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TB Notes 3, 2006
Highlights from State and Local Programs
  Art Therapy Helps Isolated Patients: Exhibition at Bellevue Hospital Center
  Surgeon General Visits Clinic in Hawaii
DTBE World TB Day Activities
National TB Controllers’ Association Poster Contest
EIS Conference a Success for DTBE
Regional Training and Medical Consultation Centers’ Needs Assessments
Laboratory Update
Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch Updates
TB Education and Training Network Update
  Member Highlight
  Cultural Competency Subcommittee
TB Epidemiologic Studies Consortium Update
  TBESC Task Order 6 (TO6) Update: Regional Capacity-Building in Low-Incidence Areas
  New TBESC Study to Be Launched: Evaluation of New Interferon-gamma Release Assays in the Diagnosis of Latent TB Infection in Health Care Workers
New CDC Publications
Personnel Notes
Calendar of Events
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TB Notes Newsletter

No. 3, 2006

Dear Colleague:

We have had a busy spring, pursuing our regularly recurring activities and observing some changes. Among the changes, DTBE has recently lost two esteemed colleagues. We noted with much sadness the passing on May 22 of a luminary in international health, Dr. J.W. Lee, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO). Prior to taking this position, Dr. Lee was instrumental in the successful launching of the global Stop TB Partnership, which is now a model for multinational partnerships. We were fortunate to have had such a truly remarkable person devote his talents to the international public health arena. We have also lost Dr. Ida Onorato, who was formerly the chief of the DTBE Surveillance and Epidemiology Branch before moving to the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. She passed away on May 31 after a battle with cancer.

We will also miss the distinguished presence at CDC of Dixie E. Snider, Jr., M.D., M.P.H., as he retires from his position as Chief Science Officer for CDC after more than 33 years of outstanding service to the agency. Fortunately for CDC, he will continue to provide advice and guidance as a consultant to the CDC scientific leadership team. Dr. Snider joined CDC in 1973 and spent much of his early career 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, as well as a key player in developing a national plan for addressing multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. He left our division in 1993, and for the past 13 years he has focused his efforts on improving the quality and integrity of science at CDC and on improving the science infrastructure. Most recently, Dr. Snider was the Chief Science Officer for CDC and ATSDR. He was the primary advisor to the Director on scientific and medical matters and provided agency-wide scientific leadership. Dr. Snider’s many responsibilities included developing policies and procedures for ensuring that integrity and excellence in science are maintained; articulating and enforcing standards of ethical, equitable, and respectful conduct of all CDC’s enterprises; and responding to the CDC Director’s requests to engage in and respond to a variety of scientific and management issues. Dr. Snider was the recipient of a number of distinguished honors, including the William C. Watson, Jr., Medal of Excellence, the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) Outstanding Service Medal, the USPHS Meritorious Service Medal, and the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service.

World TB Day, March 24, was observed in a number of U.S. sites, including here in Atlanta. DTBE staff organized a truly impressive day of events in observance of the day and in celebration of the accomplishments of TB control staff throughout the country. Please see the article in this issue about the events and the activities held here at Corporate Square.

On March 30, 2006, CDC staff members in Atlanta were honored with a visit by Dr. George Comstock, another of TB control’s luminaries and a legend in the field of U.S. TB epidemiology. He gave an informal talk entitled “Musings About TB Control,” which was followed with a question and answer period. After joining the Commissioned Corps and serving as a USPHS Commissioned Officer during World War II, Dr. Comstock served in several public health assignments from 1946 to 1955, including one in Muscogee County, Georgia. There he conducted research that provided data on the risks of reactivation of TB among persons with latent TB Infection, data still being used. During that period he also did research to evaluate the BCG vaccine; his findings resulted in the U.S. recommendation against BCG vaccination of children because of lack of efficacy. In the late 1940s, he joined the Division of TB Control; from 1956 until 1962, when he retired from the Division, he served as its chief of epidemiologic studies. Later, in the 1960s, he conducted research in Alaska that demonstrated the effectiveness of isoniazid preventive therapy—again, data still being used to guide policy. He also served as the first chairman of the Advisory Council for the Elimination of Tuberculosis. The depth and the breadth of his accomplishments are tremendous. We were impressed with his keen insights and charmed by his simple and unpretentious manner, and we consider ourselves fortunate to have had this opportunity.

