Newswise — The World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ) is launching a new initiative to help journalists report on the staggering toll of Hepatitis C (HCV) as well as the scientific and political barriers to treating the disease. To be launched on World Hepatitis Day (July 28, 2015), the new website presents resources written by journalists for journalists to expose the complex issues preventing effective prevention and treatment of the disease as well as a database of HCV experts from around the world who can be interviewed on a range of issues– from physician/scientists and patient groups, to public policy experts.

The global disease burden of viral hepatitis is staggering. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 130-150 million people have chronic HCV worldwide, and most of them are not even aware they are infected. People with chronic HCV have a high risk of developing serious life threatening liver diseases. Despite these risks, there is relatively little media coverage of the HCV pandemic and the public remains largely uninformed about the transmission, detection, health risks, treatment prospects, and state of government health policy for HCV.  WFSJ Global Media Education InitiativeThe new initiative will provide journalists around the world with the tools, data, and contacts to accurately explore the latest developments about the HCV crisis - from the latest research to the reasons why new treatments are not accessible to the majority of people suffering from the disease.

The resources are organized by theme and are specifically designed to help journalists provide strong and accurate coverage of HCV. The modules also include video interviews with leading experts including Charles Gore (President, World Hepatitis Alliance), Dr. Michel-Pawlotsky (Professor of Medicine, University of Paris-Est), and Dr. Karine Lacombe (Assistant Professor, Infectious and tropical Diseases, Saint-Antoine Hospital (AP-HP)).

The World Federation of Science Journalists is also launching a new database of viral Hepatitis experts from around the world who speak different languages. This database will be regularly updated and expanded. These expert sources vetted by the WFSJ are appointed to serve on the database for a period of one year at a time, and have expressed a willingness to share their expertise and insights into viral hepatitis with the media.

Damien Chalaud, Executive Director of the World Federation of Science Journalists says — “This initiative marks a unique opportunity for journalists to not only learn about HCV, but to produce stories that will make an impact. The content and resources are specifically designed to help journalists produce accurate yet compelling reports about this complex human story, with its public health policy and socio-economic perspectives. We believe it will enable journalists to look deeper into the topic and change the way they approach the HCV narrative”. Canadian health columnist André Picard (Globe and Mail), Poul Birch Eriksen (Former Executive Producer and Special Correspondent, Danish Broadcasting Corporation) and Dr. Roberta Villa (Health communicator and journalist. Health Editor, Zadig) wrote the education modules. Penny Park (Executive Director, Science Media Centre of Canada) was the acting program editor and reviewer.The program was developed in partnership with the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA) and supported by a seed donation from AbbVie.

The website dedicated to the initiative will be launched on World Hepatitis Day (July 28) - ------

Twitter: @WFSJHCV hashtag: #WorldHepatitisDayWebsite:


Media contact

Colleen Manitt Email: [email protected]Twitter: @ColleenManitt Telephone: +1 514 508 2777


About the WFSJ The World Federation of Science Journalists is a not-for-profit NGO that represents science journalists and their associations around the globe. The Federation supports strong, critical coverage of scientific issues through initiatives that train, mentor, and educate science journalists internationally. The WFSJ is committed to the creation of national journalist associations and to networks that strengthen science journalism, and in turn, civil society. WFSJ organizes the World Conference of Science Journalists. Website:


Program Writers

Poul Birch EriksenPoul Birch Eriksen is a broadcast journalist. He worked with the Danish Broadcasting Corporation covering global health and science for over 30 years. He has reported on HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases with a focus on public health, and has contributed to National campaigns aimed at informing the public about AIDS for radio and TV. He has worked as a special correspondent and an executive producer on several currents affairs programs for Danish Radio. He also has lectured on disaster response at the University of Copenhagen.

André PicardAndré Picard is a health reporter and columnist at The Globe and Mail. He is also the author of three bestselling books. André is an eight-time nominee for the National Newspaper Awards, Canada's top journalism prize, and a past winner of the prestigious Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service Journalism. André has also been honored for his dedication to improving healthcare. He was named Canada's first "Public Health Hero" by the Canadian Public Health Association and a "Champion of Mental Health" by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health.

Roberta VillaDr. Villa graduated with a degree in medicine from the Università degli Studi di Milano. She works a journalist and health/science editor for Zadig Srl editorial and publishing company, which focuses on medical and public health communications. She has also contributed to the collaborative TELL ME project that aimed to develop models to improve risk communication during infectious disease crises. For more than twenty years, Dr. Villa has been writing for the health supplement of the Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera. She also contributes to many other newspapers, magazines and sites such as Scienza in rete, Partecipasalute, Janus.

Program Editor and Reviewer

Penny ParkPenny Park is the Executive Director at the Science Media Center of Canada. She worked as the producer/senior producer of “Quirks and Quarks” for 15 years, the award-winning weekly science program on CBC radio. She also contributed to the development of the show Daily Planet for the Discovery Channel, the world’s first nightly TV magazine show about science and technology. As a senior producer of live specials at Discovery, Penny covered major events such as 9/11, the Pathfinder and Sprit/Rover landings on Mars, and Canada in space. Penny has also produced international specials at "Daily Planet," including week-long series that showcased the science, technology and engineering research of countries like Japan, China, India and Brazil.