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TB Notes 1, 2004


Andrey S. Borisov, MD, MPH, a contractor with Northrop Grumman – BCA, has joined the Clinical and Health Systems Research Branch of the DTBE as a Public Health Analyst for the Tuberculosis Trial Consortium (TBTC). He will be working on data management, quality assurance and patients’ safety profiles in Study 26, a randomized clinical trial administered by the TBTC. Andrey received his medical degree from the Far Eastern State Medical University, Russia, and his MPH from the Department of Epidemiology of Emory University School of Public Health. Working in both clinical and academic settings, Andrey acquired extensive experience in methodology, management, and analysis of clinical studies. Prior to coming to CDC he worked at the Emory University School of Medicine where he studied risk factors for developing depression among patients receiving interferon alpha for Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.

Susan Conner has been selected for the contract surveillance data manager position in SEOIB. As a Northrop Grumman contractor, Susan worked as the Project Manager for the Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project (GISP) and Adolescent Women Reproductive Health Monitoring Project in the Division of STD Prevention, NCHSTP, beginning in May 2001. At DSTDP, Susan conducted data management activities for the large GISP database, and managed data collected from non-traditional surveillance sites such as school-based clinics and homeless shelters. She provided technical assistance to funded sites, including data quality assurance, database management, data analyses and reporting, and budget review. Susan developed and maintained the GISP website and developed innovative data collection methods for project sites, for which she won the NCHSTP Director’s Recognition Award in July 2003.  Susan’s data management experience began in 1999 at Emory University, where she handled data collection, data quality management, and data analyses for several ongoing projects in HIV/AIDS and STD research. Susan has an MPH from the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health from Emory University in 2001, and a BS in Exercise Movement and Science from the University of Oregon in 1998. Susan began her new position with the Surveillance Team on March 3.

Tracina Cropper has been selected for the public health advisor position in Austin, Texas, where she will serve as the Assistant to the Senior Public Health Advisor assigned to the state project area. Tracina began her career in public health on September 23, 1991, when she joined CDC as a public health associate with the Division of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and was assigned to the STD Disease Intervention Specialist training center in Decatur, Georgia. In October 1992, she was assigned to the Philadelphia STD program as a public health advisor/disease intervention specialist. Tracina was selected to participate in a TDY from July to September 1997 to combat a syphilis outbreak among crack cocaine addicted prostitutes in the Winston-Salem/Greensboro, NC, area.  Tracina's interest in TB control led her to leave CDC in February 1998 and join the City of Philadelphia TB control program where she rapidly advanced to the position of outreach team leader. Tracina returned to CDC/DTBE on December 17, 2001.  As the Preventive Therapy Coordinator in Philadelphia, Tracina prepared various statistical reports detailing cases, DOT, DOPT, performance measures, and service levels.  Tracina was also responsible for scheduling and conducting large contact screenings.  In February 2003, Tracina participated in a TDY in Seattle, WA, to assist in a TB outbreak among the homeless.  In July and August of the same year, she was temporarily detailed to the State TB Program in Harrisburg, PA.  Tracina began her new assignment in Texas on October 6, 2003.

Reuben Granich, MD, MPH, has returned to the International Research and Program Branch of DTBE/NCHSTP/CDC/Atlanta.  Reuben has concluded an 18-month secondment to the World Health Organization, assigned as their Medical Officer in tuberculosis to the Revised National TB Control Program (RNTCP) in India.  During his tour, Reuben contributed immensely to the expansion of access to DOTS services, from 459 million (45%) to 772 million (72%) population.  Additionally, he provided co-leadership in the recruitment and training of TB project staff from India,  in a variety of technical consultations and operational research activities (including the growing problem of TB/HIV in India), and in the coordination of the external 2003 RNTCP-WHO joint monitoring mission. Reuben will now be serving in a crucial role, drawing from past and this most recent experience, as DTBE endeavors to provide very much needed technical support to TB/HIV treatment and care in close collaboration with the Global AIDS Program.

