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Geisinger investigator nominated for federal award

Companies mentioned in this article: Geisinger Health System

DANVILLE, Pa., Aug. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A Geisinger researcher on a personal crusade against hepatitis C has been nominated for a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) award recognizing his unprecedented approach to addressing a major public health concern.

Joseph Boscarino, Ph.D. MPH, senior scientist, Geisinger Health System, is one of a team of researchers nominated for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Charles C. Shepard Science Award for Data Methods and Study Design.

"Hepatitis C killed my younger brother in 2010, so finding a cure for this disease is very personal for me," Dr. Boscarino said.

Dr. Boscarino, whose brother George started the Bosco's Buddies Hepatitis C Foundation prior to his passing, along with researchers from the CDC in Atlanta, Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and Kaiser Permanente in Portland, Ore. and Honolulu, Hawaii, are nominated for their work on the paper entitled "Baseline characteristics and mortality among people in care for chronic viral hepatitis: The Chronic Hepatitis Cohort Study." The study was the largest ever of its kind to investigate chronic hepatitis B and C in the United States.

The paper, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases in January 2013, assessed more than 11,000 patients with chronic hepatitis infections, including hepatitis B and C, determining that these viruses are a substantial health burden in the United States, particularly hepatitis C among people born between 1945 and 1964.

"In our country today, there is a great deal of emphasis put on the research and treatment of different types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and the like - and rightfully so - but the Chronic Hepatitis Cohort Study sheds light on the fact that chronic hepatitis B and C should be treated with the same sense of urgency," said Dr. Boscarino. "This study is the largest of its kind to examine the incidence and health care impact of chronic hepatitis B and C in the U.S. population, and the results are enlightening with respect to the prevalence, treatment and course of chronic hepatitis disease."

In honor of Charles C. Shepard, M.D., the internationally recognized microbiologist who was chief of the Leprosy and Rickettsia Branch at CDC for more than 30 years, the CDC hands out five awards annually, four for outstanding scientific publication and another for lifetime scientific achievement.

The Chronic Hepatitis Cohort Study is nominated for the scientific publication award in the category of data methods and study design, which is one of four categories of the award. The others are assessment, prevention and control and laboratory science. The data methods and study design award recognizes a new or refined non-laboratory method and/or study design that addresses one or more public health challenges. In other words, it awards the development and demonstration of an outstanding or exceptional approach to solving a major public health concern.

Upon being nominated, Dr. Boscarino and his colleagues will now be subject to a committee review that includes two co-chairs, an executive secretary and 17 reviewing members. The committee's decisions are expected later this year.

About Geisinger Health System
Geisinger Health System is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record, and the development of innovative care models such as ProvenHealth Navigator® and ProvenCare®. As one of the nation's largest rural health services organizations, Geisinger serves more than 2.6 million residents throughout 44 counties in central and northeast Pennsylvania. The physician-led system is comprised of more than 21,000 employees, including a 1,100-member multi-specialty group practice, eight hospital campuses, two research centers and a 467,000-member health plan, all of which leverage an estimated $7.4 billion positive impact on the Pennsylvania economy. The health system and the health plan have repeatedly garnered national accolades for integration, quality and service. In addition to fulfilling its patient care mission, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit, or follow the latest Geisinger news and more on Twitter and Facebook.

Matthew Van Stone: 570-808-3248

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