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TB Notes 3, 2003


Tracy Agerton, RN, MPH, transferred from the International Research and Programs Branch (IRPB) to the Field Services and Evaluation Branch (FSEB) within DTBE effective June 15, 2003. Tracy has been part of DTBE since 1996, when she came to the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch (SEOIB) as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer. For the past 2 years she was part of the TB/HIV team in IRPB and worked in different countries conducting epidemiologic and operational research studies, participating in program evaluations, and helping design and teach epidemiology courses. She is now returning to the domestic side of DTBE and will be an FSEB assignee to the Bureau of TB Control in the New York City Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, where she will function as the Assistant Director of the Epidemiology Unit, directing the field epidemiology services there.

Rachel Albalak, PhD, has accepted the position of Leader of the Epidemiology Team of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch and Project Officer of the Tuberculosis Epidemiologic Studies Consortium (TBESC), effective July 2003. Rachel received her doctorate in Biological Anthropology from the University of Michigan. After receiving her doctorate, she worked for 3 years as a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of International Health at the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University. At Emory, she taught courses in epidemiologic research design and international health. Her research involved work in the areas of air pollution, respiratory health, and nutritional status among indigenous and Spanish-speaking populations in Bolivia, Guatemala, and Honduras. She came to CDC in 2000 where she worked at the National Center for Environmental Health in the Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch. She joined the Division of Tuberculosis Elimination in 2001 as a senior epidemiologist in the Surveillance branch. Her work has included being Principal Investigator of TBESC Task Order #5, "Prevalence of latent TB infection among high-risk populations in the United States," and co-P.I. of Task Order #13, "Factors associated with acceptance of, adherence to, and toxicity from treatment for latent tuberculosis infection (TLTBI) and pilot study of TLTBI effectiveness."

Warren Benson has been selected as DTBE's new administrative officer (AO). Warren will be taking over most of the duties that Mrs. Fay Neal had when she was the AO. Fay was promoted to Management and Program Analyst earlier in the year and will be overseeing many of the AO functions and also performing manpower, policy, and budgetary activities. Warren joined CDC in September 1993 after a successful career in the U.S. Navy as a Data Analyst. Prior to his naval enlistment he attended Florida Junior College and Valdosta State College. In 1994 and 1995 he provided administrative support while assigned to the Division of Reproductive Health as an Office Automation Clerk. In 1996 he accepted a position with the Division of Adolescent and School Heath as a Fiscal Accounting Assistant and was responsible for all budget activity. In 1996 he joined DTBE as a Staff Specialist responsible for administrative tasks.

Alyssa Finlay, MD, joined the staff of the International Research and Programs Branch in July 2003 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer (2003-2005). Alyssa is board certified in internal medicine and just completed a year of chief residency combined with a general medicine fellowship at Bellevue Hospital (New York University) in New York City. During her clinical training, Alyssa spent significant time working with immigrants in New York, including the primary care of refugees with histories of torture and conducting cancer screening research in collaboration with local Chinese-American community-based organizations. Prior to her medical training, Alyssa was a chemical engineer and worked in the industry for 5 years.

Jennifer Giroux, MD, has completed the practicum of her preventive medicine residency with DTBE in Atlanta. She will be board eligible for preventive medicine after she completes her MPH from the University of Minnesota. Meanwhile she expects to enjoy some deserved time traveling with her family before starting work as an epidemiologist for American Indian health issues in South Dakota. While Jennifer was with DTBE, she focused on TB-control issues relevant to American Indians and Alaska Natives. Tapping into her experience, she provided consultation on these issues to DTBE personnel, and she initiated a long-term, network-building process with state TB control officials and other parties who have a stake in these issues. She traveled to present TB education to the tribal chairman’s councils of the Billings Area and the Aberdeen Area. Her other large project, unrelated to TB in American Indians, was evaluation of the nationwide TB investigation of two circus troupes having a worker with contagious TB. Jennifer joined the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) program in 1998, and served as the EIS Officer assigned to the Indian Health Service National Epidemiology Program in Albuquerque, New Mexico. During her EIS years, Jennifer investigated diverse public health problems, including a food-borne outbreak, infections with methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, Hanta virus disease, plague, fatal TB cases, hepatitis B mortality, and molar (false) pregnancies. Jennifer is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota. Before EIS she worked with the Indian Health Service on prevention of HIV/AIDS and cancer in the Great Plains states.

Sheila Jain, MPH, who joined the Prevention Effectiveness (PE) Team, Clinical and Health Systems Research Branch, DTBE, in March 2003, has now completed her second 6-month headquarters assignment with CDC’s Public Health Prevention Service (PHPS) Program. Sheila worked with branch staff members on analyzing data from the NAA clinical and economic study. She obtained her graduate degree in epidemiology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and has worked in the areas of physical activity and chronic disease. Her first CDC headquarters assignment was with the Public Health Practice Program Office, where she developed an evaluation plan to assess the impact of bioterrorism preparedness on the scope and direction of the Centers for Public Health Preparedness program.

