S5 – E22.5 – Healthy Livers, Healthy Lives: Watershed Moments To Come In MASLD Public Policy

S5 - E22.5 - Healthy Livers, Healthy Lives: Watershed Moments To Come In MASLD Public Policy
Jeff Lazarus and the Surfers discuss the upcoming UN event for "Healthy Livers, Healthy Lives," focusing on MASLD awareness. They explore challenges in educating policymakers, strategies for highlighting MASLD's impact, and ways listeners can support the initiative.

In this closing conversation, Healthy Livers, Healthy Lives Chair Jeff Lazarus and Surfers Jörn Schattenberg, Louise Campbell and Roger Green discuss the upcoming United Nations General Assembly side event and consider ways listeners can support the “Healthy LIvers, Healthy Lives” coalition.

Jeff discussed this impact on global care when the World Health Organization develops and releases a global health sector strategy. One key goal in public health is to lobby for a MASLD strategy. To that end, Healthy Livers, Healthy Lives is holding a side event at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in mid-September.

00:40:41 – Presenting MASLD to politicians
One challenge in educating policymakers about MASLD is that people do not die from MASLD. One recent example: policymakers did not respond to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 until COVID-19 produced massive numbers of deaths.

When asked, Jeff draws the chain from MASLD to MASH to cirrhosis and end-stage liver cancer and notes that we are already seeing MASLD as a leading cause of liver transplant.

Roger suggests that Jeff reframe the issue to be about how many people die with MASLD, not from MASLD. Jeff believes this simple change may change the dialogue.

00:43:06 – How listeners can support this initiative
Roger asks Jeff how listeners can support the Healthy Livers, Healthy Lives initiative. Jeff suggests that we all be careful to name the disease and let people know how easily MASLD can be identified and treated. For those who work in related areas or help set policy for their organizations, make sure that MASLD is included and, whenever possible, linked to diabetes, obesity, and other relevant metabolic conditions.

00:44:58 – LiverAIM and exit.
As his closing comment, Jeff discusses LiverAIM, the largest European Commission-funded liver project in 26 years. (Jörn and Maja Thiele, who is leading the 100,000-person randomized clinical trial, discuss this in Episode 15.) Roger commits to producing an episode on LiverAIM this fall.

After Jeff departs, Jörn restates the importance of working with colleagues like Jeff who can systematically develop public health approaches and drive policy change from the top down. Roger agrees that a top-down approach can be extremely valuable, but may have limits in primary care. He suggests that professional organizations also need to bring allied health providers into the dialogue.

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