Widgets Magazine

Vaden to offer free Hep B screenings

Vaden Health Center is offering Stanford students free Hepatitis B screening tests starting Monday.

The free screenings mark the inauguration of Hepatitis B Awareness Week, a four-day educational campaign hosted by Team HBV, an international outreach group dedicated to raising awareness of Hepatitis B and liver cancer.

Joy Zhang ‘10, the president and founder of the newly created Stanford chapter of Team HBV, interned at the Stanford Asian Liver Center her sophomore year. She said her experience made her realize that, like her, many potentially at-risk students were not fully aware of their circumstances and were probably not getting screened.

“A lot of people think that they are protected…when they’re not,” Zhang said. “The most common way to get Hepatitis B is at birth from mother to child, but it often doesn’t produce symptoms, so the spreading goes unrecognized.”

The number of students at risk for Hepatitis B is difficult to quantify, said Dr. Robyn Tepper, the director of medical services at Vaden.

“There is no way to know how many students are affected,” Tepper said. “The goal here is to encourage those who may be at risk, to be screened.”

“The idea here is to be proactive about educating those who are at risk, who may not be aware that the risk exists for them,” Tepper added. “This includes students who were born in Asia, the Pacific Islands, Eastern Europe, Africa or the Middle East, or if their parents were born in those countries.”

In conjunction with Team HBV’s involvement in hosting multiple events on campus to promote awareness of the disease, Dr. Stephanie Chao ‘02 of the Stanford Asian Liver Center initiated contact with Vaden to develop an improved system that determines which students fall into high-risk groups and should be tested.

“I approached Vaden to see how we could collaborate to get more students screened through Vaden,” Chao said. “We hope that after the awareness week, students will be motivated to protect their health by getting tested and vaccinated for Hepatitis B, if they haven’t already.”

Tepper helped create the new system by making use of electronic medical record software to build the new screening tool. The end result was an automated computer system that can take Stanford students through a step-by-step online evaluation.

“The idea is that students can go online at their own convenience and answer a series of questions that will help determine if they are at high risk for Hepatitis B,” Tepper said. “If at any point their answer puts them in a high risk group, they will be offered an appointment to go to the Vaden lab for a blood test.”

According to Tepper, Vaden typically does not charge for such screenings, and the Web tool can be left up on an ongoing basis so that students can access it at any time.

Students who are not in the high-risk group are still offered appointments for vaccination as needed.

For Chao, it is a step in the right direction toward educating students about an issue that directly impacts their own well-being.

“I was also a student at Stanford once,” Chao said. “And I remember that as an undergrad, I was mostly concerned with midterms, finals, career…it’s easy to take one’s health for granted when you’re young.”

“This is a disease that we can eradicate globally,” she added, “and I applaud Stanford’s Team HBV for working to raise awareness among the Stanford community to bring us one step closer to our goal.”

  • Jimmy

    This article would be 500 times more useful if it actually linked to where we could use this online tool or set up an appointment.

  • Team HBV

    Go to vadenpatient.stanford.edu now and take the online risk assessment and make an appointment for a free screening if you are at risk! (Go to the “Appointments” tab, click “schedule an appointment,” and then choose “Hepatitis B High Risk Screening on the Web.”)