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May 20, 2011 > Bringing leadership to the Bay area

Bringing leadership to the Bay area

High school junior becomes board member for national organization

By Raji Ramanathan
Photo courtesy of Pearl Chang

Most high school juniors are busy worrying about SATs, the junior prom, part-time jobs, and college applications. Irvington High School junior, Pearl Chang, decided to add to her list and become involved in a campaign to inform her community about the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV).

Chang has recently been chosen as a member of the newly implemented six-person high school leadership chapter coordinated by the Asian Liver Center (ALC) at Stanford University. Five of the board members are from the San Francisco Bay Area, and one from Southern California. All have extensive leadership experience and prior involvement with the Asian Liver Center. The Asian Liver Center, founded in 1996, is the first non-profit organization in the U.S. to address the high incidence of hepatitis B infection in Asians and Asian Americans.

Prior to applying for the board, Chang attended the ALC's Youth Leadership Conference at Stanford University. This conference allowed her to gain a strong understanding of HBV and its danger to the Asian American community. Although she wasn't able to start a Team HBV at Irvington High School, she convinced her health teacher to elaborate more on the dangers of hepatitis B in lectures. With her enthusiasm for increasing awareness of HBV, Chang was selected to become a member of ALC's Jade Ribbon Youth Council.

"I want to inform people about HBV because it is so dangerous, especially in the Bay Area," said Chang. "With one in ten Asian Americans infected with the virus, we need the find a solution to the problem now."

As a Co-Interchapter Board Member of Team HBV, she will be working on creative plans and projects for Hepatitis B Awareness Week and will be running a network of a dozen high school Team HBV chapters across the nation. Chang hopes to become a youth leader in the Jade Ribbon Campaign with this leadership role, and encourage more students to get involved.

Other than being the Co-Interchapter Board Member of Team HBV, Chang is also an active member in her school's Key Club and Leo Club. Outside of school, she is Secretary and a student leader of WCEO (Wisdom Culture and Education Organization), an Asian group.

Stanford University intern Catherine Lu described the board as, "a great leadership opportunity for these high-achieving high school students to run a national network; its mission of eradicating global hepatitis B through community outreach makes it worth being a part of."

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