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Chari A. Cohen, DrPH, MPH Professor, President of the Hepatitis B Foundation

Chari A. Cohen, DrPH, MPH


President of the Hepatitis B Foundation

Ph: (215) 489-4930
Email: chari.cohen@hepb.org



(2015) DrPH, Community Health and Prevention, Drexel University
(2001) MPH, Community Health, Temple University

Appointment at the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute: Professor of Public Health

Other appointments:
President of the Hepatitis B Foundation
Assistant Professor, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Co-Chair, Hep B United
Chair, Coalition Against Hepatitis in People of African Origin (CHIPO)
Inaugural Community Chair, Jefferson Health's Kimmel Cancer Center Community Advisory Board
Member, Governing Board, International Coalition to Eliminate HBV (ICE-HBV)
Co-Chair, Hep Free PA
Member, Patient Advisory Group, AASLD
Advisory Committee Member, HepVu
Member, HBV Forum
Editorial Review Board, Viruses

Research Overview

Research interest: Eliminating health disparities associated with hepatitis B, including the ecological determinants associated with low screening rates among highly impacted communities; developing best practices for improving screening, vaccination and linkage to care rates to decrease morbidity and mortality associated with chronic hepatitis B infection.

Research staff:

Frank Hood, MPS, Associate Director, Policy and Partnerships and Director, Hep B United 
Maureen Kamischke, Social Media Manager
Catherine Freeland, MPH, PhD(c), Public Health Research Associate Director
Rhea Racho, MPA, Public Health Program Manager
Michaela Jackson, MS, Prevention Policy Program Director
Yasmin Ibrahim, MD, PhD, MBA Public Heath Senior Program Manager

Beatrice Zovich, MPH, Program Manager, Public Health
Anousha Qureshi, Public Health Program Coordinator
Shreya Koirala, Public Health Program Coordinator

Fellows and Students: Dr. Cohen and her team mentor five to seven undergraduate and graduate public health students each year.


The HBF public health team conducts research and develops interventions locally, nationally and internationally. In Philadelphia, HBF leads a community-based participatory research program, including a 75-organizational member coalition. Together, the team has developed a multi-platform, citywide effort to improve rates of hepatitis B screening, vaccination and linkage to care for highly affected communities, with a focus on Asian Americans. HBF also studies the epidemiological landscape of chronic infection in Philadelphia, including identifying factors associated with infection and immunity, so they can tailor interventions to be more effective and efficient. Nationally, HBF co-manage’s Hep B United, a nationwide coalition that supports and leverages the success of local community coalitions across the U.S. to increase hepatitis B awareness, screening, vaccination and linkage to care for all Americans, but in particular, for high-risk Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who are disproportionately impacted. The HBF public health team works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop a multi-year program that offers capacity building, training and technical assistance so that all Hep B United partner coalitions have the ability to offer screening, vaccination, education and patient navigation in their communities. HBF has also developed #justB, a multi-lingual storytelling campaign to improve awareness and reduce stigma around hepatitis B. The team uses evidence-based strategies to train and engage storytellers and evaluates the program at multiple levels (including message testing) to assess impact. Internationally, we partner on programs in Ho-Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Accra, Ghana, and direct a multi-year program in Haimen City, China. The program has included public awareness campaigns, provider education, free screening and linkage to care, and a program to reduce perinatal transmission of hepatitis B.

Through the stated programs, the HBF public health team conducts quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis; survey development and testing; community-based participatory research (CBPR); health disparities research; patient engagement; program evaluation; coalition building and maintenance; and public health model building.


Research Summary

Developing, testing and disseminating best practices for eliminating health disparities associated with chronic hepatitis B infection.

Selected Publications:

View Dr. Cohen's publications on Google Scholar.

Ibrahim Y, Cohen C, Araojo R, Merenda C, Dykstra S, et al. Attitudes towards clinical trial participation among people living with chronic hepatitis B. J Transl Sci. 2022; 8:1-10. Epub ahead of print.

Freeland C, Mendola L, Cheng V, Cohen C, Wallace J. The unvirtuous cycle of discrimination affecting people with hepatitis B: a multi-country qualitative assessment of key-informant perspectives. Int J Equity Health. 2022 May 31;21(1):77.

Matthews PC, Jack K, Wang S, Abbott J, Bryce K, Cheng B, Ghosh I, Story A, Chen J, Munoz C, Bell J, Riddell S, Goldring A, Goddard C, Moraras K, Cohen C, Brown K, Lazarus JV, Elsharkawy AM. A call for advocacy and patient voice to eliminate hepatitis B virus infection. Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2022 Apr;7(4):282-285.

Silliman M, Alber M, Gib S, Gee M, Conover S, Chan C, Cohen C, Freeland C, Racho R. Comparing lengths and inclusion of information in storytelling videos: Implications for Hepatitis B education. PEC Innovation. 2022. Online ahead of print.

Cohen C, Evans CC, Block TM. 2022. Hepatitis Viruses: Hepatitis B and Hepatitis D. In: Kaslow, R.A., Stanberry, L.R., LeDuc, J.W. (eds) Viral Infections of Humans. Springer, New York, NY.