The 55th annual Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Conference was held in Atlanta April 24 to 28, 2006. The primary purpose of the EIS Conference is to provide current EIS officers training and experience in making scientific presentations. The conference also provides an opportunity for scientific exchange regarding current epidemiologic topics; highlights the breadth of epidemiologic activities at CDC; provides a setting where EIS professional networks can be strengthened among new, current, and former EIS officers; and provides a forum for recruitment of new EIS officers. I want to again congratulate all of our EIS Officers for their outstanding presentations, and I am particularly proud to note that two DTBE staff were honored with awards at the conference: Kevin Cain, MD, who has recently completed his 2-year EIS assignment with DTBE, was the recipient of the Paul C. Schnitker International Award, and Kashef Ijaz, MD, was awarded the Philip S. Brachman Award. To find out more about the awards and the conference, please see the article about the  conference in this issue.

On May 16 and 17, staff of the Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch, along with RTI International, sponsored the “Summit to Stop TB in the African-American Community,” the second meeting DTBE has convened on this topic. Attendance at this meeting exceeded expectations and it was deemed very successful. CDC brought together representatives of several diverse organizations to increase their awareness about the importance of TB and to strategize ways to reduce the disproportionate burden of TB in the African-American community. I was on hand, along with Dr. Louis Sullivan, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS); Dr. Garth Graham, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, HHS; and Dr. Kevin Fenton, NCHSTP Director, to address the meeting attendees. Participants proposed a number of action items to be carried out in the next year.

The 101st American Thoracic Society (ATS) International conference was held again in San Diego, California, from May 19 to 26, 2006. A limited number of DTBE staff attended this conference. The ATS International Conference is the largest, most prestigious scientific meeting devoted to the presentation and discussion of new research findings and the latest clinical developments in respiratory, critical care and sleep medicine. During the Conference, more than 15,000 attendees heard over 5,000 original research presentations related to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of respiratory diseases such as tuberculosis, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, allergies, sleep-related disorders, and cystic fibrosis.

The 2006 National TB Controllers Association (NTCA) Workshop was held June 13–15, 2006, at the Sheraton Buckhead Hotel, in Atlanta, Georgia. Invited participants for the 2006 workshop included state and big city TB controllers, TB nurse consultants, TB program managers, DTBE field staff, and Regional Training and Medical Consultation Centers leadership. The theme of the meeting was “Eliminating TB: Fighting the Enemy." I am very happy to state that the meeting was a resounding success. The general sessions were ably moderated by Phil Griffin, TB Control Director of Kansas; John Bernardo, TB Control Officer of Massachusetts and President of the NTCA; and Jane Moore, Nurse Consultant from Virginia. We heard a truly inspiring and entertaining keynote speech, “Remembering Why We’re Here,” from Thomas Daniel, MD, Professor Emeritus of Medicine and International Health at Case Western University, as well as an update from our former CDC colleague, Romel Lacson, on the Amaya-Lacson TB Photovoice Project. Throughout the conference, you probably noted a collection of artwork on display in the covered walkway; these are the result of an art therapy program offered by Bellevue Hospital in New York City to alleviate the mental and emotional stress of isolation for patients. Dr. Irene David, who was on hand at the conference to talk about the artwork, has an article in this issue about the program. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the participants broke out into smaller groups to hear about and discuss the recently issued guidelines that have come out on infection control, contact investigations, corrections, and the TB control statement; DTBE research activities; laboratory issues; genotype usage and guidelines; QuantiFERON guidelines; targeted testing and LTBI projects; and issues dealing with multidrug resistance and HIV coinfection. A social event on Tuesday evening was highlighted by the announcement and presentation of awards, as well as the distribution of numerous door prizes. On Wednesday, we had an opportunity to learn about the four TB Regional Training and Medical Consultation Centers, meet their staff, and hear about their plans. On Thursday, we heard a moving and amazing presentation about Hurricane Katrina and the comments of the TB controllers involved in responding to it: Jim Cobb of Florida, Charles DeGraw of Louisiana, Nancy Keenon of Alabama, Mike Holcombe of Mississippi, and Charles Wallace of Texas. Afterwards, John Bernardo and I “sent the troops out to fight the enemy,” charging participants to eliminate TB; use team work; be prepared through training and skill-building; acquire the proper equipment and tools; and last, but not least, improvise, adapt, and overcome! We hope to have as successful a meeting next year, when we reconvene here in Atlanta June 11–14, 2007, at the Crown Ravinia Perimeter Mall Hotel. Please save the date!

Kenneth G. Castro, MD


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