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Public Health

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HIV, Hepatitis, and Public Health Pathogens Programs

The HIV, Hepatitis, and Public Health Pathogens Programs are part of the Clinical Public Health group.

Mission

To provide state-of-the-art clinical public health services to VHA providers and patients in the areas of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), viral hepatitis, and public health pathogens.

Vision

To be recognized as the definitive resource within VHA for improving delivery of preventive and clinical care to Veterans with, or at risk of infection by HIV, hepatitis viruses, and public health pathogens.

Whom we serve

VA is the largest single provider of HIV care and hepatitis C care in the United States. In calendar year 2012, over 26,000 Veterans received care for HIV disease in VA and over 173,000 Veterans who used VA health care services had laboratory tests confirming chronic hepatitis C.

Our values

  • Dedication to the Veterans we serve
  • Respect for, support of, and communication with VHA field providers, who champion our programs and goals
  • Commitment to using sound scientific evidence to develop policies, programs, and products
  • Readiness to innovate in pursuit of our goals
  • Collaboration with other VA offices and external stakeholders in pursuit of our goals
  • Openness about how we work, what we work on, what has worked, and what hasn’t

Our expertise includes clinical knowledge, particularly infectious diseases and associated comorbid conditions; mental health and substance use disorders and care, particularly in relation to the impact of mental health and substance-use comorbidities on HIV and viral hepatitis; epidemiology; informatics; field-based communication, education and implementation; and project management.

What do we do?

  1. Develop policy guidance for VHA regarding best practices in clinical care for HIV infection, viral hepatitis, and infections attributable to public health pathogens.
  2. Identify and link Veterans with HIV or viral hepatitis to care, with a particular focus on the underserved (e.g., rural, homeless, women, or OEF/OIF/OND, and Native American Veterans).
  3. Improve care of these patients through evidence-based, system-wide quality improvement interventions.
  4. Support VHA providers by removing barriers to diagnosis and care.
  5. Advocate for development, maintenance, and restructuring of the resources (personnel, expertise, equipment, and funds) necessary to ensure high-quality care for Veterans with HIV and viral hepatitis.
  6. Explore opportunities to improve care for Veterans affected by other pathogens of public health interest.

How do we perform our work?

We use epidemiologic data, appropriate quantitative and qualitative metrics, and input from field providers and patients to identify structures and processes that affect access, quality, and cost of care for Veterans with HIV, viral hepatitis, or other public health pathogens. These become targets for interventions that can be translated into deliverables.

What do we produce?

We deliver practical tools that support best practices by providers; education and communication projects designed to change provider and Veteran behavior; quality improvement initiatives that remove barriers to care; and where indicated, proposals for legislative and policy changes.

Our educational materials can be found on the VA HIV/AIDS and Viral Hepatitis websites: