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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

  

TB Challenge: Partnering to Eliminate TB
in African Americans

Fall 2003

ACET and CDC Cosponsor Consultation- -TB in America:  Disparities in the Southeast
H. Dave Crowder, Section Chief, Field Operations Section 1

The Advisory Council for the Elimination of Tuberculosis (ACET) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cosponsored a consultation with national non-governmental African-American organizations and agencies whose programs could have an impact on TB control efforts in the African-American population.  This was an initial step in addressing the disparities between the tuberculosis (TB) case rates of African Americans and those of other US-born racial/ethnic groups in the Southeastern United States.  The consultation was intended to raise awareness about the disparity, solicit support for eliminating TB in US-born African Americans, and develop recommendations for accelerating the decline in TB rates among US-born African Americans in the Southeastern states.

The consultation, entitled “TB in America:  Disparities in the Southeast,” was held on May 13 and 14, 2003, at the Sheraton Colony Square Hotel in Atlanta.  Approximately 40 people attended this consultation (not including observers from CDC).  The participants comprised a diverse group that included academicians, health care providers, public health leaders, policy and decision-makers, religious and community leaders, state and local health department representatives, and others representing a broad spectrum of views.

The first day of this consultation provided participants with an overview of the TB problem and more specific information about TB in African Americans. On the second day, participants were assigned to small breakout groups and asked to develop specific recommendations for accelerating the decline in TB rates among US-born African Americans in the Southeastern states.

During the breakout sessions the participants were asked a number of predetermined questions that covered several major topics, including level of community TB knowledge, how to increase awareness of the TB problem, how to mobilize community resources, and how to enhance relationships between TB control programs and African-American communities in order to improve TB elimination activities.

The discussion groups identified a number of unmet needs and provided important comments and specific recommendations for activities that will raise awareness and stimulate actions in order to address and reduce TB in racial/ethnic minorities.  The needs identified included heightening awareness; forming a national advocacy group; reducing the stigma associated with TB; educating the public and policy makers with fact sheets to influence political will; designing culturally appropriate educational materials; better educating the medical community and legislators, including the Congressional Black Caucus, about TB and health disparities in racial/ethnic populations; and addressing the private-provider disconnect. The recommendations from the discussion groups can be found below.  

Recommendations

  • Send TB experts to communities and community organizations to speak about the problem and what we can do about it.
  • Use a number of venues to get the message out, including public service announcements, billboards, former patients, National Minority Health Education Network, media resources that have a largely African-American audience, direct person-to-person (even door-to-door) education, and local gathering points (churches, shelters, emergency rooms, liquor stores).
  • Seek out and partner with the private sector, CBOs, and other organizations that serve the African-American community. 
  • Involve public school systems and form partnerships with historically black institutions of higher learning.  Health departments should strive to ensure that the racial/ethnic composition of their staff is similar to that in the communities.
  • Place TB on the Secretary's Health Disparities Report and on the agenda of the American Public Health Association conference.
  • CDC should improve or establish relationships with a variety of organizations such as the National Medical Association, the Black Women's Project, and  African-American fraternities and sororities.
  • Improve the relationships between health departments and African-American communities.  TB programs must acquire a better understanding of black culture, maintain a level of respect for the individual, evaluate and improve community access to TB services, and create more community coalitions.

 


Released October 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Division of Tuberculosis Elimination - http://www.cdc.gov/tb

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CDC/Division of Tuberculosis Elimination
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1600 Clifton Rd., NE - Mailstop E-10, Atlanta, GA 30333