Let’s Celebrate Liver Awareness Month this October!

Monday, September 29th, 2014

There is another kind of ‘Octoberfest’ being celebrated each year, apart from the widely held German tradition. This celebration embraces liver health in recognition of its vital role in our general well-being — October is Liver Awareness Month.

Why celebrate liver awareness at all?

Passing along an important reminder. Photo Credit: American Liver Foundation.

Passing along an important reminder. Photo Credit: American Liver Foundation.

As the largest gland in the body, the liver is responsible for fundamental functions from processing the nutrients from our food and liquid intake, to detoxifying toxins and regulating our blood composition.

As basic as these liver functions are, it is alarming that many of our daily activities pose great threats to the liver. Poor diet, drinking alcohol, and taking too much or incorrect medication cause liver damage that may lead to more serious conditions such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. To make matters worse, contagious liver-damaging diseases such as hepatitis B affect many people who are unaware of their infection.

What happens when the liver doesn’t work right?

Liver damage causes health problems that could lead to serious diseases, including cancer.  At its early stage, liver damage could cause itchy skin, digestive and abdominal changes, and general weakness of the body, disrupting our daily routines. Liver dysfunction due to hepatitis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, or alcoholic liver disease have more severe and deadly impact.

So this October, let’s feast on liver-loving activities to promote proper diet, responsible lifestyle, and a healthy liver. ADRLF invites you to engage with our mission and take part in these exciting events along with your family and friends!

Join liver health organizations near you – click here

Discover Liver Awareness Month activities near you – click here

Sign-up for a “Liver Walk” near you – click here

Inform loved ones on how to take care of their liver with these short clips

Check your liver health with a quick test here

Donate blood during Liver Awareness Month with Red Cross here

FLASHBACK to WORLD HEPATITIS MONTH as ADRLF continued the fight against Hepatitis!

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

As Hispanic Heritage Month kicked off last week, the Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation flashes back to share some of the organization’s slate of activities over the recent seasons that included two Latino-focused healthcare initiatives in the forefront of its year-round commitment to the battle against hepatitis.

Photo Credit: Monica Simoes

Photo Credit: Monica Simoes

ADRLF joined fellow New York City leaders and other Health Organizations at the Annual NYC Viral Hepatitis Awareness Press Conference at City Hall that took place on May 15th to recognize National Hispanic Hepatitis Awareness Day. During his speech, Treasurer and Founding Board Member, Dr. Carlos Ortiz stressed the fact that viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer in the US; and he emphasized, by not hesitating to screen and vaccinate, one can prevent the disease.  The sprinkling rain did not damper spirits during the press conference; instead, it reinforced the collectives’ commitment of the life-saving message!

Photo Credit: Monica Simoes

Photo Credit: Monica Simoes

When World Hepatitis Testing Day arrived on May 19th, the Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation sprang into action to focus some of its attention on Latino youth, and its encircling community. ADRLF joined forces with committed partner, The William F. Ryan Community Health Network to hold a special event in pursuit of its mission to screen, vaccinate and educate underserved communities about Hepatitis B, as well as ‘Hepatitis A’ and ‘C’. The partners teamed up to provide free screenings and test results, as well as an informational forum at Boricua College in the Bronx.

For ADRLF and the Ryan Community Health Network, the impressive and forward-thinking Boricua College was a perfect fit. Founded in 1974 by Dr. Victor G. Alicea and a group of educational activists, Boricua College is the “first private four-year bilingual institution of higher education learning on the United States mainland developed by Puerto Ricans and dedicated to educating Latinos.” It still employs a largely bilingual faculty that caters to adult and working students and prides itself in non-traditional educational enrichment. With campuses now in three boroughs, President Alicea presides over the dynamic college that remains proud of its commitment to community service within the context of Latino-focused higher learning initiatives and outreach.