Jimmy Keller has accepted the public health advisor position with the North Carolina Tuberculosis (TB) Program.  After completing a 20-year Air Force career and taking some time off, Jimmy started his public health career with CDC as a public health associate II in the STD program in Miami, Florida, in May 1991.  From there, he moved to New York City, New York, in October 1992 to continue in the STD Program. In January 1995, Jimmy accepted a position as a supervisory public health advisor in the New York City TB Program. In May 1998, Jimmy moved to Detroit, Michigan, to work in their TB Program in a re-created position as the senior public health advisor. Then, in January 2001, he moved to Columbus, Ohio, to fill a vacancy as the senior public health advisor for the Ohio TB Program. Continuing in the role as a senior public health advisor, Jimmy started work in the North Carolina TB Program on November 17, 2003.

Philip LoBue, MD, has transferred to DTBE headquarters after a 4½ year assignment in San Diego, California. Phil is serving as Team Leader for the Medical Consultation Team in FSEB. Phil graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1985 with a BA degree in biochemistry. He earned his MD degree from the same institution in 1989. He completed an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the University of California-San Diego Medical Center, followed by a fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, also at UCSD. Phil subsequently became a faculty member in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at UCSD in 1995, appointed as a Clinical Instructor and then as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine. During this time, he was Principal Investigator at UCSD for the Quantiferon Study 1 and Co-investigator at UCSD for USPHS Study 22 (rifapentine), both conducted by DTBE. Phil joined FSEB/DTBE in September 1999 and was assigned as Medical Epidemiologist for the TB Control program in San Diego County. In this assignment, his primary responsibilities were to assist the local TB program with epidemiologic data collection, analysis, and reporting, provide clinical consultation and oversee clinical and epidemiologic studies. During this time, Phil served on numerous local, state, and national committees and workgroups including the NTCA/CDC Contact Investigation Recommendations Working Group, California Department of Health Services Tuberculosis Indicators Project Advisory Committee, CDC RVCT (Report of Verified Case of Tuberculosis) Revision Working Group and CDC Tuberculosis Surveillance Program Area Module Steering Committee. He also maintained his affiliation with UCSD, acting as medical director of the medical center’s Chest Clinic from 1997 through 2003.

Richard J. (Rick) O’Brien, MD, Chief, Clinical and Health Systems Research Branch, DTBE, has left CDC for a position in Geneva with FIND, the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, which has recently been established with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to promote the development, evaluation, and implementation of new diagnostic tests for TB. During his 32 years in public health, Rick made significant contributions to TB control and elimination that brought him international renown in the scientific community. He joined the USPHS in 1970 as Chief, Epidemiologic Studies Branch, Appalachian Laboratory for Occupational Respiratory Disease, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). There, he directed an important national epidemiologic study of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (black lung disease). In 1972 he left that position to complete his medical training through a PHS-supported residency in internal medicine at Grady Hospital in Atlanta before going on to teach at West Virginia Medical School from 1974 to 1975. He joined the CDC in 1975 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer in the Viral Disease Division of the former Bureau of Epidemiology. He assumed responsibility for supervising and coordinating national influenza surveillance during the Swine Influenza Immunization Campaign. During this time, Rick developed definitions to categorize the extent of an influenza outbreak that remain in use today. He also completed a pulmonary fellowship and academic work in respiratory epidemiology in London.

In 1979 Rick returned to CDC, joining the Tuberculosis Control Division. By 1982, he had been promoted to chief of the Division’s Clinical Research Branch. In this role, he helped to oversee USPHS Study 21, one of the largest TB treatment trials during the 1980s, several times rescuing it from being terminated owing to lack of funding.  In Study 21, Rick’s team tested short-course (6 month) therapy for TB. Results of this trial led to the adoption of this treatment as the standard treatment regimen. During the 1980s, Rick conducted innovative research into treatment for TB in persons living with AIDS and led an initiative that broadened the distribution of rifibutin to patients with life-threatening Mycobacterium avium infections.

