Below is a visual timeline of the Foundation’s rich 30-year history. You’ll see major highlights, such as Dr. Baruch S. Blumberg joining our Scientific Advisory Board in 1993, launching the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center in 2006 and forming the Hep B United National Coalition in 2012.
- Lets Get Started
- In The Beginning
Hepatitis B Foundation is Formed
Our four founders incorporate the Hepatitis B Foundation as a nonprofit organization in New Hope, Pa. From left, Dr. Tim Block, Janine Witte, Paul Witte and Joan Block.
Launched B Informed Newsletter
The Foundation launches “B Informed”, a print newsletter. The Foundation also produces a video, using a state grant titled “Someone You Know Has Hepatitis B” with introduction by Dr. Nancy Snyderman of ABC’s Good Morning America.
- Nobel Support
Dr. Baruch S. Blumberg Joins the Team
Nobel laureate Dr. Baruch S. Blumberg joins our Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Blumberg won the Nobel Prize in 1976 for his discovery of the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Drs. Block and Blumberg (pictured) worked together at the University of Oxford with Professor Raymond Dwek, on the discovery of a new anti-HBV drug.
- Partnership For Success
- Leadership Summit
The Foundation hosts our first Princeton Workshop in Princeton, N.J, bringing together thought leaders from academia, industry and government to focus on finding a cure for HBV.
- Stepping Out
First Office in Jenkintown PA is Opened
- The Foundation opens an office in Jenkintown, Pa., its first.
- The Foundation’s advocacy efforts result in the Pennsylvania state legislature passing Act 15, which mandated the HBV vaccine for kindergarten enrollment.
- Our website www.hepb.org is launched.
- A Star Is Born
Hepatitis Awareness Month is Proclaimed & Mascot is Debuted
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge (pictured center front) speaks with Foundation co-founder and executive director Joan Block (at his right) as he proclaims June Hepatitis Awareness Month.
The Foundation debuts its mascot, O’Liver, at a Hepatitis Awareness Month event in the Pennsylvania state capitol.
- Moving North
Jefferson Center for Biomedical Research is Formed
The Foundation partners with Thomas Jefferson University to create the Jefferson Center for Biomedical Research on the Delaware Valley University campus in Doylestown.
- Catch Up Time
$60k Grant from PA Department of Health
The Foundation receives a $60,000 grant from the PA Department of Health to lead viral hepatitis training across the state to increase awareness and education. Foundation medical advisors Kim Jungkind (pictured standing at center) and Dr. Ken Rothstein (seated) with Dr. Block (right) and O’Liver lead a viral hepatitis training in Williamsport PA.
The Foundation promotes “Catch-Up” HBV immunization school programs with local health departments. Our team also testifies at Congressional Vaccine Hearings about importance of infant vaccination to prevent HBV perinatal transmission.
- Science at the Forefront
College Summer Research Internship Program & the Bruce Witte Distinguished Lecture Series are Established
The Foundation establishes a College Summer Research Internship Program and the Bruce Witte Distinguished Lecture series. Dr. Ray Schinazi (second photo, pictured center) was honored as the first Bruce Witte Distinguished Lecturer by Foundation co-founders Paul and Janine Witte, which was created to promote HBV research.
- 10 Years Strong
10th Anniversary Gala & 1st Patient Conference
Nobel laureate Dr. Baruch Blumberg (first photo, pictured center) honored at the Foundation 10th Anniversary gala, seen here with Dr. Block (left) and Foundation medical advisor and board member Dr. W. Thomas London.
The Foundation holds its first “Gathering of Friends” patient conference. One person who attended said, “I feel like a tiny hole in my heart has been filled up by being with other people like me.”
- Grants for Success
$7.9 Million Grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to Build Biotechnology Research Center
The Foundation receives grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to build a biotechnology research center. Lieutenant Governor Mark Schweiker (pictured 4th from the right) presented a $7.9 million check to Foundation board members and advisors to build the new facility.
- Research Expands
Institute for Hepatitis & Virus Research Formed and Drexel University & University of Oxford Become Partners
- The Foundation creates the Institute for Hepatitis and Virus Research (renamed the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute in 2013) to expand its research for the HBV cure.
- Drexel University becomes the new academic partner of Foundation and the University of Oxford offers the Foundation a research training program for qualified students.
