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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

  

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TB Notes 3, 2002

Personnel Notes

Karen Bandel, BA, who joined the Communications and Education Branch (CEB) as an Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) intern on May 6, 2002, has left DTBE after completing her 3-month internship with us. Karen completed her BA at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is currently pursuing her MPH at the University of Michigan. During her 3 months with CEB, Karen was responsible for evaluating, revising, and updating the Mantoux tuberculin skin test wall chart, and also assisted Gaby Benenson of CEB in the production of the Mantoux tuberculin skin test video.

Bruce Bradley has accepted the position of Assistant Project Manager for the Tuberculosis Information Management System (TIMS). He most recently served as Health Coordinator with the Fulton County Adolescent Health Program. From December 1993 through January 1998, Bruce served as Regional TB Outreach Coordinator in the Georgia TB control program, in which position he excelled in using Epi Info to analyze TIMS data for statistical reporting. Such experience provided an excellent background for his new duties related to TIMS user support, data management, and training. Bruce joined the staff of the Computer and Statistics Branch in his new position on June 3.

Karina Celaya, MPH, joined the staff of the Communications and Education Branch (CEB) on May 20. Karina is an ASPH Fellow in health communications and education. She recently graduated from the University of Michigan School of Public Health with a masters degree in Health Behavior and Health Education. Her undergraduate work was done at Stanford University, where she earned a degree in Human Biology. Utilizing culturally sensitive approaches to health care to improve the health of underserved populations is her professional passion. Karina will be involved in a number of CEB projects including helping to plan and conduct the TB Program Managers Course, updating Forging Partnerships to Eliminate TB with information on how to work with diverse cultures, and assisting with the development of the Cohort Review Process training program.

Victoria M. Gammino, PhD, is the new Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer in the Outbreak Investigations Section, SEB. Victoria received her B.A. degree in anthropology from Wheaton College in 1983 and her M.P.H. degree in epidemiology from the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine of Tulane University in New Orleans in 1990. She received her Ph.D. in International Health from the School of Hygiene and Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, in 2001. Victoria has done extensive epidemiology and programmatic research on a wide variety of topics, both in the United States and abroad. She assisted Allyn Nakashima at CDC in analyzing the 1991 Gonococcal Isolates Surveillance Project (GISP) data. She worked closely with SmithKline Beecham and WHO to develop a drug donation program to eliminate lymphatic filariasis. She designed and implemented a cross-sectional research study on diet and growth in children under 6 in the Republic of the Marshall Islands in Micronesia, and conducted a longitudinal follow-up of the nutritional status among study subjects to assess their risk factors for child undernutrition. Most recently, Victoria was a technical consultant to the Doris Duke Foundation in their effort to support AIDS research at the Joint Clinical Research Center in Kampala, Uganda. She belongs to several professional organizations, including the International Network for Social Network Analysis. Victoria, a Lieutenant in the U.S. Public Health Service, began working at CDC on July 1, and after 4 weeks of EPO-led training, she joined the Division on July 29.

Idalia GonzŠlez, MD, MPH, FAAP, joined the Outbreak Investigations Section in July. Idalia received her MD in 1994 from State University of New York (SUNY) at the Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. She completed her pediatric residency training at Childrenís Hospital of Buffalo. She received her MPH degree from Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, in 1998. Her area of concentration at Johns Hopkins was Health Policy and Management, and she received a Certificate in Healthcare Finance and Management. Idalia came to CDC with the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) class of 1999 and worked in the National Immunization Program, Immunization Services Division, Health Services Research Evaluation Branch. Her work there focused on epidemiological and operational research projects to determine better ways to control vaccine preventable diseases, to recommend appropriate public health actions for the control of these diseases, and to improve the delivery of vaccines. She also was a member of the team that investigated reports of intussusception among recipients of rotavirus vaccine and received the Commissioned Corps Outstanding Unit Citation for that work. Idalia graduated from EIS in 2001 and entered the Preventive Medicine Residency Program where she has worked for the last 2 years at the DeKalb County Board of Health in Decatur, Georgia. Her work there includes analyzing public health programs, managing communicable disease surveillance systems, developing public health policy, and participating in community-based interventions. Idalia is a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Public Health Service, and she is fluent in Spanish.