Freeland C, Racho R, Kamischke M, Moraras K, Wang E, Cohen C, Kendrick S. Health-related quality of life for adults living with hepatitis B in the United States: a qualitative assessment. J Patient Rep Outcomes. 2021. 5:121.

Cohen C, Moraras K, Jackson M, Kamischke M, Gish RG, Brosgart CL, Toy M, Hutton D, Block TM, Wang S, So S. Letter to the Editor: Importance of universal screening for hepatitis B infection in adults in the United States. Hepatology. 2021. 75(4):1062-1063.

Freeland C, Racho R, Kamischke M, Moraras K, Wang E, Cohen C. Cure Everyone and Vaccinate the rest: The patient perspective on future hepatitis B treatment. J Viral Hepat. 2021 Aug 7. doi: 10.1111/jvh.13592. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34363715.

Freeland C, Farrell S, Kumar P, Kamischke M, Jackson M, Bodor S, Block T, Frasso R, Cohen C. Common concerns, barriers to care, and the lived experience of individuals with hepatitis B: a qualitative study. BMC Public Health (2021) 21:1004-1011.

Wong RJ, Brosgart CL, Welch S, Block T, Chen M, Cohen C, Kim WR, Kowdley KV, Lok AS, Tsai N, Ward J, Wong SS, Gish RG. An Updated Assessment of Chronic Hepatitis B Prevalence Among Foreign-Born Persons Living in the United States. Hepatology. 2021 Mar 3. doi: 10.1002/hep.31782.

Kumar P, Freeland C, Bodor S, Farrell S, Cohen C, Frasso R. Needs of Individuals Living With Hepatitis Delta Virus and Their Caregivers, 2016-2019. Prev Chronic Dis. 2020 Dec 17;17:E159. doi: 10.5888/pcd17.200324.

Wang S, Cohen C, Tang AS et al. Hepatitis B Virus Elimination in the U.S.: Time to Dismantle Barriers and Implement Solutions. Curr Hepatology Rep 20, 34–42 (2021).

Moraras K, Block J, Shiroma N, Cannizzo A, Cohen C. Protecting the Rights of Health Care Students Living With Hepatitis B Under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Public Health Rep. 2020;135(1_suppl):13S-18S. doi:10.1177/0033354920921252

Freeland C, Huynh T, Vu N, Nguyen T, Cohen C. Understanding Knowledge and Barriers Related to Hepatitis B for Vietnamese Nail Salon Workers in the City of Philadelphia and Some of Its Environs [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jul 22]. J Community Health. 2020;10.1007/s10900-020-00878-w. doi:10.1007/s10900-020-00878-w

Freeland C, Vader D, Cohen C, George B. A Predictive Model for Hepatitis B Infection Among High-Risk Adults Using a Community-Based Sample in Greater Philadelphia [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jul 23]. J Viral Hepat. 2020;10.1111/jvh.13365. doi:10.1111/jvh.13365

Tu T, Block JM, Wang S, Cohen C, Douglas MW. 2020. The lived experience of chronic hepatitis B: a broader view of its impacts and why we need a cure. Viruses. 2020; 7;12(5):515. doi: 10.3390/v12050515.

Freeland C, Bodor S, Perera U, Cohen C. Barriers to Hepatitis B Screening and Prevention for African Immigrant Populations in the United States: A Qualitative Study. Viruses 2020:12(3), 305.

Alber JM, Cohen C, Racho R, Freeland C, Ghazvini S, Tolentino B, Almeida R, & Silliman M. Exploring the impact of storytelling on storytellers in a hepatitis B health communication context. Patient Education & Counseling. 2020 Sep;103(9):1760-1766.

Alber JM, Cohen C, Bleakley A, Ghazvini S, Tolentino B, Almeida R, & Chance BL. (2019, online first). Comparing the effects of different story types and speakers in hepatitis B storytelling videos. Health Promotion Practice.

Alber JM, Cohen C, Nguyen G, Ghazani S, Tolentino B. (2018). Exploring communication strategies for promoting hepatitis B prevention among young Asian American adults. Journal of Health Communication; 16:1-7.

Freeland C, Cohen C, Collier M. (2018). Public health response to hepatitis B exposure: A case study on gaps and opportunities to improve postexposure care. Infectious Disease in Clinical Practice; 26(4):185-186.

Cohen, C., Alber, J.M., Bleakley, A., Grossman, S., Freeland, C., Alarcon, K., Merchant, R. (2018). Social media for hep B awareness: Young adult and community leader perspectives. Health Promotion Practice. Advanced online publication.

Alter H, Block T, Brown N, Brownstein A, Brosgart C, Chang K-M, Chen P-J, Chisari F, Cohen C, et al. (2018). A Research Agenda for Curing Chronic Hepatitis B Virus Infection. Hepatology; 67(3):1127-1131.

