Bruce Burkett, Executive Director, founded the HepCAlliance, (formerly Missouri Hepatitis C Alliance (MoHepC) in 1999. He had just been cured of the disease after completing his 5th course of treatment in the same year. Originally an all-volunteer organization, HepCAlliance has grown from one support group in Columbia, Missouri to providing free testing and education across Missouri. In 2014 we are expanding our programs to several additional states.
The Mission of the HepCAlliance is a community focused non-profit organization with a duty to create awareness through providing education, testing and support for the detection, prevention and treatment of Hepatitis C (HCV).
Chronic HCV infection has become a critical, unrecognized health care problem in the US and we have found that among people with risk factors there is a positivity rate as high as 19% within the State of Missouri population.
National statistics indicate the average age of a person with HCV is 45-65 years old, however the average we have found in Missouri is 27. This program is designed to reach those individuals who are at risk for contracting the hepatitis C virus.
So far individuals who are tested have learned through word-of-mouth and follow up. HepCAlliance hopes to increase awareness of testing through a media program, the use of a billboard and 15-second Public Service Announcements on local and cable television.
HepCAlliance partners on both state and national level with agencies such as the Missouri State Department of Health, 63 Missouri County Health Departments, Phoenix Programs, Preferred Family Healthcare, Rain of Central Missouri, the American Liver Foundation, the National Center for Disease Control, the National Viral Hepatitis Round table, the National Hepatitis C Advocacy Council, and the Hepatitis C Appropriations Partnerships. Bruce served as the past President of the National Hepatitis C Advocacy Council and is a member of the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, the Hepatitis C Appropriations Partnerships, Hepatitis C Community Advisory Board, and the Hepatitis C Fair Pricing Coalition.
HepCAlliance was founded in 1999 as a non-profit organization, 501c (3), providing support and education to the Mid-Missouri public. From 1999 until April 2005, HepCAlliance was an all- volunteer organization. HepCAlliance started with one support group which grew to five groups over several years. In addition to the support groups, a nationwide toll free hotline was started, offering education and support. In 2004 HepCAlliance collaborated with Rain of Central Missouri (RAIN)) to apply for a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health. The program was titled "HIV/HCV Early Intervention Program." Rain was the fiscal agent and HepCAlliance carried out the programs for education and support. In July 2007, HepCAlliance took over the testing and education program and moved to its current location in the Parkade Center.
Testing for HCV continued to provide successful results in finding new cases of HCV. In 2005 HepCAlliance tested 351 people and found 107 positives. In 2006, 986 people were tested finding 215 HCV positives. In 2007 1,335 people were tested and found 326 people were positive for virus. This revealed a positivity rate of 24%. Out of the total 648 people who tested positive HepCAlliance/RAIN were able to provide treatment assistance for 188 uninsured patients. In 2013 the alliance tested 2,974 people finding 450 positive for the hepatitis C Virus.
HepCAlliance provides education to 63 County Health Department's staff annually in addition to the testing program. HepCAlliance provided education to over 4,500 people in small group presentations.
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