(Photo Credit: Lisa Collins)

(Photo Credit: Lisa Collins)

While testing was simultaneously happening in a private designated room, Clinician Geraldine Joseph (R-PAC, The Ryan Center), led an informative hepatitis awareness workshop, outlining key points: from populations at risk, to risky activities to preventative measures. There was a lively interactive Q&A afterwards, where students and staff raised concerns about the serious virus, including: risk factors, the probability of infection and and its impact. Knowledge is power. A recent goal in particular of ADRLF is to explore and raise awareness around the risk factors associated with tattoos and unsafe tattoo parlors, particularly as it relates to current trends in particular populations. At Boricua, safeness around ink-culture became a key topic that sparked a range of questions. After, the testing and information session students and staff proudly took photos and offered to help spread the word!

(Photo Credit: Lisa Collins)

(Photo Credit: Lisa Collins)

Thanks to the Ryan Center’s Prevention and Education & Outreach Coordinator, Fay Barrett, and her dedicated team, those screened for hepatitis received their results within 20 minutes of testing. That is how simple this process is! And that is why you should: Screen, Vaccinate. Don’t Hesitate.

ADRLF and the Ryan Community Health Network are proud to report: fifteen students in total were tested. And, including those, twenty showed up to the event learn about hepatitis, its risks, prevention, and testing. It was a successful day, all-around.

(Photo Credit: Lisa Collins)

(Photo Credit: Lisa Collins)

Beyond that, the event marked another milestone in the expanding collaboration between the Ryan Community Health Network and the Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation. Emmy-winning television star and ADRLF Founding Board Member, Carson Kressley, presented the Ryan Health Networks (recently retired) President and CEO Barbra E. Minch with a donation of $5,000 to support future testing and vaccinations for hepatitis.

All who were there were inspired to actively participate in a day of great social impact. The collegiate screening and educational event marked a first in making an impact within a university setting. It promises to be one of many to come! The entire ADRLF Board is proud and thrilled that it happened first in the Bronx!

(Photo Credit: Lisa Collins)

(Photo Credit: Lisa Collins)

While World Hepatitis Month has come and gone, Liver Awareness Month quickly approaches in October and overlaps with Hispanic Heritage Month. Regardless of the month, day, or time — handling your health is a year round commitment!  Don’t forget to get screened during your next visit to your health care provider! We repeat: Screen. Vaccinate. Don’t Hesitate…Educate!  

*Stay tuned to ADRLF to see how you can make a difference for yourself and others throughout this season!

ADRLF Fall 2014 Newsletter

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

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Diet Adjustment for Hepatitis Patients: A Friendly List of Food to Avoid

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
Slow and steady adjustments are necessary to cope with hepatitis B. (Photo Credit: Creative Commons)

Slow and steady adjustments are necessary to cope with hepatitis B. (Photo Credit: Creative Commons)

Being diagnosed with hepatitis – or other diseases – may require significant and sometimes painful adjustments to one’s diet. Dealing with these adjustments doesn’t have to be too burdensome and frustrating; if you know what food to AVOID, it should be easy to identify food that you CAN eat and make the diet change perfectly manageable.

Here’s our simple guidelines for WHAT TO AVOID when diagnosed with hepatitis or any liver disease.

Hepatitis virus attacks the liver, which is an important organ that’s responsible for breaking down chemicals and fats that we take ingest. It’s important therefore for hepatitis patients to ease the function of their liver by staying away from processed food and chemically-treated produce.

Meat, for example, is difficult to digest by the body’s digestive system, requiring much more not only of the liver but the gall bladder and pancreas as well.  Many animal products also contain chemicals from the growth hormones injected to the animals, and chemical spayed on animal food.  So it is best for hepatitis patients to avoid meat products and stick with organic protein-rich alternatives. Consequently, avoid dairy foods, which essentially come from animals and are quite difficult to digest. When choosing dairy alternatives such as yogurt, make sure to check the sugar content.

