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Ruth Dotson receives AAPA Foundation grant

Ruth Dotson JPG
Ruth Dotson

Ruth Dotson, an adjunct faculty member for the PA Program on the Boone campus and a PA at High Country Community Health (HCCC), has received a $5,000 grant from the American Academy of Physician Assistants Foundation to identify and promote treatment of underserved patients with chronic hepatitis C (HCV). This disease is the leading cause of liver transplantation and liver cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of cirrhosis. 

In her grant application, Dotson explained that more than 150,000 North Carolinians are estimated to have HCV, with about 1,500 of them in the High Country of rural northwest North Carolina. In the past, treatment of HCV has involved at least 24 to 48 weeks of therapy with significant side effects and clearance rates of approximately 50% to 60%. New therapies are substantially better: treatment for 8 to 24 weeks, minimal side effects, and cure rates approaching 98%. Many High Country patients with HCV are low-income and uninsured, however, which limits their access to treatment.

HCCH is a Federally Qualified Health Center with clinics in Watauga and Avery Counties. Established in 2012, HCCH offers comprehensive and culturally sensitive services to medically underserved populations in the surrounding rural communities. There is great need for identification and treatment of those with HCV in this community, and the grant will help all persons with HCV in the High Country have a chance for a cure.



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