James (Jimmy) E. Lai, MPH, completed his 6-month assignment as a Public Health Prevention Specialist with the Research and Evaluation Branch (REB) in early August 2002, and moved back to his home state of Oklahoma to begin medical school. Prior to attending graduate school, he worked as a molecular biologist for the US Air Force's Armstrong Laboratory, and served as an Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) Fellow with the CDC's Division of Parasitic Diseases. Jimmy's assignment with REB was focused primarily on conducting a cost-effectiveness analysis of the clinical and economic impact of the nucleic acid amplification (NAA) test for the diagnosis and treatment of TB. Jimmy had worked with Jerry Mazurek and Noreen Qualls of REB on this study, carefully examining the clinical and cost data being collected at one of four study sites and establishing prototype data analysis systems.

Maureen O'Rourke-Tilton was selected for the public health advisor (PHA) position in Nashville, Tennessee. She is currently functioning as the technical and programmatic advisor to the state TB program manager and other state public health officials. 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 in 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. She worked in the field and consulted with physicians, nurses, and other health care providers regarding identification of infection, diagnostic standards, and correct treatment guidelines. In 1995 she was promoted, and in that same year, she was reassigned to Dallas, Texas, where she worked more independently and continued to develop her skills and abilities. 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. In October 1999 Maureen joined DTBE and was assigned, with a promotion, to the New Jersey TB program as the assistant to senior public health advisor, Ken Shilkret, and other state public health officials. In that role, Maureen compiled data regarding TB program activities, including chest clinic activity, school tuberculin skin testing, ARPEs (contacts and targeted testing) and other data in support of state and CDC progress reporting, TB Cooperative Agreement applications, and audits of local TB control programs. Maureen conducted liaison activities with the Division of AIDS, Prevention and Control regarding disease/infection notification and registry matching. She conducted training activities for state and local health department employees and participated in audits of local TB programs. Maureen also served as a liaison to the local TB programs to which federal PHAs are assigned, and to the NJDHSS Refugee Program regarding the examination of refugees with TB and those who subsequently have latent TB infection. She was responsible for the preparation of Interstate Notification Forms for those leaving New Jersey and securing follow-up information regarding completion of therapy for active TB cases. Maureen started her new assignment on January 27, 2002.

Joe Posid, Special Assistant for High-Risk Populations in the DTBE Office of the Director, has left DTBE after having accepted an offer from the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID) Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program (BPRP). In joining that program, he will be developing CDCís Operational Readiness Plans, which would be implemented in the event of future acts of bioterrorism. During his short time with DTBE Joe proved quite productive. He was primarily in charge of addressing TB in special populations (such as persons in correctional settings and racial/ethnic minorities). In addition, he assisted with projects related to the TB Task Force and other assignments in the Office of the Director. He also played a key role in reviewing and offering comments on the final draft of CDCís response to the IOM report; he provided us with a welcome "fresh outlook," and embraced the DTBE mission of eliminating TB.

Sameer Rajbhandary completed her 2-year assignment as a Prevention Effectiveness Fellow with the Research and Evaluation Branch at the end of June 2002, and relocated to Canada with her husband. Sameer worked with Naomi Bock and Suzanne Marks on estimating the costs of MDR TB, and with Lauren Lambert and Noreen Qualls on determining the costs of implementing and maintaining tuberculin skin test (TST) programs in select health departments and hospitals.

Wyndham Reed, MPA, has retired from CDC after 38 years of service. Wyndham began working for CDC in 1964 in the Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) program in Newark, New Jersey, and subsequently had a number of STD assignments in the New Jersey region and in New York City. In 1972 he was hired into DTBE and assigned to the TB program in New York City. He held assignments in Maine, Washington, DC, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Wyndham held a brief assignment with the Pittsburgh immunization program and then transferred back to the STD Program assigned to Los Angeles, California. Wyndham returned to DTBE while assigned to Los Angeles County. In 1995 he returned to the District of Columbia TB Control Program. In 2000, Wyndham transferred to DTBE in Atlanta as a Program Analyst to work on special projects in the Field Services Branch (FSB).

