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Congressman McCarthy Announces Valley Fever CME Development

Jun 24, 2014
Press Release

Washington, DC - Chairman of the Congressional Valley Fever Task Force, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (CA-23), issued the following statement on the Health Officers Association of California (HOAC) Board of Director’s decision to begin development of a Continuing Medical Education (CME) program for coccidioidomycosis, commonly referred to as Valley Fever, tailored to California public health and clinical medicine physicians:

“I want to commend the Health Officers Association of California on its leadership in the fight against Valley Fever and their commitment to work with experts in Kern County and across California to begin development of a Valley Fever Continuing Medical Education (CME). This CME will help increase awareness of this disease among doctors and medical professionals, while also ensuring they are better able to recognize, diagnose and treat Valley Fever.  These preventative measures are important to Valley Fever patients because early diagnosis can reduce the severity of the symptoms of this disease and lead to a quicker recovery.  HOAC’s latest decision is another important step forward in our fight to eradicate this disease, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Association, my constituents, and Valley Fever experts over the next several months to develop this program.”

Bruce Pomer, Executive Director of the Health Officers Association of California, issued the following statement:

“I want to commend Congressman Kevin McCarthy for his dedication to this important cause. Valley Fever is a communicable disease of importance to vulnerable populations in California, and Congressman McCarthy understands the need to bring resources to bear on this public health problem. By working with HOAC on this educational program, Congressman McCarthy and Valley Fever experts will help us fulfill our mission of ‘increasing the knowledge and practice of public health in California by promoting high professional and medical educational standards.’”

Dr. Claudia Jonah, the Public Health Officer of Kern County, issued the following statement:

“I applaud Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s commitment to bringing national attention to the public health impacts of Valley Fever.  The formation of a Valley Fever continuing medical education program is an important next step in raising general awareness; establishing urgency for requiring practitioner competency in identifying and managing infections; and generating the momentum for development of effective Valley Fever diagnostics, cures and a vaccine.

Dr. Royce Johnson, a local Valley Fever expert, issued the following statement:

“The work of the Congressional Valley Fever Task Force on Valley Fever, spearheaded by Kevin McCarthy, has generated new policy at the FDA that was recently announced. There are also renewed efforts by the CDC. The NIH is proposing a randomized trial in the therapy of primary coccidioidal pneumonia. The educational efforts being developed by HOAC will increase provider awareness engendering early diagnosis and treatment.”

Mr. Mike Cooper, President of the Valley Fevers American Foundation, issued the following statement:

"The Valley Fever Americas Foundation truly appreciates the continued support of Congressman McCarthy in his efforts to help develop a vaccine for Valley Fever and also increase the public awareness regarding this devastating and deadly disease. Congressman McCarthy is passionate and dedicated to the prevention, treatment and cure of this disease. The development of a continuing medical education program for Valley Fever will provide health care professionals with increased knowledge for improved early diagnoses and treatment of Valley Fever."



In September 2013, Congressman McCarthy hosted the Valley Fever Symposium in Bakersfield, California, which brought together Valley Fever experts, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health scientists, and medical professionals to discuss strategies to raise aware of Valley Fever, develop an effective treatment, and pursue a vaccine for this disease.  A direct result of the Symposium, the Health Officers Association of California offered its services to work with local and regional experts to develop and certify a Valley Fever continuing medical education (CME) program for California physicians. 

Under current law, California doctors are required to take 50 hours of CME every 2 years in order to maintain their license to practice medicine.  This Valley Fever CME will cover the history of this disease, epidemiology and clinical factors to help doctors make diagnosis, and treatment therapies.  HOAC is accredited by the Institute for Medical Quality/California Medical Association to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Their activities are developed in the context of the needs of California’s health officers and clinical physicians to improve the health of the population.

The Health Officers Association of California is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose vision is a healthy California for all through public health education, advocacy, and action. HOAC represents the physician health officers in California’s 61 city and county public health jurisdictions.

The Kern County Public Health Services Department is centered on the promotion of healthy lifestyles and behaviors through education, awareness and disease prevention.  The Public Health Services Department administers four (4) operating divisions; Health Services, Environmental Health, California Children’s Services, and Emergency Medical Services.  The Public Health Services Department employs over 350 staff and has an annual operating budget in excess of $44 million.  Through use of the latest research and nursing techniques, Public Health has created an environment that supports creative and innovative solutions to emerging health risks and chronic disease.

The Valley Fever Americas Foundation (VFAF) is  a 501 (c) (3) non-profit foundation established in 1995 for the purpose to raise funds for the development of a vaccine for coccidioidomycosis, also known as Valley Fever. VFAF has also focused on increasing public awareness and education regarding the diagnosis and treatment of Valley Fever. The foundation participates in public and employer sponsored health fairs providing valuable educational information, as well as support and resources for families dealing with this devastating and life threatening disease. Valley Fever Americas Foundation also supports the development on the new experimental drug Nikkomycin-Z, which is a break through drug treatment that has the potential to cure valley fever once contracted.