DOYLESTOWN, PA: The National Hepatitis B Foundation (NHBF) has selected Furia Rubel Communications as its first AOR as the nonprofit executes a national public awareness initiative with local roots.
The campaign will focus on the seriousness of the virus, which affects 12 million people in the US and is more contagious than HIV. It will also stress the need to fund more treatment research and focus on reducing new infections. There is no cure for the disease, but there is a preventive vaccine.
Joan Block, a nurse who is the NHBF's cofounder and senior advisor, said the effort would first target community leaders and residents in its own backyard. But the ultimate goal, she noted in an e-mail, is to "generate waves that will reach around the world."
Campaign details are still being planned, but Block noted that the PR team would leverage the NHBF's established publications and educational activities.
It also hopes to increase participation in a local "First Friday Doylestown" community event that is part of National Hepatitis Awareness Month in May.
Separately, Furia will also help promote the grand opening of the foundation's research center, the Institute for Hepatitis and Virus Research (IHVR), which was established here in 2003.
The institute is opening in the new $12 million Bucks County Biotechnology Center, which is owned by the NHBF in partnership with Delaware Valley College. The center will house drug development research to fight hepatitis B and C, liver cancer (which has been linked to chronic hepatitis), and other viruses.
"With the launch of the new Bucks County Biotechnology Center, the Hepatitis B Foundation and IHVR scientists will work alongside researchers from other nonprofit organizations and startup biotech companies," Block said. "We plan to make a big splash in Bucks County... this summer with events, tours, and fanfare."