Starfish Hepatitis B Community Outreach Program
Hepatitis B is the most common liver infection in the world and is the leading cause of liver cancer. We’ve partnered with Hep Free NYC to educate at-risk people within our community about hepatitis B and encourage screening.
About the Starfish Program
Hepatitis B is considered a silent epidemic in the West African community. One in ten African-born people in the U.S. have hepatitis B, and one in three people with untreated hepatitis B will develop liver cancer.
Rates of hepatitis B are particularly high among the West African community living in the Bronx.
Montefiore Einstein Comprehensive Cancer Center has partnered with Hep Free NYC’s Check Hep B Patient Navigation Program to develop the Starfish Program.
Starfish promotes hepatitis B screening with the goal of preventing liver cancer in our community.
Our Starfish Outreach Team
Our Starfish team comprises West African medical professionals who work closely with religious groups—actively visiting churches and mosques to host education programs about hepatitis B and liver cancer. Members of our team speak four West African languages as well as English and French.
The Starfish Name
The Starfish Program got its name from a parable about starfish on the beach. The parable says:
An old man walked along a beach covered with hundreds of starfish that had washed ashore. He passed a boy who was throwing the starfish back into the waves. The old man stopped and asked the boy what was he doing. The boy explained that he wanted to help the starfish. The old man responded that there were far too many starfish on the beach to make a difference. The boy picked up another starfish and said, “It makes a difference to this one.”
If we can prevent one newborn from hepatitis B infection, or keep one person from developing liver cancer, we have saved the world for that person.
Learn more about the Starfish Program.
Other Hypertension Outreach
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is also prevalent among many in the West African community in the Bronx. Montefiore Einstein Comprehensive Cancer Center regularly offers hypertension screening events, where hepatitis B education and testing are offered.