ECMC Awarded Gilead Sciences “Focus Grant”
Funds will support HIV, hepatitis B and C testing and testing-related services
Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) Corporation officials today announced that ECMC has been awarded a $351,289 grant from Gilead Sciences, Inc., to develop a replicable model program that embodies best practices in HIV and/or hepatitis screening and linkage to care.
The biopharmaceutical company Gilead researches, develops, manufactures, and markets human pharmaceuticals for certain diseases, including the hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Gilead will provide these funds to ECMC through its Frontlines of Communities in the United States (FOCUS) Program to financially support these efforts.
ECMCC President and CEO Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., Ph.D., said, “We are thankful to Gilead for this grant, which will enable ECMC to better serve patients and improve their quality of life. The Centers for Disease Control and US Preventive Services recommendations, backed by this key support from Gilead, will help our caregivers to more effectively address the health and wellness needs of these patient populations throughout Western New York.”
ECMCC Immunodeficiency Program Manager Ellen O’Brien said, “We are grateful to Gilead for granting these funds. These dollars will enable us to develop a program structured to deal with the current gap in care caused by the inability to identify and ultimately treat many HIV-, Hep C- and Hep B-infected individuals.”
As described in the Gilead grant application, “a growing body of research shows that opt-out testing can play a strong role in getting more individuals tested, extending earlier and better care to infected individuals, improving quality of life, and promoting better disease management that reduces new infections. In light of the 2006 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations for routine opt-out HIV testing, the 2012 CDC
recommendations for HCV screening, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations for routine HIV, HCV, and HBV screening, and other recognized best practices in HIV, HCV, and HBV screening,” Gilead has awarded this grant funding to ECMC to develop and promote a replicable model program that embodies best practices in HIV, HCV, and/or HBV screening and linkage to care.
In 2010, Gilead Sciences, Inc. launched the FOCUS program (On the Frontlines of Communities in the United States) to address one of the most pressing problems driving human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) transmissions. At the time, an estimated one in five HIV-positive Americans, or approximately 230,000 people, did not know that he or she was infected. FOCUS was enhanced in 2013 to address Hepatitis C (HCV) and again in 2015 to address Hepatitis B (HBV) as a result of both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations for HCV and HBV testing. FOCUS partners with over 100 healthcare institutions, government agencies and community partners to: make routine HIV, HCV, and HBV screening a standard of care for appropriate patient populations; reduce the number of undiagnosed individuals, decrease the number of those who are diagnosed late and ensure strong linkage to care and treatment; expand stakeholder dialogue on these issues; and change public perceptions and overcome stigma that may discourage testing.