Venkatarama (Ram) Rao Koppaka, MD, PhD, has taken on a new challenge as the Policy and Preparedness Officer in the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ), National Center for Infectious Diseases, effective July 7, 2003. In 1998 Ram was recruited as a Commissioned Corps Officer to the Field Services and Evaluation Branch (FSEB), DTBE. He was assigned to Virginia as TB Controller, and his contributions there were exemplary. Most recently, Ram moved to Atlanta to assist with the support and mentoring of Commissioned Corps Officers and Field Medical Officers, and enhance our capacity to provide medical consultations. He was also instrumental in the development and publication of the ATS/CDC/IDSA TB treatment guidelines. The recipient of numerous PHS awards, Commander Koppaka is a model officer. Ram's interest in and commitment to the elimination of TB will not cease with this move. On the contrary, it provides our two respective divisions with an opportunity to better address TB as it affects immigrants and refugees, and to contribute to the updating of quarantine laws as they relate to TB prevention and control.

Diane Lowry, MPH, MSW, who joined the Prevention Effectiveness (PE) Team, Clinical and Health Systems Research Branch, DTBE, in March 2003, has completed her second 6-month headquarters assignment with CDC's Public Health Prevention Service (PHPS) Program. She worked with PE Team members on the healthcare workers adherence study and an evaluation of targeted testing and treatment of LTBI programs. Diane obtained her graduate degrees from the University of Washington and, before joining the PHPS Program last fall, worked for 3 years with immigrant and refugee communities in Seattle. Her first CDC headquarters assignment was with the Division of International Health, EPO, where she developed an evaluation plan for outbreak investigations conducted by Field Epidemiology Training Program participants.

Jane Mezoff, DrPH, MPH, CHES, is the newest member of the Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch. Jane joined us as a Behavioral Scientist on August 11, 2003. Jane has a masters of public health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a doctorate of public health degree from the University of South Carolina, and is a Certified Health Education Specialist. Jane has extensive experience as a health educator, trainer, and behavioral scientist, and has worked at CDC since 1995. She started her career at CDC as an Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) Fellow in the National Immunization Program. She has also worked in the Behavioral Intervention Research Branch, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention. Most recently, Jane was with the Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, where she served as an evaluation specialist on the teen pregnancy prevention team. Jane conducted behavioral and social science research and evaluation, and served as a project officer for various research and demonstration projects. We look forward to working with Jane in our expanding behavioral science research efforts in DTBE.

Taráz Samandarí, MD, has replaced Elizabeth Talbot as the Associate Director for TB Research of BOTUSA. Taraz received a BS degree in electrical engineering at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and a PhD degree in biochemistry and an MD degree at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He completed his internal medicine residency at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and an infectious diseases fellowship at the University of Maryland, where he was also an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases, prior to joining the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) in 2001. At CDC he was assigned to the Division of Viral Hepatitis in the National Center for Infectious Diseases. Taraz had a remarkably productive EIS career. Among other activities, he was a field investigator in the Florida mail-associated anthrax outbreak; evaluated the success of Kenya’s routine childhood immunization after it implemented a quadrivalent vaccine (DTP-HepB); and assessed the immune response of Palau’s adolescents after infant immunization with a recombinant hepatitis B vaccine. He received several awards for his work at CDC and has several publications, including one on Shigella research conducted at the University of Maryland. Taraz is a U.S. citizen but was born in Somalia and grew up in Dar-es-Salaam and Nairobi. His wife, Atieno Mboya, is Kenyan and is a human rights lawyer (specializing in women's rights). Taraz will focus especially on the IPT trial and the IPT program, building on the work of those who preceded him.

Steven Shapiro, Public Health Advisor in the Field Services and Evaluation Branch (FSEB), has accepted a promotion to the position of Program Consultant in the Division of Sexually Transmitted Diseases Prevention (DSTDP). Steve has served for the past 4 years as an across-the-board advisor to, and integral member of, the Maine STD/HIV and TB programs, assisting in developing program policy, procedures, and evaluation methods. In addition, he provided operations and grant-writing support for Maine’s Infectious Epidemiology and Emergency Preparedness programs, and recently completed a one-year tenure as chairperson of the TB field staff working group. Steve began his career with CDC in June 1989 as a DSTDP Public Health Associate, assigned to the Broward County (Florida) Public Health Unit. He was reassigned to the Washington, DC, STD prevention program in June 2000, where he worked as a field and surveillance disease intervention specialist (DIS), and the Training and Education coordinator. In January 1993, Steve was promoted to front-line supervisor and transferred to the Dade County (Florida) Public Health Unit STD program, where he managed the only evening satellite STD/TB clinic in Dade County. He also supervised the STD surveillance unit during his Miami tenure. Steve began his new assignment in Atlanta on July 28, 2003.

