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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


TB Notes Newsletter

No. 3, 2005


Victor Alcantara, who has been working as a Public Health Educator in the Marion County Health Department, Salem, Oregon, has been selected for the Field Services and Evaluation Branch (FSEB) Public Health Advisor position assigned to West Palm Beach, Florida. Victor comes to DTBE with previous experience in TB, having handled TB outreach work in his last assignment. Oregon is working toward the integration of its TB/HIV/STD programs, and Victor was the first TB Disease Intervention Specialist working within the three programs. Prior to his time in Oregon, Victor worked in the STD program of the Utah Department of Health as a Community Health Specialist. In addition to his previous public health experience, Victor brings to DTBE his Air Force military and medical experience, having worked in a Squadron Medical Element position (nonmilitary, similar to an Emergency Medical Technician position) from 1989 to 1994. Victor began in his new position on July 25, 2005.

B.A. Blackledge has joined DTBE in the Office of the Director. She joined us June 26 and will provide expertise in contracting and budget analysis. Prior to coming to DTBE, B.A. worked as a Public Health Specialist with the National Immunization Program (NIP) for 3 years, where her main responsibilities included assisting local, state, and federal clients with their immunization registries and assisting clients attain immunization goals for the program. Prior to working at NIP, she worked in CDC’s Procurement and Grants Office (PGO) as a Contract Specialist for 8 years. She has a total of approximately 20 years of experience with various types of contracts and task orders including construction, research and development, and information technology contracts, and has worked with a number of procurement agencies such as HHS, the General Services Administration, and the Veterans Administration.

Alan B. Bloch, MD, MPH, Captain, US Public Health Service, retired from CDC and the Commissioned Corps on August 1 after 25 years of federal service. Alan started at CDC in 1980 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer in the Immunization Division, working in the field of measles elimination. He was a Preventive Medicine Resident from 1981 to 1983; while assigned to the Georgia Division of Public Health, he conducted an outbreak investigation of waterborne hepatitis A, resulting in one of the first environmental isolations of the hepatitis A virus from a water source linked to an outbreak. In 1983, Alan joined the Division of TB Control. From 1983 to 1985, he served as Chief of the Statistics and Analysis Section in the Program Services Branch. In the spring of 1985, using the weekly TB notifications to CDC, he identified an abrupt halt in the decades-long decline of TB morbidity, accompanied by increased TB morbidity in states with AIDS epidemics. From 1985 to 1990, Alan served as the first Chief of Surveillance and Epidemiologic Investigation Branch. During that time, Alan helped develop the initial surveillance, epidemiologic, programmatic, and research agenda related to HIV/AIDS and TB, including matching TB and AIDS registries, conducting HIV serologic surveys of TB patients, providing HIV counseling and testing to TB patients, offering chemoprophylaxis to HIV-infected patients with TB infection and other high-risk persons with TB infection, expanding the AIDS case definition to include TB patients, and investigating nosocomial outbreaks among HIV-infected TB patients. He also participated in the first reported outbreak of airborne TB transmission from a patient with extrapulmonary TB. From 1990 to 1996, Alan served as a medical epidemiologist and conducted the first nationwide studies of drug-resistant TB and completion of TB therapy, using individual case reports. He also designed the expanded TB surveillance system to collect information on drug resistance, HIV status, drug regimen, and completion of therapy, as well as substance abuse and residence in high-risk facilities.

From 1997 to 2000, Alan served as Deputy Chief of the Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch, National Center for Environmental Health. From 2001 to 2002, he served as Acting Chief of the Assessment Branch and as Acting Chief of the Immunization Registry Support Branch, National Immunization Program. From 2002 to 2005, he worked in the Epidemiology Branch, Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and served as the first CDC Project Officer for the National Youth Tobacco Survey. Alan did his undergraduate work at the University of Connecticut, received MD and MPH degrees from Yale, and did his pediatrics training at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Sekai Chideya, MD, MPH, joined the International Research and Programs Branch (IRPB) in August as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer. She received her MD degree from the University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine in 2000, and her MPH degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 1999. She was a resident with the Georgetown University Family Practice Program from 2000 to 2003. She is board certified in family practice and has worked most recently with the Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, as well as with the Berkeley Suitcase Youth Clinic as a volunteer providing medical care to the homeless. She received her undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College.

