Hepatitis C Challenge: Hep C Caring Ambassadors Program
HepC Choices

CAP-Hepatitis C Medical Brainstorming Team

The Caring Ambassadors Hepatitis C Program has formed a team of health care professionals from a variety of disciplines along with patient advocates. They are our world-class Hepatitis C Brainstorming Team. The Team meets twice yearly for 3-day meetings to discuss important issues facing the hepatitis C community and to come up with new, creative ways to address these issues.

Meet the Hepatitis C Brainstorming Team

(in alphabetical order)


Terry Baker
Executive Director, Veterans Aimed Toward Awareness
Middletown, Delaware

Terry Baker is a patient advocate for military veterans and Executive Director of Veterans Aimed Toward Awareness (VATA). Mr. Baker and VATA work to educate veterans about the need to be tested for hepatitis, and advocate for veterans' rights regarding hepatitis C and other illnesses related to military service.


Misha Ruth Cohen, OMD, LAc
Clinic Director, Chicken Soup Chinese Medicine
San Francisco, California

Misha R. Cohen is a doctor of oriental medicine and a licensed acupuncturist. She is an internationally recognized practitioner and lecturer in the field of integrated Chinese medicine. Dr. Cohen is the author of The Chinese Way to Healing: Many Paths to Wholeness (Perigee 1996, iUniverse 2006), The HIV Wellness Sourcebook (Holt 1998), and The Hepatitis C Help Book (St. Martin's Press 2000, 2001, 2007). She has also authored numerous professional articles and book chapters on Chinese medicine and research subjects. Dr. Cohen is Clinic Director of Chicken Soup Chinese Medicine, of Quan Yin Healing Arts Center, Research Specialist V for Integrative Medicine at the University of California San Francisco Institute for Health and Aging, and a Principal Investigator at the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center. She is also the founder of the Hepatitis C Professional Certification Program that trains licensed acupuncturists, naturopathic doctors and other medical professionals in integrative approaches to hepatitis C and liver disease.


Stewart Cooper, MD, MB, ChB, MRCP
Dir. of Liver Research, California Pacific Medical Ctr.
San Francisco, California

Dr. Stewart Cooper is an expert in immunology and hepatology with special clinical and research interests in viral hepatitis. He has been a pioneer in liver immunology research for more than a decade. At California Pacific Medical Center, Dr. Cooper is overseeing the development of the Liver Immunology Laboratory and his research will investigate hepatic immunity, focusing on the determinants of HCV clearance. Dr. Cooper has served as Assistant Professor of Medicine, Microbiology & Immunology at University of California San Francisco and as a Research and Gastroenterology Fellow at Stanford University School of Medicine. He has an international reputation in viral hepatitis research and management, and is listed in Who's Who of Medical Science Educators.


Randy Dietrich
Patient Advocate
Aurora, Colorado
(Randy's Story)
Randy Dietrich was diagnosed with hepatitis C in January 1999 following a routine physical examination. Randy is a successful executive in the finance arena. As a result of his diagnosis, Mr. Dietrich, together with his employer Republic Financial Corporation, founded the Caring Ambassadors Hepatitis C Program.


Gregory T. Everson, MD
Professor of Medicine and Director of Hepatology,
Univ. of Colorado Health Sciences Center
Denver, Colorado

Dr. Everson is Professor of Medicine and Director of Hepatology in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Colorado. Dr. Everson is a recipient of both NIH and industry sponsored research grants and contracts to study and treat patients with hepatitis C. Dr. Everson is an author and contributor to many scientific and clinical publications related to hepatitis C and liver disease. He and his coauthor Hedy Weinberg have written three editions of Living with Hepatitis C: A Survivor's Guide, one edition of My Mom has Hepatitis C, one edition of Living with Hepatitis B: A Survivor's Guide, and Hemochromatosis: Answers to Your Questions About Iron Overload. Dr. Everson is a fellow of the American College of Physicians, and a member of the American Gastroenterologic Association, the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease, and the American Society of Transplantation.


Robert Gish, MD
Medical Director of the Liver Disease
Management & Transplant Program
California Pacific Medical Center
San Francisco, California

In addition to being the Medical Director of the Liver Disease Management & Transplant Program at California Pacific Medical Center, Dr. Gish is an associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Nevada, Reno. Dr. Gish has conducted extensive research on treatments for hepatitis B and C, and has authored more than 100 original articles, review articles, abstracts, and book chapters. Along with being a co-principal investigator or sub-investigator on a number of grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Gish has also received the NIH physician scientist award. He is actively involved in numerous professional societies including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society of Transplant Physicians, and is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease.


Randy Horwitz, MD, PhD
Medical Director, Program in Integrative Medicine,
University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona

Dr. Horwitz is the Medical Director of the Program in Integrative Medicine and assistant professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Arizona. He earned his medical degree from the University of Illinois and a PhD in immunology and molecular biology from the University of Florida. Dr. Horwitz did his postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health, and completed a three-year fellowship in Allergy and Clinical Immunology at the University of Wisconsin. He is board certified in internal medicine, and allergy and clinical immunology. Dr. Horwitz also participated in a two-year fellowship program in integrative medicine at the University of Arizona with a focus on mind-body approaches to illness.