Dixie E. Snider, Jr., MD, MPH, has been selected as the Acting Deputy Director for Public Health Science, CDC, and Acting Deputy Administrator, ATSDR, effective June 16, 2003. Dr. Snider has been the Associate Director for Science, CDC, since 1993. He holds the rank of Assistant Surgeon General (Rear Admiral) and is the primary advisor to the Director of CDC on scientific issues. During the past decade, he has focused his efforts on improving the quality and integrity of science at CDC and on improving the science infrastructure. Dr. Snider also oversees the Technology Transfer Office, the Human Subjects Protection Office, and the CDC Data and Specimen Bank, as well as chairs a number of CDC committees and participates on several Department of Health and Human Services committees, including serving as the Executive Secretary of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Dr. Snider received his bachelor of science degree in chemistry in 1965 from Western Kentucky University. He graduated from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in 1969 with highest honors. He served his internship in internal medicine at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, and was a resident in internal medicine at Barnes Hospital and at Vanderbilt University. He received a masters of public health degree from Emory University in 1984. Dr. Snider is board-certified in internal medicine, allergy and clinical immunology, and preventive medicine. Dr. Snider joined CDC in 1973; much of his early career was spent as an expert in tuberculosis and other mycobacterial diseases. From 1976 to 1985, he served as Chief, Research and Development Branch, Division of Tuberculosis Control. In 1985, he became Director of the Division of Tuberculosis Control and was the major architect of the Strategic Plan for the Elimination of Tuberculosis in the United States and a key player in developing a national plan for addressing multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. In addition, Dr. Snider is the recipient of numerous distinguished honors, including CDC’s William C. Watson, Jr., Medal of Excellence, the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Outstanding Service Medal, the USPHS Meritorious Service Medal, and the DHHS Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service. Dr. Snider is a member of several professional societies and has held several offices in these societies. He is the author or co-author of more than 150 scientific articles and has made hundreds of presentations at scientific meetings.

Kathrine Tan, MD, is one of two new Epidemic Intelligence Service officers in the International Research and Program Branch. Kathrine received her bachelor of science degree in physiology as well as her MD degree from the University of California at Davis. During medical school, she took a year off to work abroad, which included doing volunteer work in a rural clinic in Mexico, researching tuberculosis in Peru, and implementing a knowledge, attitudes, and practice study of oral rehydration solution in Swaziland. She completed residency and was chief resident in family medicine at the University of California, Davis Medical Center. Her hobbies include learning foreign languages, traveling, and participating in outdoor activities and she looks forward to doing at least two, possibly all three, in her new position.

Jay Varma, MD, has been selected as the Section Chief for Tuberculosis Prevention and Control of the Thailand-US Collaboration (TUC). Jay is assigned to the TUC from the International Research and Programs Branch of DTBE. As Chief, Jay will serve as the liaison for DTBE, the Global AIDS Program (GAP), and the Collaboration for Regional Asia-Pacific TB prevention and control efforts. DTBE has several ongoing projects in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Cambodia that will benefit greatly from Jay’s oversight. In addition, GAP/Thailand has several funded cooperative agreement projects with the Thailand MOPH and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration on surveillance, laboratory-confirmed diagnosis, and directly observed treatment for TB that will benefit enormously from his clinical and epidemiologic technical expertise. As Asia has been hard hit by TB, Jay's attention to regional GAP TB issues will be welcomed. Jay comes to the TUC from CDC's Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases Branch, National Center for Infectious Diseases. Since joining CDC in 2001, Jay has participated in a variety of foodborne outbreak investigations, including botulism in the Republic of Georgia and Salmonella spp. in the U.S. and Canada, conducted several large case-control study analyses to identify risk factors for contaminated food with Salmonella spp. and Listeria monocytogenes using FoodNet, a multi-state surveillance network in the U.S., and has worked with the Philippines Field Epidemiology Training Program to establish enhanced surveillance, antimicrobial resistance testing, and serotyping for Salmonella spp. infections. Jay has also assisted in developing and conducting a WHO Global Salmonella surveillance training course held in Bangkok in January 2002. Prior to joining CDC, Jay completed his medical residency training in internal medicine at the University of California - San Diego Medical Center (1997-2001), where he also served as Chief Medical Resident (2000-2001). He has published several essays on medicine and medical training, and has several scientific publications and numerous scientific presentations. Jay earned his MD degree from the University of California - San Diego School of Medicine in 1997, and he graduated with highest honors from Harvard College in 1993. He is board certified in the U.S. to practice internal medicine. Jay arrived in Thailand in July with his family.


Released October 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
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