- National Spotlight
First National HBV Act Introduced in Congress, First Congressional Briefing on HBV & the First National HBV Awareness Week Authorized by Congress
The Foundation advocacy leads to national successes including the first national HBV Act introduced in Congress, the first Congressional Briefing on HBV and the first national HBV Awareness Week authorized by Congress.
- Incubator Growth
- Going Global
Invitation to Manage the Annual International HBV Meeting
The Foundation is invited to manage the annual International HBV Meeting, which rotates between North America, Europe and Asia.
- The Power of One
"Believe in the Cure" Cycling Tour & Philly's "Gateway to Care" Campaign Launches
- The Foundation sponsored 18-year old John Ellis on his “Believe in the Cure” cycling tour from Pensacola to Philadelphia to raise awareness about HBV. When John was diagnosed with HBV, he wanted to be “bigger” than his diagnosis so undertook this physical challenge, which raised $50,000 for the Foundation mission to find a cure and improve the lives of those affected.
- John Ellis (1st photo, pictured right) wanted to inspire those living with HBV by cycling 1,287 miles from Pensacola, FL to Philadelphia, PA with his best friend Jamal (left). They ended the tour at the Foundation in Doylestown, Pa.
- Dr. Baruch Blumberg (2nd photo, on left) joined the cycling team to welcome John in Philadelphia.
- The Foundation launches our Gateway to Care campaign in Philadelphia to increase HBV awareness, screening and linkage to care in high-risk ethnic communities. Now known as Hep B United Philadelphia, it’s one of the first citywide campaigns in the U.S. to improve HBV awareness, vaccination, screening and linkage to care.
- 5 Million Americans
Institute of Medicine Study Participation & Early Detection Biomarkers for Fibrosis and Liver Cancer Discovered by Dr. Block
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) invited the Foundation to participate in their study of hepatitis B and C in the United States.
The IOM report on eliminating HBV and HCV in the U.S. included Foundation Public Health Director Alison Evans, ScD, who served on the IOM committee, and Joan Block who provided expert testimony.
Early detection biomarkers for fibrosis and liver cancer discovered by Dr. Block and Anand Mehta, the Foundation Witte Scholar, (both faculty at Drexel University) are being advanced to NIH funded human clinical trials at Johns Hopkins and are optioned by Abbott Diagnostics, respectively.
Hepatitis and Liver Cancer Prevention and Control Act is Passed, Hep B Free Philly is Established & the First "National Pediatric Hepatitis B Consensus Recommendations" are Published
- The Foundation provided advocacy leadership that led to Congress passing HR 3974, the Hepatitis and Liver Cancer Prevention and Control Act, a comprehensive bill to address the needs of more than 5 million Americans living at increased risk of dying prematurely from liver cancer due to HBV and HCV infections.
- The Foundation establishes Hep B Free Philly (renamed Hep B United Philadelphia), one of the first citywide campaigns in the U.S. to improve HBV awareness, vaccination, screening and linkage to care. Pictured here are Dr. Chari Cohen and Dr. Walter Tsou, former Philadelphia Health Commissioner.
- The Foundation publishes the first “National Pediatric Hepatitis B Consensus Recommendations” for the care and treatment of affected children in the Journal of Pediatrics.
- The Roaring Twenties
Celebrating 20th Anniversary, $400k Grant from BMS Foundation for Public Health Campaign in Haimen City, PR China & Becomes Charter Member of New International Coalition to Eliminate Viral Hepatitis in Asia-Pacific (CEVHAP)
The Foundation celebrates its 20th Anniversary. From left, co-founders Dr. Blumberg, Paul and Janine Witte, Joan and Tim Block, and our medical advisor and board member Dr. W. Thomas London celebrating the 20th birthday of the Foundation on January 21, 2011.
The Foundation launches a multi-year, citywide HBV public health campaign in Haimen City, PR China with a $400,000 education grant from BMS Foundation to reach one million residents and all the primary care providers. Haimen City has the highest rates of primary liver cancer due to chronic HBV.
The Foundation becomes a charter member of the new international Coalition to Eliminate Viral Hepatitis in Asia-Pacific (CEVHAP) and are invited to speak about the Foundation at the inaugural meeting.