Block T, Alter H, Brown N, Brownstein A, Brosgart C, Chang K-M, Chen P-J, Cohen C, et al. (2017). Research priorities for the discovery of a cure for chronic hepatitis B: Report of a workshop. Antiviral Research; 150:93-100.

Ataiants J, Cohen C, Riley AH, Tellez Lieberman J, Reidy MC, Chilton M. (2017). Unaccompanied Children at the United States Border, a Human Rights Crisis that can be Addressed with Policy Change. J Immigr Minor Health [Epub ahead of print].

Cohen C, Evans AA, Huang P, London WT, Block J, Chen G. (2016). Hepatitis B knowledge among key stakeholders in Haimen City, China: Implications for addressing chronic HBV infection. Hepatology, Medicine and Policy, 1(4):2-9.

Jorgensen C, Chen S, Carnes CA, Block J, Chen D, Caballero J, Moraras K, Cohen C. (2016). “Know Hepatitis B:” A Multilingual Communications campaign Promoting Testing for Hepatitis B Among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Public Health Reports, 2016 Supplement 2, v131: 35-40.

McMahon B, Block J, Block T, Cohen C, Evans AA, Hosangadi A, London WT, Sherman M, et. al. (2015). Hepatitis-Associated Liver Cancer: Gaps and Opportunities to Improve Care. JNCI J Natl Cancer Inst, 108(4):1-6.

Gish RD, Cohen CA, Block JM, Brosgart CL, Block TM, Clary R, Le LT, Ninburg MH, Sandt L, Kowdley KV. (2015). Data supporting updating estimates of the prevalence of chronic hepatitis B and C in the United States. Hepatology, 62(5):1339-1341.

Evans AA, Cohen C, Huang P, Qian L, London WT, Block JM, Chen G. (2015). Prevention of perinatal hepatitis B transmission in Haimen City, China: Results of a community public health initiative. Vaccine; epub ahead of print, pii: S0264-410X(15)00111-5. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.01.054.

Weerasinghe I, Bannister N, Huang V, Cohen C, Caballero J, Wang S. (2015). The role of the patient-centered medical home in addressing hepatitis B perinatal transmission. AAPI Nexus. 12(1,2): 140-160.

Chen G, Block JM, Evans AA, Huang P, Cohen C. (2014). Gateway to Care campaign: a public health initiative to reduce the burden of hepatitis B in Haimen City, China. BMC Public Health. 14:754-759.

Nguyen GT, Cohen C, Evans A, Bautista R. (2014). Broadening the scope for national database sampling: a critical need. American Journal of Public Health. 104(2):e3.

Cohen C, Caballero J, Martin M, Weerasinghe I, Ninde M, Block J. (2013). Eradication of Hepatitis B: A Nationwide Community Coalition Approach to Improving Vaccination, Screening, and Linkage to Care. Journal of Community Health, 38(5):799-804.

Evans AA, London WT, Gish RG, Cohen C, Block WT. (2013). Chronic HBV Infection Outside Treatment Guidelines: Is Treatment Needed? Antiviral Therapy, 18(2):229-235.

Apuzzio J, Block JM, Cullison S, Cohen C, Leong SL, London WT, McHugh JA, Neubauer RL, Perrillo R, Squires R, Tarrant D, McMahon BJ. (2012). Chronic Hepatitis B in Pregnancy: A Workshop Consensus Statement on Screening, Evaluation, and Management, Part 1. The Female Patient;37(4):22-27.

Apuzzio J, Block JM, Cullison S, Cohen C, Leong SL, London WT, McHugh JA, Neubauer RL, Perrillo R, Squires R, Tarrant D, McMahon BJ. (2012). Chronic Hepatitis B in Pregnancy: A Workshop Consensus Statement on Screening, Evaluation, and Management, Part 2. The Female Patient;37(5):30-34.

McHugh JA, Cullison S, Apuzzio J, Block JM, Cohen C, Leong SL, London WT, McNellis RJ, Neubauer RL, Perrillo R, Squires R, Tarrant D, McMahon BJ. (2011). Chronic hepatitis B infection: A workshop consensus statement and algorithm. Journal of Family Practice. Online Exclusive. 60(9):E1-E8. Available at http://www.jfponline.com/Pages.asp?AID=9881&issue=September_2011&UID

Evans AA, Cohen C, London WT. (2011). Hepatitis B Virus in the United States. Annals of Internal Medicine, 155(3), 205.

Cohen C, McMahon BJ, Block JM, Brosgart CL, Gish RG, London WT, Block TM. (2011). Is chronic hepatitis B being undertreated in the United States? Journal of Viral Hepatitis, 18, 377-383.

Cohen C, Evans A, London WT, Block J, Conti M, Block T. (2008). Underestimation of chronic hepatitis B virus infection in the United States of America. Journal of Viral Hepatitis; 15(1): 12–13.

Jessop A, Cohen C, Burke M, Conti M, Black M. (2004). Hepatitis support groups: Meeting the information and support needs of hepatitis patients. Journal of Gastroenterology Nursing, 27(4):163-169.

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