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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


TB Challenge: Partnering to Eliminate TB
in African Americans

Spreading the Word About TB: GA Launches HALT Campaign

Michael Fraser, Public Health Advisor, Field Services and Evaluation Branch

Michael Fraser (MF): Nikki, the State of Georgia TB Control Division has a social marketing campaign that everyone is buzzing about. Can you tell our readers about this and what your role has been?

Nikki Johnson (NJ): Yes. I am serving as the Program Coordinator for the CDC-funded project, Intensification Efforts to Eliminate TB in African-American communities, and we are very excited about the project's HALT campaign. HALT means to Hear, Act, Learn, and Treat TB. It is a strategy of our Georgia TB advisory committee, Controlling and Eliminating TB in African-American Communities (CETBA). CETBA consists of members representing public housing, faith-based organizations, public and private hospitals, the American Lung Association (ALA) of Georgia, and others who impact and have influence in the African-American community. Our HALT campaign was launched on March 24th of this year, which is World TB Day. Our launching of the campaign was quite successful at a shopping mall within one of our targeted communities where there is a high incidence of TB disease. The campaign was designed to raise awareness in Atlanta's Fulton County community about TB.

MF: Who are the state's partners, and what has been their role in developing and launching this social marketing campaign? Also, what are some other strategies you are using?

NJ: Our primary partner is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Tuberculosis Elimination (DTBE). CDC has fully funded the project since 2002; there is a real commitment to reducing TB rates in African-American communities. Another key partner is the Atlanta Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness (FCDHW). Fulton County is located in metropolitan Atlanta and has a high incidence of TB in the African-American community. The Fulton County TB program has played a key role in guiding CETBA's work. From various patient focus groups and other formative work, the campaign's slogan and logo were designed, tested, and rolled out. The street teams and peer educators, who have been instrumental in delivering the campaign message to the streets of Atlanta, were all selected by FCDHW. This intervention is quite impressive in that they are meeting the people where they are to educate them about TB and to dispel any misconceptions about TB. In addition, we have also had a great deal of press around the project and the campaign. For example, a number of television and radio interviews have taken place with our TB program manager, Beverly DeVoe-Payton. Again, all of this has been done to promote the state's efforts to raise TB awareness, clear up any misconceptions, and encourage patient compliance with treatment for disease and latent TB infection. MF: How often does CETBA meet, and what is currently on the agenda?

NJ: We meet monthly to discuss issues relative to TB and to discuss ways to improve our work in the community. CETBA discusses ideas and develops concepts for clear, clever, and, more importantly, culturally appropriate strategies to reduce rates of TB in Fulton's African-American communities (where the project is funded).

MF: Yes, on World TB Day, I heard the live broadcast. Folks were excited about the community involvement when you launched the campaign.

NJ: The campaign is for the community. We have chosen zip codes that represent African-American neighborhoods in Fulton County where there is a high incidence of TB; our goal is to reduce and ultimately eliminate TB from these communities. On World TB Day, we rolled out the red carpet in the community. We had a local television anchorwoman (Channel 46) on hand and an all-time Atlanta favorite radio personality, Sign Man, broadcasting from the West End Mall. The audience really did enjoy themselves; it was all for the community.

MF: I know that there are some preliminary reports from a formal evaluation, and we will hear about those later, but in your opinion, has the social marketing campaign been successful?

NJ: Absolutely. Also, the state has contracted with a vendor to conduct a formal evaluation and to report findings from their work to us. We would be happy to share this with you after the work has been completed.

MF: Thank you, Nikki. Who decided what venues would be used in the targeted communities? I have noticed that the messages are displayed on billboards, park benches, and bus shelters.

NJ: Activities targeting park benches and the bus shelters (where people wait for public transportation) were all a part of the strategies developed by CETBA; there was a full logic model exercise, with our desired outcome, completed as a team.

MF: And the community's response seems to be overwhelming. I know that you have anecdotal data, but when the final report is completed, what do you plan to do with the findings?

NJ: We really want to build on what we are already doing here. We will enhance the efforts and target other locations in the state. I think that the message itself is already out there and has been well received. If we are indeed right, I really don't see our message, “Hear, Act, Learn, Treat TB” changing. If anything, it may be expanded within the state—targeting other African-American communities where there is a high incidence of TB.

MF: Can your materials, such as posters, flyers, and pamphlets, be shared with others serving African-American communities?
NJ: Definitely. We have information about the campaign on our web page, which can be accessed at http://health. Also, some of the campaign media can be downloaded from this site. Beverly DeVoe-Payton, who is the state's TB program manager, is also available to discuss our work. She can be reached at
(404) 657-2597.

MF: Thank you, Nikki. I am quite sure that our readers will have an interest in your work.


Released October 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Division of Tuberculosis Elimination -

Please send comments/suggestions/requests to:, or to
CDC/Division of Tuberculosis Elimination
Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch
1600 Clifton Rd., NE - Mailstop E-10, Atlanta, GA 30333