Sherri Ziegler Community Service Award winners

Nomination of Koy Parada and Mimi Chang, recipients of the 2012 CalHEP Sherri Ziegler Community Service Award:

I would like to nominate both Koy Parada and Mimi Chang for the Sherri Ziegler Award for Hepatitis B advocates. They are both Co-Chairs of Hep B Free Los Angeles and have been monumental in building and maintaining the advocacy team in Southern California.

Though the Hep B Free campaign in Los Angeles had initially formed in 2010, Koy and Mimi have been apart of the hepatitis B movement here many years before. Since the beginning, both ladies had a core belief that community involvement was the solution to bringing about the hepatitis free community they both believe Southern California could be, bringing together private and public hospitals, county health advisors, physicians, educators, students, and local and national representatives to achieve a common goal.

They started their work in what each of them knew best; Koy, an educator at UCLA, spear headed the education campaign, and Mimi, a nurse practitioner at the Asian Pacific Liver Center (APLC), lead the screening initiative. Tapping into the enthusiasm of the youth, they got the UCLA, UCI, USC, and Western University of Health Sciences’ Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) involved in both education and screening, setting up health fairs around Southern California in places such as Downtown, El Monte, Roland Heights and San Gabriel. These places have been known for having a high immigrant population, with most of them uninsured. Over the past six years, they have screened over 12,000 individuals free of charge for hepatitis B, who otherwise would have gone unchecked and unnoticed.

In addition to the education at the health fairs, Koy actively searched for opportunities where she could speak, making sure to reach out to the minority population that have certainly been overlooked in our community. She took one step further and recruited prominent hepatologists to speak to physicians at the community clinics so they could better address patients who have tested positive for hepatitis B. Resulting from these talks were a handful of volunteer physicians who agreed to be mentored by hepatologists at the County, so they could be stronger physicians and advocates for patients in their respective community clinics.

To better handle the expansive territory of Southern California, the ladies set up independent but collaborative Hep B Free organizations in Orange County and Long Beach. Since then, both groups have grown to offer free screenings, patient education, and have risen to recognizable forces within their respective community. In the recent years, Hep B Free LA has partnered more closely with the Hepatitis C Task Force of Los Angeles to collaborate and promote hepatitis events, as both groups ultimately share the same goals.

Koy and Mimi have achieved extraordinary accomplishments that have brought the hepatitis B efforts to the forefront in Los Angeles. Undeniably, without the both of them, the hepatitis B community would not be the same.