Renee Ridzon, MD, Chief, Outbreak Investigations Section, Surveillance and Epidemiology Branch (SEB), DTBE, has accepted a position in the Office of the Director, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention - Surveillance and Epidemiology (DHAP-SE). Reneť will be helping DHAP address unmet needs in the prevention and treatment of HIV-associated opportunistic infections. Renee received her MD from St. Louis University Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1986. She completed her residency in internal medicine at St. Louis University Medical Center and her infectious diseases fellowship at Brown University Program in Medicine in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1992 she joined the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), working first at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, then in the Clinical Research Branch (precursor of the Research and Evaluation Branch), DTBE. She joined the staff of SEB in 1994, and in 2000, Renee became Chief of SEBís Outbreak Investigations Section. For the past 9 years, Reneť has made outstanding contributions to the epidemiology of TB, focusing on investigations of outbreaks and unusual clusters. She is well known for her energy, enthusiasm, and critical eye for detail in the review of EIS presentations and scientific documents. She has also been a unique mentor to her staff and other EIS officers, and an expert advisor on great restaurants. Reneť's commitment to TB elimination is evident in her decision to complete the revision of the guidelines for preventing TB in health care facilities.

Kathryn Ruck has been selected for the public health advisor (PHA) position in Columbia, South Carolina. She is currently functioning as technical and programmatic advisor to the state TB program manager, Carol Pozsik, and other state public health officials for DTBE's project, Intensive Interventions to Increase the Impact of Contact Investigations. Kate served as a PHA for the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services' TB Program since January 2001. Before coming to DTBE, she was a member of the Louisiana TB control program. As a new PHA, she was assigned to the Hudson County TB Program as a public health field representative where she worked as a member of a case management team and provided outreach services: interviewing TB cases and suspects, providing DOT, and ensuring that individuals in need of or overdue for initial or follow-up examinations received them. Kate began her assignment on March 24, 2002.

Demeatrice (Dee) Simmons Smith has been selected for the public health advisor (PHA) position in Detroit, Michigan. Dee has been assigned to the Detroit TB program as Special Project Coordinator since November 2001. In her current role, she has been providing guidance and leadership to city TB staff in program planning, implementation, and evaluation. As Special Project Coordinator, Dee is responsible for assisting program officials in all phases of program activities, including the development of policies and procedures, the evaluation of program efforts, and the implementation of new initiatives. In addition, she is responsible for establishing and maintaining relationships with private providers, conducting data analysis, providing TB training to program staff and other public and private agencies, building partnerships with other agencies and organizations working towards the elimination of TB in Detroit, and assisting in the preparation of reports. Dee brings vast CDC field experience from assignments at local and state levels. She started as a PHA with the Division of Sexually Transmitted Diseases Prevention (STD) in 1992 in Detroit, Michigan. In 1998, Dee joined the National Immunization Program and was assigned to Ohio; in 2000, she was transferred to Lansing, Michigan, as the state influenza coordinator. The surveillance, epidemiology, and outreach experience Dee has gained in previous assignments with the STD and Immunization programs is certainly an asset to the Detroit health department.

