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TB Notes 2, 2004

Highlights from State and Local Programs

Georgia TB Outreach Worker Training

The American Lung Association of Georgia (ALAG) and the Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health, Prevention Services Branch, Tuberculosis Program (Georgia TB Program) collaborated to develop and implement the Georgia TB Outreach Worker Training course. The first session was held on September 25 and 26, 2003, at ALAG’s office in Smyrna, Georgia. Although Georgia’s TB cases are decreasing (from 577 cases in 2001 to 533 cases in 2002) and directly observed therapy has been the standard of TB care in Georgia since 1995, timely TB treatment completion rates and treatment completion for latent TB infection still fall short of national target goals. It is essential for local TB programs to be able to educate and retain a cadre of case managers, outreach workers, and field staff needed to achieve critical TB program outcomes such as timely completion of TB treatment and thorough contact investigations. This workshop was developed to build the skills and competencies of these critical public health staff.

A core planning committee, which consisted of staff from the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness, the ALAG, and the Georgia TB Program, met several times over 4 months to gather information and materials developed by CDC, the Francis J. Curry Model TB Center of San Francisco, California, and the Georgia TB Program to plan the curriculum and teaching methods. A variety of teaching methods were incorporated over the 2-day training course, which included lecture, role-play, and group and individual activities. The curriculum included TB Epidemiology, TB 101/Case Management, Contact Investigation, Interviewing Skills/Clustering Techniques, Directly Observed Therapy, Infection Control, Safety in the Field, Documentation/ Confidentiality/ HIPAA, and Cultural Competency. The workshop also included instruction in sputum collection procedures focusing on interpreting sputum laboratory results. Emphasis was also placed on developing rapport with the patient and community. Presenters were from the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness, the ALAG, and the Georgia TB Program.

The planning committee decided to pilot test this first training course mainly within the Metropolitan Atlanta districts. The training included 25 participants from the counties in the Metropolitan Atlanta area, as well as from Athens, LaGrange, and Savannah. Participants were required to attend both days of the training and to complete a pretraining questionnaire or self-assessment tool, a pretest, a posttest, and an evaluation. The job titles of the participants included Disease Investigation Specialist, Communicable Disease Specialist, Outreach Worker, Public Health Technician, and Public Health Nurse. All participants were from public health settings and had less than 5 years’ experience in public health. The evaluations were favorable, with the majority of the participants offering “no suggestions” for changes needed for future workshops. The participants indicated that the training “was very beneficial, a lot was learned, very informative, and quality materials.” On a Likert scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being poor and 5 being excellent, the overall score for the workshop was 4.4, with scores ranging from 4.2 to 4.6. The average pretest score was 63%, and the average posttest score was 80%. This reflects an average 17% increase in knowledge. District TB coordinators provided informal verbal feedback expressing their appreciation for having well-trained field staff and requesting future outreach worker training.

ALAG and the Georgia TB Program will present this training to districts outside of the Metropolitan Atlanta area as regional workshops. In October and November 2003, a needs assessment of the remaining districts was conducted. Out of the 12 districts assessed, 8 districts reported a need for outreach worker training. Owing to the positive response, the ALAG and the Georgia TB Program are investigating potential sites for the training outside Metropolitan Atlanta. Both the ALAG and the Georgia TB Program feel that providing quality targeted educational opportunities for TB staff is vital to the public health workforce.

—Submitted by Connee Martin, RN, BS, Carolyn Martin, RN, Karen Buford, RN, MS, Kathy Kolaski, RN, MSN, Ann Poole, RN, Desiree Nesbitt
Georgia Department of Human Resources/Division of Public Health/TB Program
Beverly DeVoe, Georgia TB Program Manager
and Pamela Collins, MSA
Director, Adult Lung Disease Programs
American Lung Association of Georgia


Released October 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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