In 1991 CDC seconded Rick to the World Health Organization (WHO) Tuberculosis Programme to re-establish a global research program in tuberculosis. Over a period of 5 years, he built a network of support for the research program and implemented several major trials of TB prophylaxis in developing nations. While at WHO, Rick contributed to the development of the DOTS strategy and conducted epidemiologic research on TB among the HIV-infected population in Tanzania and sub-Saharan Africa.

Since returning to CDC in 1996, Rick has continued to serve as Chief of the Research and Evaluation Branch (recently reorganized as the Clinical and Health Systems Research Branch) in DTBE. His leadership was important for the formation of the TB Trials Consortium (TBTC). In 1998 Rick’s testimony lead to FDA approval for rifapentine, the first new drug for TB treatment in more than 25 years. In addition, he was directly involved in securing the involvement of Bayer, a major pharmaceutical company, in upcoming trials to examine the efficacy of moxifloxicin as a treatment. In 2000, Rick played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development. Rick has also contributed to the development and dissemination of guidelines in tuberculosis control, both nationally (at CDC) and internationally (with WHO and the IUATLD). In 2003, he served as co-chair of the 50-member ATS/CDC committee that developed new guidelines on targeted tuberculin testing and treatment of latent tuberculosis infection.

In 1999 Rick reached the length of service at which retirement is mandatory for USPHS Commissioned Corps officers, at which time he transferred to the US Civil Service. Thus when Rick left CDC at the end of December 2003, he had already retired from the Commissioned Corps but was not eligible for retirement under the regular Civil Service. In January 2004 he relocated to Geneva to begin his new position with FIND. His wife Rose Pray is a nurse epidemiologist who has also worked at CDC for a number of years in the fields of TB and HIV. We hope Rick continues to have time for his hobbies of woodworking, gardening, and cooking. We will miss his onsite presence here in Atlanta a great deal, but certainly look forward to continued collaborations with him as he continues the fight against TB in a new capacity.

Maureen O'Rourke was selected for the public health advisor (PHA) position in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She transferred from the Tennessee TB Elimination Program in Nashville, Tennessee, where her responsibilities included writing Tennessee's yearly Progress Reports and Cooperative Agreement Applications.  Maureen completely redesigned Tennessee's yearly statistical report, and also coordinated World TB activities for the state. Maureen also assisted in conducting quality assurance activities for the regions/metropolitan areas in Tenessessee. During her last 6 months in Tennessee, she independently revised Tennessee's guidelines for conducting effective contact investigations as well as redesigned the contact interview sheet. Maureen began her career with CDC in Columbia, South Carolina, as a PHA in the Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) program. Before that, she was a state Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS) for a year and a half in Hillsborough and Manatee Counties of Florida. Her job experiences also included clerical and administrative positions at the Veterans Administration and with a National Guard MASH unit. As a state and federal DIS, Maureen was trained and educated in the fundamentals of public health delivery and epidemiology. In 1995 she was reassigned to Dallas, Texas, where she planned, coordinated, and implemented special screening activities at homeless shelters, detention centers, and other special target populations. Maureen also presented educational and training programs.

Todd Wilson, MS, CHES, has been selected for an Epidemiologist position on the Surveillance Team in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch (SEOIB). While Todd’s duties (producing DTBE's annual surveillance report, responding to data requests, data management, data analysis and dissemination, and the proverbial “other duties as assigned”) will not change, we welcome Todd now as a career federal civil servant, effective December 29, 2003. Todd joined SEOIB as a Fellow in September 2002 after completing a Public Health Prevention Service (PHPS) Fellowship. Todd’s PHPS experience included rotations at CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health and the Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, and assignment to the Las Cruces District Office of the New Mexico Department of Health. Todd has a BA degree in Journalism (1991) and an MS degree in Health Promotion/Health and Sport Sciences (1999) from the University of Oklahoma. He is also a Certified Health Education Specialist.


Released October 2008
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