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
MF: Yes, on World TB Day, I heard the live broadcast.
Folks were excited about the community involvement when you launched
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
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. state.ga.us/programs/tb/halt.tb.asp.
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
MF: Thank you, Nikki. I am quite sure that our
readers will have an interest in your work.