Reuben Granich, MD, MPH, left DTBE in May 2005 to take a new post as a technical advisor and program officer with the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (S/GAC) in Washington, DC. Housed in the Department of State, the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator is charged with coordinating the U.S. government (USG) effort to combat HIV/AIDS in more than 100 nations around the world. This effort includes a $15 billion, 5-year budget with a special focus on the 15 nations that account for more than 50 percent of the world’s HIV infections. Reuben will be working within the Program Services unit, developing and monitoring implementation plans for the Emergency Plan’s focus countries. In 1996 Reuben joined DTBE as an EIS officer with the International Activities unit, as the International Research and Programs Branch was known then. During this time he completed and published a number of manuscripts, and was the lead author on CDC/WHO/IUATLD international guidelines for reducing nosocomial transmission of TB in resource-limited settings. After completing his EIS assignment in 1998, he was accepted into the CDC preventive medicine residency program and departed for California, obtaining an MPH degree at the University of California at Berkeley in 1999 and spending the practicum year of his residency with the California Health Department. In 2000 Reuben joined the DTBE Field Services Branch as a Medical Officer assigned to the California State TB Control Branch. During this time his accomplishments included conducting important outbreak investigations; serving as the lead for the California TB Control Program’s binational activities; and serving as the CDC liaison to the Mexico National TB Program for the first population-based survey of TB drug resistance in Mexico, providing a basis for Mexico to add a fourth drug to its standard treatment regimen for TB patients. In April 2002, Reuben was reassigned to the International Research and Programs Branch and accepted an 18-month secondment to the World Health Organization as the 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%) persons. In 2004, he returned to the International Research and Programs Branch in Atlanta. After returning, he provided very much needed technical support to TB/HIV treatment and care projects in close collaboration with the Global AIDS Program.

Vernard Green has been selected for the Field Services and Evaluation Branch (FSEB) Public Health Advisor position in Newark, New Jersey. Since 2003 he has been serving as a Public Health Advisor I Disease Intervention Specialist with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, working in the STD and HIV programs. Vernard also brings to his new position his military experience as a Marine corpsman, having served at the Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, medical center from 1985 to 1992. Vernard is currently pursuing an MS degree in public health at Walden University. He started in his new position on July 25, 2005.

Bruce Heath was selected for the Field Services and Evaluation Public Health Advisor (PHA) position in Austin, Texas, where he will be working with the Binational Projects. Bruce has a BA degree in Spanish and a graduate certificate in public health with a concentration in health education. He began his career with CDC in the Miami STD Prevention Program in 1992 as a Disease Intervention Specialist. He moved to Fulton County, Georgia, in 1995, continuing to work as a CDC Disease Intervention Specialist. In 1999 he took a position with the syphilis elimination program with the Division of STD Prevention at headquarters, where he worked with the newly developed Syphilis Rapid Response Teams and other exciting projects. He then moved to the Training and Health Communications Branch in DSTD, where he served as a project officer for the National Network of STD/HIV Prevention Training Centers. Most recently, Bruce was assigned to the Puerto Rico Department of Health STD/HIV Prevention Program as the Senior PHA. Bruce looks forward to making the change to TB elimination. Bruce started his position on August 7, 2005.

Michele Hlavsa, RN, MPH, joined DTBE in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch (SEOIB) in July as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer. Michele received her RN degree in 1997 from the College of New Jersey, where she graduated magna cum laude, and her MPH from Emory University in 2003, where she was awarded the Charles C. Shepard scholarship. Since 2002, Michele has worked in the Division of Parasitic Diseases at CDC conducting outbreak investigations and analyses of surveillance data of several parasitic diseases. From 1999 to 2001, she was an infection control practitioner with the New Jersey Department of Health.