Douglas LaBrecque, MD
Professor and Director of Liver Services,
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
Iowa City, Iowa

Dr. LaBrecque received his medical degree from Stanford Medical School, Stanford, California. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Iowa College of Medicine. Dr. LaBrecque was Chief of Gastroenterology-Hepatology at the Veterans Administration hospital in Iowa City, IA from 1982 to 2001. He has won a number of awards including the Lange Book Award, the J. D. Lane Research Award, and the Medical Residents Teaching Award at the University of Iowa. Dr. LaBrecque is internationally recognized for his expertise in liver diseases, particularly the field of hepatitis. Dr. LaBrecque has written key chapters on clinical subjects in standard internal medicine and hepatology textbooks, and co-edited a textbook on liver diseases.


Lyn Patrick, ND
Private Naturopathic Physician
Durango, Colorado

Dr. Patrick graduated from Bastyr University was in private practice as a state-boarded  naturopathic physician in Tucson, Arizona for 17 years. She is currently in private practice in Durango, Colorado and specializes in chronic hepatitis C and environmental medicine. She is a member of the American College for the Advancement in Medicine, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, and the Colorado Association of Naturopathic Physicians. She has provided care for HIV positive and HIV/HCV coinfected patients through federally funded programs that incorporate complementary medicine in a primary care treatment model. She is currently an Associate Editor for Alternative Medicine Review. She has published over 20 scientific reviews in the field of complementary and alternative medicine and has presented information on CAM and hepatitis C at numerous medical meetings.


Lorren Sandt, Program Director
Hepatitis C Caring Ambassador Program
Oregon City, Oregon

Lorren Sandt has managed the Caring Ambassadors Hepatitis C Program since its inception in 1999. She is responsible for the implementation of the organization's structure and spearheads its ongoing mission. In August 2001, Ms. Sandt was honored with the Ronald Eugene Duffy Memorial Award for Patient Activism award from the Hepatitis C Global Foundation. Ms. Sandt is the founder of the National Hepatitis C Advocacy Council, a coalition of 20+ hepatitis C advocacy organizations working in concert to improve hepatitis C patient outcomes. Ms. Sandt has been instrumental in hepatitis C policy work in the Pacific Northwest and nationally.




Sylvia Flesner, ND
Private Naturopath
Denver, Colorado

Dr. Flesner is a naturopathic doctor, a graduate of the former American Holistic College of Nutrition (now the Clayton School of Natural Healing). She has maintained clinical practices in Houston, Texas and Denver, Colorado for the past 23 years. Her training as a doctor of naturopathy included the study of several alternative medical disciplines including homeopathy, nutrition, pressure points, herbology, massage, acupressure, reflexology, iridology, psychology, degenerative diseases, allergic diseases, immune deficiency problems, and techniques for survival in the 21st century. Dr. Flesner is also certified in psychoneuroimmunology. She is a member of the American Naturopathic Medical Association and the American Holistic Medical Association.


Margaret McCarthy, MBA
Founder, McCarthy Medical Marketing & Innovative Medical Education Consortium
Vancouver, Washington

Ms. McCarthy received her MBA in health administration from National University in San Diego, California. She was previously an immunology researcher at the University of California at San Diego, and has published in peer-reviewed journals. Ms. McCarthy worked in the pharmaceutical industry before founding her companies, McCarthy Medical Marketing (1987) and Innovative Medical Education Consortium (1992). She also founded the Alliance for Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support, and Education (ALCASE) in 1995 and served as Executive Director until 2000. Along with Dr. Claudia Henschke and Ms. Sara Wernick, Ms. McCarthy co-authored the 2002 award-winning book Lung Caner: Myths, Facts, Choices, and Hope.


Qing-Cai Zhang, LAc, MD (China)
Zhang's Clinic
New York, New York

Dr. Qing-Cai Zhang graduated from Shanghai Second Medical University. Dr. Zhang has conducted clinical work and research to integrate Chinese and western medicine. In 1980, he was awarded a World Health Organization scholarship, which supported his two-year fellowship at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Zhang received a one-year appointment from the University of California, Davis as a visiting professor. Since 1986, Dr. Zhang has been the primary researcher at the Oriental Healing Arts Institute where he conducts research on treating HIV/AIDS with Chinese medicine. He has published two books on this topic. Dr. Zhang went into private practice in 1990, first in Cypress, California, and now in New York City. He focuses on treating chronic infectious diseases such as viral hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, Lyme disease, and autoimmune diseases. He is the author of Healing Hepatitis C with Modern Chinese Medicine.

ChoicesThe Team has written a book along with other invited authors - Hepatitis C Choices. The book presents information about various treatments and therapies currently being used by people living with hepatitis C. The book is available for browsing or downloading free of charge. We encourage you to take advantage of this excellent resource. Click here to go to Hepatitis C Choices.

For additional information about the formation and functions of the CAP-Hepatitis C Medical Brainstorming Team, click here.  

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