- Going Natural
Receives “Key” to the Merck Natural Products Library
Dr. Block receives the “key” to the Merck Natural Products Library from Dr. Roger Pomerantz, Merck senior VP. Merck donated the world-famous collection to us to advance its research towards a cure for hepatitis B. Pictured at the far right is Joel Rosen, our board chairman, and far left is Dan Ring, a Merck executive.
- Strength in Numbers
"Hep B United" National Coalition & "Liver Cancer Connect" Website are Launched
The Foundation launches Hep B United, a national coalition to address hepatitis B and liver cancer as urgent health priorities in the U.S., in partnership with AAPCHO. Bringing local community-based groups across the country to work together to increase HBV awareness, screening and linkage to care strengthens the national impact of our collective mission to eliminate hepatitis B.
The Foundation launches Liver Cancer Connect, a patient-focused website that is the first of its kind to connect patients and families to life-saving disease information, a drug watch of liver cancer therapies and a clinical trials database.
- New Name, Same Mission
Research Institute is Renamed to the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute
The Foundation renames our research institute the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute in honor of our co-founder, who won the Nobel Prize in 1976 for his discovery of the hepatitis B virus.Blumberg family members attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly renamed Baruch S. Blumberg Institute. Mrs. Jean Blumberg is pictured in the second photo, in the center with daughter Jane Blumberg to her left next to son-in-law Mark Thompson.
- Justice Prevails
Federal Government Acts Against HBV Discrimination & Provides ADA Protection
The Foundation played a key role in the landmark settlement of the U.S. Dept. of Justice to strike down HBV discrimination and made HBV a protected condition under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Joan Block, our executive director, receives the CDC Foundation’s Hepatitis Champion Award from Dr. John Ward, director of CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis in Washington, D.C. in recognition of the Foundation’s successful advocacy in striking down HBV discrimination based on the updated CDC guidelines in 2012.
- New Challenges
Coalition Against Hepatitis in People of African Origin (CHIPO) is Formed
The Foundation creates a national coalition called the “Coalition Against Hepatitis in People of African Origin” (CHIPO), to address the emerging public health needs of African immigrant communities suffering disproportionately from chronic hepatitis B. CHIPO includes professionals from academic and medical centers, health departments, the CDC and local groups serving African immigrant communities.
- WHO Chooses Dr. Blumberg’s Birthday
World Health Organization Officially Recognizes World Hepatitis Day on July 28th
World Health Organization officially recognizes World Hepatitis Day on July 28th because it’s the birth date of our co-founder and Nobel laureate Dr. Blumberg. The World Hepatitis Alliance, of which Foundation was a charter member, initiated the first World Hepatitis Day in 2008.
- Presidential Recognition
Obama Issues Presidential Proclamation for World Hepatitis Day
President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation for World Hepatitis Day that was presented at a special White House briefing: “Each year we mark World Hepatitis Day to bring attention to a disease that afflicts one in 12 people worldwide. Today, we raise awareness about preventing and treating viral hepatitis, and review our commitment to combat the disease in all forms.” Photo credit: LATimes.com
- Patient Empowerment
$313k Grant from Bristol Myers Squibb, Hep B United Continues to Grow & Partners with the CDC
The Foundation receives a $313,000 grant from Bristol Myers Squibb to expand its public health campaign in Haimen City, China. Phase 2 focuses on empowering those living with chronic hepatitis B to proactively manage their health. In Phase 1, the Foundation distributed HBV information to all 280,000 households (1 million people), educated 90% of primary care providers and screened 100% of pregnant women.
Hep B United, a national coalition we created in partnership with AAPCHO in 2012, now includes 30 partners in 24 cities and 14 states across America with a collective reach to 4 million Asian Americans at increased risk for hepatitis B infection.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) selected Hep B United to be co-branded with its new national “Know Hepatitis B” campaign. This recognized the Foundation and Hep B United as trusted partners in the high-risk ethnic communities that the CDC targeted to increase awareness and education.
- HHS Honors Foundation
Health & Human Services Honors the Foundation
The Foundation is honored for its advocacy successes in protecting those living with hepatitis B from discrimination. HHS assistant secretary Howard Koh, MD, MPH, presented the award at a special White House Briefing. From left: Joan Block, RN, BSN; Dr. Koh; Kate Moraras, MPH, deputy director of public health; and Chari Cohen, DrPH, MPH, senior vice president.