Today’s grocery stores are sprawling with ready-to-eat preserved and processed food. But convenience too has its cost that’s hidden behind the good taste or price. Processed food contains chemically-treated fillers and preservatives that pose great danger to the liver and people’s health in general. Like meat, these foods add unnecessary stress to liver function that could be unsafe for people with liver conditions.

Sugar is another culprit to avoid – may it be artificial sweetener or concentrated natural sugar. While fruits are recognized to have health benefits, some have high sugar concentrations that feed hepatitis virus and strain the pancreas and the liver. Avoid fruit juices and food made with artificial sweeteners such as junk food and candies.

Eliminating these foods from your diet doesn’t have to come as a big blow. Take it one day at a time, and you’ll be surprised at how well you adjust to eating healthy foods that make you feel good in mind and body.


Looking for Early Signs of Hepatitis C? We Can Help You Know How

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Early detection could save millions of lives from the perils of hepatitis (Photo Credit: World Bank)

If only our livers could complain the way our stomachs grumble when we miss a meal during a hectic day at the office, perhaps many cases of liver cancer could be prevented.  But alas, our livers don’t talk to us…. like that anyway!

The liver is responsible for many things. Our livers break down vitamins and preservatives from a quick and easy microwavable brunch. Our livers have to process alcohol from last night’s happy hour. Let’s face it, in these times we give the liver a lot to do!  Sadly, many cases of liver cancer are discovered at advanced stage not only because people haven’t taken advantage of receiving preventive health screenings, but also because signs of liver problems are quite difficult to track therefore often ignored.

There is no way around it- hepatitis screening is a critical step in early detection and prevention of liver disease, but it also would be useful to watch out for early signs of liver disease.

Hepatitis C is one of the most common blood-borne diseases in the United States, affecting around 4 million people, to date. However, only some 30 percent of new hepatitis C patients have experienced the symptoms related to the disease. Nonetheless, those with only mild or no symptoms still carry the virus and potentially infect others. It’s important to remember that hepatitis C is not passed on by casual physical contact like hugging, sharing cutlery, and coughing.

It can take up to six months from initial infection for the signs of the virus to appear. The most noticeable sign of hepatitis C is jaundice, when your skin and the whites of the eyes develop a yellowish hue.

At its initial stages, hepatitis C may present with flu-like symptoms such as headaches, muscle pains and fatigue. Some people experience fever and flu without getting any skin discoloration.

Hepatitis C may also have abdominal symptoms that we can easily mistake as a stomach pain from eating bad food. Many hepatitis C patients have observed appetite loss during the first week of exposure to the virus. People in the early stage hepatitis C may also experience nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pains.  The upper right of the abdomen may feel tender and painful when touched, while the spleen under the upper left may start to enlarge.

Getting screened for hepatitis C still remains the best way to see and confirm hepatitis. Laboratory blood tests could already detect the virus within six months of infection. While these signs may not be experienced altogether, don’t ignore that flu or abdominal pain, and have yourself checked for liver problems regularly.


Shop ADRLF and support liver health awareness

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Show your support for ADRLF and liver health awareness with these merchandise for sale.

Please use this secure payment form to complete your donation or purchase. We accept payment by method of American Express, Visa, and Mastercard.  To purchase by other methods please contact us via email at

ADRLF has carefully selected just a few chosen items for you to gift yourself or others as a way to further support the mission of the ADRLF and look good while doing it!

viewCartImageExternal (1)Men and women’s T-Shirts viewCartImageExternal

These T-shirts are made of 100% fine ring-spun cotton.  They are the softest lightweight fine jersey and are exceptionally smooth and tight-knit.They are casual and stylish.  It is the perfect way to proudly display your support for the ADRLF.




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This 10 oz Royal blue mug has our ADRLF logo on the front. The back of the mug reads “Screen, Vaccinate, Don’t Hesitate”  Is there a better way to drink your morning coffee? Of course you can buy one for yourself or a gift, but these mugs can also be purchased as a duo, a quad or in a group of eight.