Philip R. Spradling, MD, has left DTBE to work for the National Immunization Program. Phil joined DTBE in 1999 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer. He brought 11 years of clinical experience to the job, first as a staff physician with Kaiser Permanente in Denver, then as Medical Director of Addictions in Maryland, and finally as a TB clinical consultant in Maryland. During Phil's 2 years as an EIS officer, he distinguished himself by providing excellent advice on the diagnosis and treatment of TB and on the management of several outbreaks, and with his constant willingness to help. Three months into his 2-year stint, he went to South Carolina to head the investigation of a large TB outbreak in a prison. For this work, Phil's team was awarded the prestigious Outstanding Unit Citation "for rapidly bringing under control a dangerous outbreak of tuberculosis and for developing comprehensive recommendations on how to prevent future outbreaks in correctional facilities." In 2000 Phil traveled to Russia to conduct a survey of antituberculosis drug resistance, where he found that being a prisoner was an important risk factor for being infected with drug-resistant TB. Phil has also played a key role in numerous other outbreak investigations such as ones in Phoenix, Las Vegas, and the ongoing investigation of adverse effects associated with taking rifampin and pyrazinamide for latent TB infection. Phil will be joining the Child Vaccine Preventable Diseases Branch in the Division of Epidemiology and Surveillance, National Immunization Program.

Lorna Thorpe, PhD, left DTBE at the end of June, but is remaining with CDC and is assigned to the New York City Department of Health, working with Dr. Tom Frieden and Dr. Steve Helgerson in the city's new Division of Epidemiology. Her new assignment will be with the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP), and her task will be to improve the city's chronic disease epidemiology capacity and conduct epidemiologic investigations on risk factors for chronic diseases. Lorna made tremendous contributions to international TB control during her 2 years as an EIS officer, and was the recipient of the 2002 Paul C. Schnitker International Health Award, which was presented at the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Conference in April. In her first project, she designed a national MDR TB treatment registry and surveillance system for Latvia. In a second project, she analyzed data on Russian TB patients receiving treatment using the directly observed therapy, short course (DOTS) strategy in Orel, Russia, and showed that DOTS can be implemented in Russia despite that countryís different approach to TB control. Lorna also undertook a four-state study of U.S. TB cases among foreign-born persons, in which she evaluated the existing overseas screening procedure for immigrants and refugees coming to the United States. Her study provided the first national estimate of infectious and noninfectious TB in newly arriving refugees to the United States, with rates specific to different regions of origin. In another project, Lorna traveled to one of South Africaís provinces to provide technical assistance in an ongoing national study of MDR TB treatment. She calculated initial smear conversion, death, and dropout rates of patients receiving a lower-cost, standardized treatment regimen for MDR TB; as a result of her study, the South African Medical Research Council and National TB Control Program effected a major shift in their MDR TB program to emphasize case-holding of patients and sustained treatment adherence. Lorna also studied treatment outcomes for Indiaís Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP). Lorna traveled to India to analyze the outcomes for all patients registered in the program (300,000+) from 1993 through June 2000. While there, she also analyzed the seasonal variation in TB diagnoses in different regions of India and confirmed the seasonality of TB, particularly in the North. Her quantification of seasonal trends was used to correct the national drug supply distribution system; the program improvements stemming from her seasonality work should help to forestall the development of anti-TB drug resistance in the regions where seasonality has negatively impacted TB drug supplies. Lorna also secured funding, co-designed the curriculum, and served as a primary lecturer for a training course in basic epidemiology and operations research held in June 2001 for the national TB control program staff of the Baltic countries (Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia) and later again in South Africa (May 2002). These courses have enabled TB control professionals to more fully and effectively analyze the data from their national surveillance systems to improve their program performance in controlling TB and MDR TB.

IN MEMORIAM

Andrew Theodore, a statistician who retired from CDC in 1973 as chief of the TB research branch, died at the age of 96 of sepsis on July 22 at Suburban Hospital in Maryland. He lived in North Bethesda. Mr. Theodore was a native of Athens, Greece, who came to the United States to study at Northwestern University, where he received a bachelors degree and a masters degree in sociology. He was a statistician with the Illinois public welfare department before World War II and served in the Army in France during the war. For his work in the liberation and transfer of prisoners held at the Buchenwald camp, he was recorded as a ďliberatorĒ in the annals of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Mr. Theodore began working for the chronic diseases division of the Public Health Service in 1946. After he retired, he continued his work as a volunteer with Greek heart patients at the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health. He was editor of the newsletter at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George in Bethesda and was given the Archdiocese Laity Award for his service to the Greek community.

 


Released October 2008
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