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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

  

TB Challenge: Partnering to Eliminate TB
in African Americans

A Black History Salute

Charles P. Felton, MD, served as Associate Director of Medicine at Harlem Hospital from 1973 until his retirement on June 30, 1998. He is a graduate of the School of Medicine (Switzerland), where he received his MD degree in 1956. After residency in internal medicine at Harlem Hospital and after a 2-year stint as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps, he completed his fellowship training in Pulmonary Medicine at St. Luke's Hospital, New York City (NYC) from 1963 to 1965. Dr. Felton returned to Harlem Hospital in July 1965 to establish the Pulmonary Division and the Pulmonary Functions Laboratory; he has held a faculty appointment with the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons since 1965 and tenure of title since 1974.

Over the years Dr. Felton has served on the boards of directors of several distinguished professional organizations, including the New York Lung Association. He was president of the National TB Controllers Association (NTCA) from 1975 to 1977 and president of the New York State Thoracic Society from 1990 to 1991. In 1983, he was an invited panelist at the first National Institutes of Health's 3-day workshop on the pulmonary complications of HIV/AIDS. Also, that year he served as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) consultant to Haiti to study and submit recommendations on the management of the TB endemic there. From 1986 to 1994, he was Chair of Governor Cuomo's Committee on the State of Black Health in New York. In 1993, he was appointed by then-Secretary of DHHS Donna Shalala to the Advisory Council for the Elimination of Tuberculosis. That same year, he was awared the American Lung Association's “Will Ross Medal” for his many years and efforts in the control of lung disease in the United States. He played a pivotal role in the establishment of the National Tuberculosis Center at Harlem Hospital (Harlem TB Model Center), one of only three in the country. This clinic, funded by CDC, was dedicated as “The Charles P. Felton Tuberculosis Center” by NYC Commissioner of Health Margaret Hamburg in March 1996.

Dr. Felton has been a tireless advocate for the health needs of the African-American community. During the decades when TB case rates consistently declined, he continued to point out to Congressional leaders and CDC officials that African-American communities, such as Harlem, had not benefited from these advances. In 1992, Harlem reported a TB case rate of 240.2/100,000; this was a rate comparable to many developing countries. Due to his efforts and those of the NYC Bureau of TB Control, Harlem reduced its rates to 39.4/100,000 in 2002.

Dr. Felton and his wife currently reside in New Jersey.

Submitted by Dr. Paul Colsen, Program Director, Charles P. Felton National Tuberculosis Center.

 


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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