World Hepatitis Day, screening event at Boricua College on Monday, May 19, 2014

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Co-hosted by William F. Ryan Community Health Network & Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation (ADRLF) The Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides resources, education and information related to screening, the prevention of and treatment for the Hepatitis Virus and Liver Cancer.

ADRLF Founding Board Members Carson Kressley and Carlos Ortiz, MD will attend along with Board members Lisa Collins, Crayton Robey, Cara Joy David, Harriett Foy and Darcy Becker.

The William F. Ryan Community Health Network and the Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation have joined together to host an education and screening event for World Hepatitis Day.

“We are thrilled that the President of Boricua College, Victor G. Alicea, PhD., has opened up his diverse campus of students and faculty to work with both the Ryan Network and ADRLF” says Barbra E. Minch, Pres. & CEO of the Ryan Network.

• The Event begins at 11:30 am, Ryan staff members will provide education and confidential screening to participants from Boricua College until 2:00 pm.

• In addition, Barbara E. Minch, Pres. & CEO of the William F. Ryan Community Health Network will accept a check from the ADRLF to continue the screening/prevention & treatment of Hepatitis.

• Guest speaker Geraldine Jones, PA, will discuss the formation of the disease and how it effects people of the Bronx community.

WHO: William F. Ryan Community Health Network,  Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation, Boricua College

WHAT: World Hepatitis Day; an education and screening event

WHEN: Monday, May 19, 2014

WHERE: Boricua College, 890 Washington Avenue

11:30 am to 2:00 pm

Room 710 for Opening and Education

Rooms 708 and 709 for confidential screening

Note: Security will ask for ID to sign-in and will provide a visitors badge.

Media Contact: Don Hoffman:; 212-981-5118

Kaitlin Brooks:; 212-981-5181

ADRLF joins NYC leaders for National Hepatitis Awareness Month 2014

Friday, May 16th, 2014

New York, NY – May 15, 2014. Representatives from community-based organizations, local and federal public health officials, NYC Council members and patient advocates gathered on the steps of city hall today to raise awareness about viral hepatitis (hepatitis B and hepatitis C). This event coincides with May’s National Hepatitis Awareness Month, which includes National Hispanic Hepatitis Awareness Day (May 15th) and National Hepatitis Testing Day (May 19th).

Leaders and supporters gather at the NYC city hall to send strong messages of Hepatitis awareness.

Leaders and supporters gather at the NYC city hall to send strong messages of Hepatitis awareness.

NYC leaders call for action to address the impact of viral hepatitis and seek to: increase public awareness of and concern about hepatitis B and hepatitis C; to improve testing, care, and treatment; and prevent liver disease and cancer. This coincides with the recently updated national cross-agency Viral Hepatitis Action Plan released in April 2014.

Between 3.5 and 5.3 million Americans, and 250, 000 NYC residents are living with chronic (lifelong) viral hepatitis, and most of them do not know that they are infected.[1] Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation in the United States.[2] In addition, it is a leading infectious cause of death in the U.S., claiming the lives of 12,000–18,000 Americans each year.1 In the U.S., viral hepatitis disproportionately affects the African American, Hispanic and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

In a World Hepatitis Day Proclamation on July 26, 2013 President Barack Obama stated “Viral hepatitis is a silent epidemic, and we can only defeat it if we break that silence. Now is the time to learn the risk factors for hepatitis; talk to family, friends, and neighbors who may be at risk; and to speak with healthcare providers about strategies for staying health… [L]et each of us lend our support to those living with hepatitis and do our part to bring this epidemic to an end.”  President Barack Obama, July 26, 2013.[3]

In recognition of National Hepatitis Awareness Month, NYC community-based organizations will be hosting screening events and educational workshops ( in conjunction with other events taking place throughout the country ( Also, Asian Week Foundation and National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable coordinated a new public service announcement (PSA) to highlight National Hepatitis Testing Day in partnership with CBS HealthWatch and scheduled to be aired on CBS from May 17 to May 19 in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Seattle. The PSA features a call for hepatitis testing as a way to prevent liver cancer and includes a unique URL for each city (NYC is: that links to local hepatitis resources and screening events.