- Setting Records
New Internationally Renowned Recruits
The Foundation and the Blumberg Institute recruit five new internationally renowned HBV scientists to fulfill our research mission for an HBV cure. Our team becomes the largest group of nonprofit scientists in the U.S. focusing solely on HBV and liver cancer, with nearly 50 researchers.
- WHO Tackles HBV
World Health Organization Guidelines Development Committee
The Foundation participates on the World Health Organization guidelines development committee, which are the first-ever WHO hepatitis management guidelines for all countries. Foundation medical and scientific advisory board member Dr. Brian McMahon co-chaired the committee and Joan Block was a committee member.
- Fast Forward 50 Years
50th Anniversary of Australia Antigen Discovery
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the scientific paper that first identified the “Australia antigen”, which was later shown to be the hepatitis B virus (HBV). The discovery of HBV and invention of the vaccine have literally saved hundreds of millions of lives.
- Mission Accomplished
5 Year Grant Awarded by CDC, Nobel Challenge Fundraising Goal of $3 Million Reached & New Website is Launched
- The Foundation receives a major five-year grant award from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to build and expand Hep B United, the national coalition that the Foundation created in 2012.
- The Foundation meets the Nobel Challenge fundraising goal of $3 million through the generosity of our board members and many, many donors to support the research for a cure at the Blumberg Institute.
- Our website, www.hepb.org, gets a major redesign that is mobile friendly with simple navigation and a fresh look. Popular pages such as Newly Diagnosed, Drug Watch, Blood Tests and Language Translations are much more accessible.
- Real People, Real Stories
#justB National Storytelling Campaign & "Hepatitis Delta Connect" Online Resource are Launched
The Foundation launches the #justB national storytelling campaign to put a human face on hepatitis B. Building a meaningful patient story bank with real people sharing their personal experiences about living with hepatitis B or how they have been affected will help reduce stigma and increase patient empowerment.
The Foundation launches Hepatitis Delta Connect, a patient focused online resource for this devastating virus. The hepatitis delta virus (HDV) only infects those already living with chronic hepatitis B, creating a deadly mix.
- Roadmap for a Cure
First National Research Plan to Find a Cure & Cure Campaign Rollout
- The Foundation and Blumberg Institute release the Roadmap for a Cure, which is the first national research plan to find a cure for hepatitis B. Based on the consensus of 37 thought leaders in the field, the Roadmap identifies six of the most promising areas of research to develop better treatments, and ultimately, a cure.
- The Roadmap for a Cure serves as the cornerstone of the Foundation’s new Cure Campaign, which includes sharing the research plan widely through Congressional Briefings and with leaders at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Anthony Fauci (far left), director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, meets with Dr. Block and two of our board members, Dr. Carol Brosgart and Alan Brownstein.
- By the Numbers
Scholarly Publications, Clinical Trials, Liver Cancer Detection, Increase Federal Funding & Education and Patient Outreach
The Blumberg Institute has an outstanding year with more than 35 scholarly publications, moving two drug candidates to clinical trials, a new non-invasive technique to detect liver cancer and two new compounds identified with HBV and liver cancer therapeutic activity.
The Foundation’s education and patient outreach makes a huge impact via our website, social media and email/phone help lines.
Our advocacy helps increase federal funding for the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For example, NIH funding for HBV research reaches $61 million, an increase of 31% from five years prior and NIH funding for liver cancer research hits $116 million, up by 26% over the previous five years.
First Externally Led Patient-Focused Drug Development Meeting & Distinguished Advocacy Service Award
- With approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Foundation organizes and leads the first Externally Led Patient-Focused Drug Development Meeting focused on chronic hepatitis B in June 2020. The meeting gave a platform to those living with hepatitis B, which is critical in helping FDA understand the context to inform decisions about drug development and approval. Our final report is here: www.hepb.org/assets/Uploads/ExPFDD-Report-FOUNDATION-10-1-2020.pdf
- Foundation co-founders Tim and Joan Block receive the inaugural Distinguished Advocacy Service Award from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), which was conceived of and presented by Dr. T. Jake Liang at its annual Liver Meeting, held virtually due to COVID-19.
- Celebrating 30 Years
Expanding Towards the Future
We at the Hepatitis B Foundation are celebrating 30 years of hard work with major expansion plans beginning this year!
- 30th Year Anniversary