Monday, June 22nd 2020
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
More than three decades have passed since the Dept. of Defense (DOD) adopted strict policies to prohibit enlistment, commissioning or participation in training or scholarship programs leadine to a commission. Other policies impose restrictions on deployment and continued service of active or reserve personnel who test positive for HIV or hepatitis B (HBV). In the intervening years, DOD failed to update the policies to reflect effective prevention and evidence-based monitoring and treatment that is now available thanks to medical and scientific advances. Meanwhile, the outdated policies continue to:
- Deny career and scholarship opportunities within an agency that has historically enabled immigrants to serve their adopted country, attain economic stability and move into the American middle class;
- Inflict harm on recruits who undergo a physical and laboratory tests at Military Entrance Processing Stations and leave jobs and civilian lives to report to boot camp only to be diagnosed with HIV or HBV and find themselves without homes or jobs; and
- Create anxiety for existing personnel who were not diagnosed at accession and live in limbo, knowing that their careers can be upended at any time by a new policy or even a change in wording of an existing policy.
- As with coronavirus, how critical it is to educate people who have no prior understanding of a disease that has not yet openly harmed them, but which can have long-term devastating impact on their health and the health of their families if they do not take preventive measures.
- As with coronavirus, the disparate impact of disease on communities with little or no prior access to healthcare.
- The impact of outdated DOD policy on individuals living with a treatable and preventable disease that they do not understand.
- How to get involved with local, state, and national movements to address outdated policies.
Kate Moraras, MPH
Kate Moraras is the Deputy Director of Public Health at the Hepatitis B Foundation and Director of Hep B United, a national coalition dedicated to reducing the health disparities associated with hepatitis B. Kate manages strategic planning, capacity building, training, technical assistance, and grant programs for Hep B United. Previously, Kate served as Senior Advisor to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders where she led the Initiative’s health policy portfolio, community engagement, and communications strategies. For over 15 years, Kate has developed and implemented national policies and programs dedicated to addressing racial and ethnic disparities in health, with a focus on supporting community-based organizations working to increase access to care for medically underserved communities. Kate began her public health work at the American Diabetes Association focusing on racial and ethnic disparities and diabetes programs and policy. Kate received her MPH degree from the George Washington University.
Catherine Freeland MPH
Hepatitis B Foundation
Catherine Freeland, MPH, received her Master of Public Health at East Tennessee State University with a concentration in community and behavioral health. Catherine is currently enrolled in the PhD program in Behavioral Health Science at Thomas Jefferson University College of Population Health in Philadelphia, PA. She is also the Public Health Program Director at the Hepatitis B Foundation where she works on public health research and outreach activities throughout Greater Philadelphia. Her research is focused on reducing the negative impact of hepatitis B and liver cancer for vulnerable populations. Catherine is a member of the Pennsylvania Viral Hepatitis Elimination Planning Committee, and the co-chair of the Treatment Access Working Group. She is also the secretary of the National Task Force of Hepatitis B and member of the American Public Health Association.
Scott Schoettes, JD
Scott Schoettes, who lives openly with HIV, is Counsel and HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal. Scott litigates impact cases involving discriminatory actions based on a person’s HIV status and does amicus work on issues of import to people living with HIV, notably co-authoring two friend-of-the-court briefs submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the Affordable Care Act. His policy portfolio includes work on HIV criminalization and the blood donation ban, and he served as co-chair of the Disparities Committee on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) from 2014 to 2017. The group resignation from PACHA that Scott led in June 2017 received media attention across the globe and forced the Trump Administration to start paying more attention to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
BA, English Literature
Graduate Certificate in Public Administration
Nadine Shiroma resides in Washington state and has also lived in Hawaii, New York City, Texas and Southern California. She retired from an administrative/systems development career to participate in progressive, community-based civic engagement and racial justice projects. When a competitive healthcare school accepted and months later denied enrollment to a naturalized immigrant based on the school’s interpretation of an outdated CDC guideline, Nadine coordinated action to challenge the undisclosed policy and convince the school to adopt and publish a new HBV policy. She then worked with national advocates to address similar policies at schools across the country. Now a volunteer policy advisor to the national Hepatitis B Foundation, Nadine has advocated since 2013 for the Dept. of Defense to reform its outdated HBV policies. She also participates in initiatives to educate and make policymakers aware of the resources needed to eliminate HBV.