[General/Screening] Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation Board Member and Emmy Award-winner Carson Kressley said: “The loss of our dear friend Al — the namesake of the Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation — is a constant reminder that hepatitis and liver cancer can happen to anyone. This May 19, ADRLF encourages all New Yorkers to ‘Screen. Vaccinate. Don’t Hesitate.’”

“Hepatitis B disproportionately affects those that are foreign-born,” says Dr. Vivian Huang, physician and hepatitis B program director of the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. “If you are a foreign-born New Yorker or have parents that are foreign-born, it is important that you get tested for hepatitis B.  Hepatitis B is a virus that can damage your liver and lead to liver failure and/or liver cancer.  The disease usually has no symptoms until it is too late.  But there is good news, when detected early, it is an easily manageable condition and there are medications that can keep the disease under control.”

Lisa Gallipoli, Executive Director, American Liver Foundation – Greater New York Division stated “Hepatitis Awareness Month is truly about catalyzing ACTION against Hepatitis. With the increased availability of effective treatments for Hepatitis C, we need to ensure that at-risk individuals, especially baby boomers, are asking their doctors about getting tested, and that primary care physicians are testing their patients.”

ADRLF Board Members show their steadfast support for National Hepatitis Awareness Month and Hepatitis Testing Day on May 19.

ADRLF Board Members show their steadfast support for National Hepatitis Awareness Month and Hepatitis Testing Day on May 19.

“The American Cancer Society recognizes that the burden of cancer is unequal across ethnic groups, and the Society is committed to playing an active role in decreasing and contributing to the elimination of disparities. The Society continues to partner with NYC public health organizations to raise awareness about viral hepatitis B and viral hepatitis C as the most common risk factor for liver cancer” stated Natasha Coleman, Senior Director, State Health Systems of the Eastern Division of American Cancer Society.

[Hepatitis and the Hispanic community] In 2012, approximately 4,300 Hispanics will be diagnosed with liver cancer, and about 2,700 will die from the disease. Liver cancer incidence rates in the U.S. are about twice as high in Hispanics as in non-Hispanic whites.“We are deeply concerned about these incidence and death rates, and are partnering with an array of community leaders and advocates to ensure that Latinos/Hispanics are not left behind when trying to access care and treatment” stated Bethsy Morales-Reid, Hispanic Federation.

[Hepatitis and the African American community] “Hepatitis C is one of the most serious health disparities affecting black communities,” said C. Virginia Fields, president and CEO of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, Inc. “African Americans are twice as likely to have been infected with the hepatitis C virus compared to the general U.S. population, and we make up roughly 22% of the estimated 3.2 million persons with chronic hepatitis C, which is a leading cause of potentially deadly liver disease. We must ensure that our communities are informed about the dangers of viral hepatitis and that they have access to testing and treatment that will safeguard their health and well-being.”

[Hepatitis and Persons Who Inject Drugs] People who inject drugs are at increased risk for hepatitis B and C An estimated 64% of PWID are chronically infected with hepatitis C and 2.7-11% are chronically infected with hepatitis B. Daniel Raymond, Policy Director at Harm Reduction Coalition stated “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 45% increase in new infections between 2010 and 2011,” said Daniel Raymond, Policy Director for the Harm Reduction Coalition. “We need to come together to increase our prevention efforts, particularly for a new generation of opioid injectors at risk.”

[Hepatitis and the Asian American & Pacific Islander community] Dr. Warren Chin of the Chinese American Medical Society stated “One in twelve Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) is living with chronic hepatitis B and as many as two out of three AAPIs with chronic hepatitis B are unaware of their status. Without appropriate medical treatment, one out of four will die of cirrhosis and liver cancer. Chronic hepatitis B and hepatocellular cancer is the single greatest health disparity between AAPIs and Caucasian Americans. We are encouraging not only community members at risk to get tested but also informing our physicians and healthcare providers to make an effort to test all their patients at risk.”