Heather Joseph, MPH, of DTBE’s Clinical and Health Systems Research Branch has been assigned to the Ethiopia office of CDC’s Global AIDS Program through the International Experience and Technical Assistance (IETA) program. During her 3 months in Addis, she will be helping the newly appointed Associate Director for Science for Ethiopia-GAP, Dr. Shabbir Ismail, develop an agenda for targeted evaluation and operational research. She will also help develop human subject research guidance, including guidance for institutional review board clearances.

Jimmy R. Keller, DHSc, a Field Services and Evaluation Branch Public Health Advisor (PHA) with the North Carolina TB Program, has completed the requirements for the doctor of health science (DHSc) degree, which was conferred June 30, 2005. Jimmy completed a military career in September 1990 and started his public health career with CDC as a Public Health Associate I with the National Center for Prevention Services Division of STD Prevention in May 1991. His first assignment was with the Dade County Public Health Unit, Miami, Florida. That assignment began with the STD epidemiology course conducted at the South Florida Training Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and the intensive course for acquiring interviewing skills, Introduction to STD Intervention. After working with the Miami STD Clinic for 1.5 years, he was reassigned to the New York City Bureau of STD Control. His first year was at the Ft. Greene Health Center in Brooklyn, and his second year was at the Jamaica STD Clinic in Queens. While serving in this assignment, he was selected for a Supervisory PHA position with the New York City Bureau of TB Control at the Chelsea and Morrisania Chest Clinics in January 1995. In 1996 NCHSTP initiated the graduate certificate program in public health. Having been selected for a newly created PHA position at the Detroit City TB Program, Jimmy started his new job in Detroit and entered the second cohort of the graduate certificate program (Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health) in 1998, completing the graduate certificate program in January 2000. He accepted a transfer to the Ohio TB Program in January 2001. While in Ohio, Jimmy enrolled in the Nova Southeastern University, Health Professions Division, health science doctorate program in fall 2002, taking advantage of CDC’s Course-by-Course Education program. In 2003, he accepted a transfer to the North Carolina TB Program.

Ted Misselback, a Field Services and Evaluation Branch Public Health Advisor (PHA) currently assigned to Nashville, Tennessee, was named the CDC Employee of the Month for August 2005. In response to a cluster of cases, including two deaths, in a homeless shelter in St. Louis, Missouri, Ted, who was then assigned to the St. Louis Health Department, coordinated a multipronged attack against this problem. He was the leading advocate in the planning and implementation of an innovative public/private partnership consisting of 11 different organizations. Ted searched the backrooms of city offices for original architectural plans, crawled through air ducts, climbed onto roofs, researched air filter and UV light technology, managed complicated funding strategies, and ensured coordinated efforts of all outbreak response team members. In addition, Ted’s efforts resulted in a site visit from a team from the Division of Respiratory Disease Services at NIOSH, who made a number of recommendations to improve environmental and engineering systems. Ted was able to obtain additional funding in order to implement many of these recommendations. Owing to the efforts that Ted spearheaded, and those of his local, state, and federal colleagues, there have been no cases since this intervention.

Eric Pevzner, PhD, MPH, joined the International Research and Programs Branch (IRPB) in August as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer. Eric completed his doctorate in health behavior and health education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in June 2005. In 1998, he received his MPH degree from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory, and received his BS degree in psychology from Michigan State. Eric has worked with CDC previously as a consultant, most recently with the Division of Adolescent and School Health conducting an evaluation of an international teachers’ training program to prevent HIV infection in Africa.

Kate Waldman has joined the Clinical and Health Systems Research Branch for a 6-month fellowship with DTBE. Kate is currently pursuing a masters degree in health sciences at Johns Hopkins University in the department of International Health, with an emphasis on social and behavioral science. In 2001, she earned a BA degree in anthropology from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. Prior to starting graduate school, Kate worked for 3 years assisting in the management of various development projects throughout Latin America. Kate will be working on two projects in DTBE: “Perception of Tuberculosis among Foreign-Born Persons: An Ethnographic Study” and “Improving Tuberculosis Services for HIV-Infected Persons.”


Released October 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Division of Tuberculosis Elimination -

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