA test results with patients. The front provides a visual of the testing algorithm and the back provides step-by-step instructions for discussing results with patients. The product can be downloaded free of cost on the HCV Current website. Hard copies will also be distributed at face-to-face training events.

Regional Resources

To address the local conditions and needs of communities, each ATTC Regional Center compiled region-specific HCV resources and contact information. Visit the HCV Current website to find additional resources for each ATTC region.

HCV Trainer Registry

The HCV Current website features a registry of trainers who successfully completed the Viral Hepatitis Training of Trainers Session held in San Juan, Puerto Rico in February 2015. These individuals are available to conduct the full-day Increasing Hepatitis C Knowledge training. Requests for face-to-face trainings should be directed to the ATTC Regional Contact that is listed on the HCV Current website (

Viral Hepatitis Workgroup Members

Special thanks go out to the following individuals, who have worked tirelessly over the past two and one-half years to develop and launch the HCV Current Initiative: Alaina Hill (Central East ATTC), Marjean Searcy (Central Rockies ATTC), Rafael Rivera (Great Lakes ATTC), Pat Stilen and Sarah Knopf-Amelung (Mid-America ATTC), Leslie Cohen( New England ATTC ), Michael Chaple and Diana Padilla (Northeast & Caribbean ATTC), Daren Ford and Shaun Ramirez (Northwest ATTC), Beth Rutkowski (Pacific Southwest ATTC), Ed Johnson (Southeast ATTC), and Stephanie Askins (South Southwest ATTC). In addition, special thanks go out to Linda Oney, formerly with the Central East ATTC,Olivia Ryan, formerly with the ATTC National Office and Mid-America ATTC, and Suzan Swanton, former ATTC Project Officer.