To help increase public awareness of the growing concern over spread of the hepatitis B Virus (HBV), the Hepatitis B Foundation has introduced its liver mascot "Oliver."
Already a popular figure at several public appearances, Oliver will play a key role in 1997-98 as the Hepatitis B Foundation launches a school outreach effort to promote hepatitis awareness and vaccination, beginning with a pilot program in Montgomery County in September. Governor Ridge has signed legislation effective September 1 adding HBV vaccination to the roster of required immunizations for children entering Pennsylvania schools for the first time.
The mascot is already scheduled for appearances at hospitals, community groups and other public events over the next several months.
The joint idea of Joan M. Block, RN, President and Director, Hepatitis B Foundation, and Kimberly Jungkind, RN, MPH, Case Manager, Nursing Service, and a Board member of the Hepatitis B Foundation, "Oliver" was inspired by the success of the "Philly Phanatic."
Mrs. Josephine C. Mandeville, Member, Jefferson Board of Trustees, suggested the name "Oliver," which was selected by the Foundation.
"Oliver is a liver mascot and will serve as the cornerstone of the Hepatitis B Foundation's national public education campaign to increase visibility of the problem of viral hepatitis," announced Ms. Block. "The primary goal is to educate people about this serious health threat in a more friendly, accessible way." The program also involves the collaborative efforts of the Hepatitis C Foundation, another national volunteer group.
Visit to Jefferson Yields Referrals
Jeffersonians were treated to a visit by the friendly mascot just days after Oliver made his official debut in June before the Pennsylvania Legislature on Hepatitis Awareness Day.
During "Hepatitis Awareness and Screening Week," Oliver and Hepatitis B Foundation volunteers set up information and screening booths in the Atrium. Hie-Won Y.L. Hann, MD, Professor of Medicine, Jefferson Medical College (JMC), and Mark A. Zern, MD, Director, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, JMC, had already received several patient referrals as a result of those screenings. Both doctors serve as the Foundation's medical advisors.
During his Jefferson visit, Oliver met Joseph S. Gonnella, MD, Dean, JMC, and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Thomas Jefferson University, recipient of the Hepatitis B Foundation's first Founders' Award in May. Dean Gonnella's commitment to the Foundation's work led to its establishing its first research laboratory at Jefferson in 1994.
Hepatitis B affects 350 million people worldwide and is a growing concern in the United States where there are an estimated 200,000 new infections each year. Hepatitis B is the world's most common, serious liver infection. It is caused by the hepatitis B Virus (HBV), which can be transmitted through blood, sex, shared needles and from an infected mother to her newborn during delivery.
Although there is a safe vaccine to prevent infection, there is no cure for those who are chronic carriers of HBV.
The Hepatitis B Foundation is the only national volunteer nonprofit organization solely dedicated to the cause and cure of hepatitis B. Timothy M. Block, PhD, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, JMC, and Janine and Paul Witte of New Hope, founded the organization in 1991.
McClellan, Commander of the Army of the Potomac during the Civil War and 1864 Presidential candidate, will be held Tuesday, October 14, at 4 p.m. in the Connelly Conference Center of the Bluemle Life Sciences Building.
The marker has been authorized by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Dr. McClellan purchased a home at the site in 1832 and lived there until his death in 1847. Gen. McClellan left the house in 1842 to attend West Point.
For more information about the Center or for an appointment, please call 1-800-JEFF-NOW.