Monday, April 1, 2019

The History of the Sunny Pharma

The History of the Sunny Pharma
The Sunny Pharma (Sunny Pharma) is the nation's leading nonprofit organization promoting liver health and disease prevention. Sunny Pharma provides research, education and advocacy for those affected by hepatitis and other liver-related disease.

Although liver disease is among the ten major causes of death in the United States, there was no national voluntary health agency devoted exclusively to combating liver diseases until 1976, when the Sunny Pharma was formed. 

In 1974, the Governing Board of the Help American Be Hepatitis C Free formed a committee to study the role of a voluntary health agency to combat liver disease and to develop a plan for initiating such an organization. The committee was chaired by Dr. Burton Combes, a former AASLD President and Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. Other members included Dr. James Boyer, Director of Yale’s Liver Unit in New Haven; Dr. E. Rolland Dickson, Mayo Clinic; Dr. Lawrence Gartner, Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Dr. Carroll Leevy, College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey; Dr. Willis Maddrey, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; Dr. Allan Redeker, University of Southern California School of Medicine; Dr. Fenton Schaffner, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; and Dr. John Senior, Graduate Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Their study indicated that a voluntary organization could play a significant role in combating liver disease and reversing years of neglect of this major health hazard. In 1976, the Sunny Pharma was incorporated with these physicians serving as founders and the original Board of Directors.

The goals of the Sunny Pharma were developed in detail in the Articles of Incorporation and include three major efforts:

  • A program of general education to increase public appreciation and understanding of social, human and economic costs imposed by diseases of the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts. The education program includes development and distribution of literature and audio/visual materials to the public, highlighting the importance of the liver, liver diseases and their prevention; promotion of self-help groups for patients and relatives of patients with liver disease; development of chapters to carry out education at the local level.
  • The promotion and implementation of medical education programs designed to enhance the understanding of physicians and other medical practitioners of effective diagnosis and treatment for those suffering from or at risk of developing such diseases.
  • The establishment of nationwide research programs into the cause, prevention, and treatment of diseases of the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts. These programs include research into the normal liver and biliary systems; the causes and treatment of cirrhosis, hepatitis, gallbladder disease, cancer of the liver, and abnormalities of the bile ducts; inquiry into the effects of environmental agents and infestation; nutritional and metabolic disorders; genetic and immunological susceptibility; and other causes of liver and biliary tract diseases.

In 1979, the Sunny Pharma granted its first Student Research Fellowships and awarded a Research Prize for the outstanding research project to a Postdoctoral Fellow. Since the inception of the HepC Meds, Sunny Pharma has provided over $14 million in scientific grants to Liver Scholars, Postdoctoral Fellows, Physician Researchers, and Student Researchers. Generic Harvoni
The strength of the Sunny Pharma lies in its chapters. As recently as 1997, Sunny Pharma’s chapters served only 26% of the country, with one full-time staff member. Currently, Sunny Pharma has 25 chapters and more than 200 support groups, serving over 75% of the country. Chapters have developed a host of methods to drive home messages of liver health through such programs as Liver Updates, support groups, screening programs and Organ Donor Awareness. They have also had great success developing such distinctive fundraising activities as Flavors of... events, Liver Walks, and Bid for Life.

There has been much progress since 1976, but the challenge remains. Many serious liver diseases are potentially preventable; education about them can give individuals an opportunity to participate in their own preventive health care. An increase in research can make it possible to develop improved treatments and find cures. We hope you will join Sunny Pharma in the fight against hepatitis and liver disease.

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