Hepatitis C Research Endowed At NDSU

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North Dakota State pharmacy professor Amber Slevin received a $98,000 grant from the North Dakota Department of Health. The grant covers a three-year span and will assist in patient care.

The grant will focus on Hepatitis C treatment. The grant will also pay for an ultrasound machine for cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma screening, educational materials, technology support, interprofessional team activities, adherence tools and patient education materials.

Slevin and her family health care team will be part of a larger interprofessional health care team that is responsible for working to provide Hepatitis C treatment in a primary care setting. The team will also be in the process of helping to recommend, implement and monitor Hepatitis C treatment.

The leading team will be working at Family HealthCare in Fargo where the program is located.

“This is an important step in improving treatment access on our community, and to the best of our knowledge, it’s the first Hepatitis C treatment clinic based entirely in a primary care setting in North Dakota,” Slevin said. She also added the grant won’t just provide treatment access, but also support their efforts to raise awareness.

“Programs such as the one at Family HealthCare in Fargo are important to reach patient populations,” Charles Peterson, dean of the College of Health Professions at NDSU, said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hepatitis C is a viral liver infection and can be acute or chronic. The CDC reports as many as 2.2 million people are estimated to be living with chronic Hepatitis C, and up to 50 percent are unaware that they have the virus.

Brett Lessard, an NDSU advanced pharmacy practice experience student, participated in training to assist with the program. “It is encouraging to see previously out of reach medications becoming accessible,” Lessard said. He said this would have a positive effect on the health of the public.

“This program also gives pharmacy students additional training in this area, combining education and our land-grant mission to help the community,” Peterson said.

The NDSU School of Pharmacy is in charge of the program. The goal is to make certain both students and practitioners are educated, advance research and scholarship, and deliver quality patient care while providing service to the profession.

Thad Bergh, third-year professional pharmacy student intern who was also participating said, “This training served as a great opportunity to learn more about treatment options and how we can do our part to work with and assist patients as they seek to be cured.” He continued saying he was glad to have had the opportunity to learn more about how he can help the patient population.

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