TB Notes Newsletter
No. 2, 2007
TB EDUCATION AND TRAINING NETWORK UPDATES
Marek Rohter, MPH, has been an Outreach Program Supervisor for the
Suburban Cook County TB District in Illinois since February of 1996.
She received a bachelor of arts degree from Washington University
in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1973. Five years later, she graduated
from the University of Illinois School of Public Health with a masters
degree in public health. Margaret is a Certified Public Health Administrator
in the state of Illinois, as well as a Licensed Environmental Health
Practitioner. In addition, she is a fellow with the Institute of
Medicine of Chicago.
Margaret’s job responsibilities include planning and delivering
effective training and instructional programs (primarily in English,
but also in Spanish when appropriate); developing and maintaining
community relationships; and facilitating collaboration and communication
with external groups to ensure participation of key stakeholders,
such as immigrant groups. Her duties also encompass coordinating
targeted testing programs at community sites, reviewing and developing
educational materials for patients and staff, and developing content
for her agency’s website.
In the late 1990s, Margaret began contacting TB programs around
the country requesting that they share their foreign language educational
materials. Through this effort, she heard about the first TB ETN
conference — Culture, Language, and Literacy in TB Education
and Training — in 2001. Unfortunately, she was unable to attend
that conference, but has attended every TB ETN conference beginning
with the following year and has learned a great deal at each one.
Margaret joined the Cultural Competency subcommittee in 2002 and
was impressed with the efforts of that group to identify resources
for TB programs. In 2004 she volunteered to serve as the incoming
co-chair of that subcommittee. “I have been most impressed
with the caliber of the individuals who have served as co-chairs
of this subcommittee. They have become a long-distance support network
for me. Members of this subcommittee are dedicated professionals
who are always willing to share resources, experiences, and insights.”
She is very proud of the Cultural Competency Resource List that
is available on the TB
Education and Training Resources website.
It is Margaret’s belief that the role of TB educators will
continuously evolve with the development of new technologies, such
as webinars, and diagnostic tools such as the QuantiFERON blood
test. It is critical for TB ETN to continue to develop new materials
to educate the public and other health professionals about these
changes. As the number of TB cases and financial resources decreases
in the United States, it will be even more important for TB ETN
to provide a network for staff members to use in sharing resources
and to provide a forum for discussing education and training issues.
She also hopes that TB ETN will be able to advocate for international
programs to reduce the burden of disease in other countries.
Margaret’s most recent accomplishment has been the re-design
of her agency’s Website, www.suburbantb.org.
Margaret noted that in the past, she had been more of an “implementer”
than a “developer” of products. Over the course of 10
years, she has provided in-service training in all of the long term–care
facilities in the district. She also provided training and materials
for school district nurses, drug abuse agency personnel, social
service providers, paramedics and police departments, and other
On a more personal note, Margaret has two children in college and
a husband who is a civil engineer and a geographic information systems
(GIS) instructor. She is the oldest of seven daughters (no brothers).
In her spare time, Margaret enjoys listening to Brazilian music,
bicycling, and canoeing. She also loves traveling and seeking out
new experiences as was evidenced when she traveled throughout South
America for 6 months in 1976 after serving 2 years in Bahia, Brazil,
as a Peace Corps volunteer. She is involved with fundraising for
the Peace Corps Partnerships through the Oak Park Council on International
Affairs as well as advocacy for TB through the Metropolitan Chicago
TB Coalition. She is also a member of Campaign for Better Health
Care, the Sao Paulo-Illinois Partners of the Americas, and the Chicago
Area Peace Corps Association.
If you’d like to join Margaret as a TB ETN member and take
advantage of all it has to offer, please send an e-mail requesting
a TB ETN registration form to email@example.com.
registration form is available online (PDF). You can also send
a request by fax to (404) 639-8960 or by mail to
TB ETN, CEBSB, Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, CDC,
1600 Clifton Rd., N.E., MS E10,
Atlanta, Georgia 30333.
TB ETN if you would like additional information.
—By Jeuneviette Bontemps-Jones, MPH, CHES
Div of TB Elimination
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Cultural Competency Workgroup:
Special Topic Discussion on “The Culture of Substance Users”
At the 2006 TB ETN Annual Conference, the Cultural Competency workgroup
decided to hold quarterly discussions to explore cultural issues
regarding TB control among specific populations that were not traditionally
defined foreign cultural groups. Suggested topics for the quarterly
discussions included TB among substance users, corrections, African
Americans, alternative sexualities, and the homeless. The quarterly
discussions are conducted in conjunction with the monthly workgroup
conference call meetings. The first 30 minutes of the calls are
devoted to the normal business of the workgroup. The special cultural
issue discussion is held for the next hour. The current format includes
guest speakers who facilitate a discussion on the topic. Ideally,
these discussions will include an exchange of resources that will
be incorporated into the Cultural Competency Resource List. This
list is on the
Behavioral and Social Science Resources page of the TB Education
and Training Resources website.
The first special topics discussion, “The Culture of Substance
Users,” took place in November 2006 and included guest speakers
from New York City and Washington State. The first guest speakers
were Douglas Goldsmith, an anthropology professor from the John
Jay College of Criminal Justice and staff from the TB Control Program
at the Snohomish Health District in Everett, Washington. The staff
included Susan Robison, public health nurse; Jenny Donovan, disease
investigator; Gloria Fiedler, HIV/AIDS Program Manager; and Donna
Allis, TB program manager.
Based on his methadone treatment research for heroin addicts, Dr.
Goldsmith discussed different subcultures of drug users, their unique
set of beliefs and perceptions, and how those influence treatment
compliance behavior. The staff from the Snohomish Health District
described their recent experience with an outbreak of TB among individuals
who use methamphetamines, and identified some behavioral norms of
The next edition of the
Northeastern COE’s Cultural Competency Newsletter, “TB
and the Subculture of Methamphetamine Users,” will be based
on the experience of the Snohomish Health District.
—Submitted by Kristina Ottenwess, MPH
Southeastern National TB Center
University of Florida
CULTURAL COMPETENCY TIPS
We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different
people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes,
—Former President Jimmy Carter