 Soonsik Kim, Project Coordinator at Korean Community Services stated that “Liver cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer among Korean Americans. This is mainly due to a high prevalence of hepatitis B infection in the Korean population. It is very important for Korean Americans to know that chronic hepatitis B is preventable and treatable. Koreans Americans can break the cycle of infection by getting tested and vaccinated!”

[1] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. April 2014. Action Plan for the Prevention, Care, and Treatment of Viral Hepatitis – Updated 2014-2016. Retrieved from on May 6, 2014.

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Viral Hepatitis. Retrieved from on May 6, 2014.

[3] U.S. President Barack Obama. July 25, 2013. Proclamation – World Hepatitis Day, 2013. Retrieved from on May 6, 2014.

Contact: Nicole Bannister or (212) 941-2219

NYC leaders call to action for National Hepatitis Testing Day 2014

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014


CONTACT: Stephanie Cirkovich, 646-483-2749


WHAT: The Al D. Rodriguez Liver Foundation (ADRLF) is participating a press conference on May 15, 2014 to announce free and low-cost hepatitis screenings throughout New York

City. The event coincides with National Hepatitis Awareness Month, National Hispanic Hepatitis Awareness Day on May 15, and National Hepatitis Testing Day on May 19.

LOCATIONS: Press Conference: Thursday, May 15, 2014 – 11 a.m. on the steps of City Hall, 260 Broadway / New York City (Take the 4, 6, N or R train to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall)

WHO: Founding Board Member and ADRLF Treasurer Dr. Carlos Ortiz will speak at the press conference on May 15, and other ADRLF board members and supporters will be present.

WHY: Viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer in the United States, and it is a silent epidemic: Approximately 5.3 million Americans—and more than 245,000 New Yorkers—are estimated to have either Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, and many people do not know they have the disease. Viral Hepatitis claims the lives of 12,000-15,000 Americans every year.

Dark chocolate benefits for the liver

Thursday, January 16th, 2014
Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that are great for liver health.

Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that are great for liver health. (Photo Credit: Creative Commons)

Chocolate has been known uplift the spirit – but what great news that it’s good for our liver too! Dark chocolate, in particular, contains rich antioxidants that help cleanse the liver and control blood pressure, which is important for people suffering liver cirrhosis.

Researchers have used different types of chocolate and studied its effect on patients with liver disease. Their findings showed that those given white chocolate did not exhibit significant improvements. They believe that this is because white chocolate does not have antioxidants. On the other hand, patients who were given dark chocolate with their daily meals reacted favorably – showing minimal increase in their ost-meal blood pressure.

Heart diseases and liver cirrhosis usually cause high blood pressure or hypertension. Our bodies have veins that span from the intestines to the liver. Livers with cirrhosis, however, amass scarred tissues, making it difficult for blood to flow properly, and causing blood to build up in the veins. This puts cirrhosis patients at great health risk should the blood vessel burst.  Build ups also cause damage to the inner lining of the blood vessels, which can possibly lead to stroke and heart attack.

So how can dark chocolate play an important role in liver health?

Cocoa beans, from which dark chocolate is made, contain flavonoids that have antioxidant qualities. These antioxidants help keep the blood vessels healthy.  It aids the arterial flow to prevent blood buildup and high blood pressure. Flavanoids have also been found to improve the body’s overall blood flow, especially through the heart and the brain. It promotes vascular health, enabling the blood to clot in cases of open wounds.

Dark chocolate contains higher amounts of cocoa. Other chocolate variants like milk chocolate typically has less cocoa content, and are thus not as beneficial as dark chocolate. Many dark chocolate brands have over seventy percent of cocoa, while milk chocolate contains around twenty to thirty percent cocoa solids. So choose dark chocolates to treat your sweet tooth and your liver!