TB Notes Newsletter
No. 3, 2007
2007 EIS Conference a Success for DTBE
CDC’s 56th annual Epidemic
Intelligence Service (EIS) Conference was held in Atlanta April
16–20, 2007. EIS is a 2-year postgraduate program of service
and on-the-job training for health professionals interested in the
practice of applied epidemiology. Experienced
epidemiologists throughout CDC and in state and local health departments
act as day-to-day mentors or primary supervisors to EIS officers.
Every year, this conference serves as a robust mix of scientific
presentations by current EIS officers and recruitment activities
for the incoming class of officers.
At this year’s conference, DTBE actively promoted the work
of its five current or recent EIS officers and successfully recruited
three new EIS officers from the incoming class.
Current/recent EIS Officers
Sekai Chideya, MD, EIS Class of 2005, finishing her second
year assigned to the International Research and Programs Branch
(IRPB), presented “Sub-Therapeutic Serum Concentrations of
Anti-Tuberculosis Medications and Treatment Outcome—Botswana,
1997–1999” in the well-attended TB session entitled
“Mass Consumption,” moderated by DTBE Associate Director
for Science Philip LoBue, MD, on the opening day of the conference.
Michele Hlavsa, RN, MPH, EIS Class of 2005, finishing her
second year assigned to the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak
Investigations Branch (SEOIB), was a finalist for the competitive
Mackel Award with her presentation, “Human Mycobacterium
bovis Tuberculosis—United States, 1995–2005.”
The Mackel session, which highlights presentations that exemplify
a combined epidemiological and laboratory approach to an investigation,
was co-moderated by Thomas M. Shinnick, PhD, Chief of the DTBE Mycobacteriology
Eric Pevzner, PhD, EIS Class of 2005, finishing his second
year assigned to IRPB, was just back from a TB Epi-Aid in Hawaii
and did not have any official presentations at this year’s
EIS conference, which allowed him to focus his energies on performing
in the EIS satirical review skit. This annual tradition gives outgoing
EIS officers a forum to reminisce about the past 2 years, poke fun
at CDC, and offer “survival tips” to the incoming class.
Ann Buff, MD, MPH, EIS Class of 2006, finishing her first
year assigned to SEOIB, had two presentations: “Investigation
of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Transmission Among Sailors
Aboard USS Ronald Reagan—California, 2006,” in the opening
TB session, and “Investigation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Transmission Among a Social Network of Family and Friends—Connecticut,
2006,” in the fast-paced closing late-breaker session.
Heather Menzies, MD, MPH, EIS Class of 2006, finishing her
first year assigned to IRPB, presented “Extensively Drug-Resistant
TB as a Risk Factor for Poor Outcome Among MDR TB Patients—Latvia,
2000–2003,” to a standing-room-only crowd at a special
session about extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB, entitled “The
Perfect Storm,” on the second day of the conference.
New EIS Officers
Emily Bloss, PhD, EIS Class of 2007 (incoming), a recent
graduate of Tulane University, did her dissertation field research
as a Fulbright Scholar with the National Leprosy and Tuberculosis
Program in Kenya. Dr. Bloss’s international experience also
includes work in Nicaragua and Sri Lanka. She is assigned to IRPB
for a 2-year EIS term that began in July 2007.
Mitesh Desai, MD, MPH, EIS Class of 2007 (incoming), completed
a primary care internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins University,
where his training focused on an underserved urban population disproportionately
affected by poverty, addiction, and HIV. During Dr. Desai’s
MD/MPH studies, he interned with the New York City Department of
Health and Mental Hygiene. He joined SEOIB in July 2007.
Rinn Song, MD, EIS Class of 2007 (incoming), completed
a pediatrics residency at New York University, where his work experiences
included rotations at both New York City’s Bellevue Hospital
and a clinic for HIV-infected children in Kenya. An accomplished
oboe player, Dr. Song completed medical school in Germany. He joined
IRPB in July 2007.
Please see the Personnel Notes section of this issue for more information
about these three new officers.
The EIS Class of 2005 honored Peter Cegielski, MD, MPH, of IRPB,
with the Philip S. Brachman Award, a special award for excellence
in teaching epidemiology to EIS officers. Dr. Cegielski was recognized
for the time he takes out of his busy travel schedule each fall
to teach a multivariable analysis course to incoming EIS officers.
This in-house course was initially developed in 1999 for DTBE EIS
officers but has grown by such word-of-mouth popularity that now
many EIS officers beyond DTBE also attend.
As previously mentioned, the XDR TB special session, “The
Perfect Storm,” drew a big crowd on the second day of the
conference. In addition to EIS officer Heather Menzies’ talk,
other presentations included an overview of XDR TB by Peter Cegielski
that included the revised definition1 and known global
magnitude of XDR TB. Citing the work of N.R. Ghandi and colleagues
in South Africa,2 former IRPB Chief Charles Wells, MD,
then described the dire implications of the high mortality rates
that have been seen in patients coinfected with XDR TB and HIV.
The session concluded with a spirited discussion led by DTBE Director
Kenneth G. Castro, MD, about the U.S. experience with MDR TB outbreaks
during the 1985–1992 TB resurgence and the preparations underway
to deal with XDR TB at this new critical juncture.
Finally, a conference highlight was the Alexander D. Langmuir Memorial
Lecture, delivered this year by Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, EIS
Class of 1990, former Director of the NYC TB Control Program and
current Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and
Mental Hygiene.3 Reminding the audience, “We are
all connected by the air we breathe,” Dr. Frieden proposed
that if one understands the epidemiology of TB in a given society,
then one understands how that society works. Dr. Frieden discussed
how lessons learned from TB control apply to evidence-based practice
in other areas of public health. He also cited the influence of
the late Dr. Karel Styblo and the importance of building accountability
into public health infrastructure for curing—not just counting—each
Once again this year, the National TB Controllers Association (NTCA)
hosted a lunch for the incoming EIS officers to discuss the opportunities
available if they matched to a DTBE assignment. In addition to EIS
supervisors, many current and former DTBE EIS officers attended
the lunch. The great Mexican food and relaxed atmosphere fostered
several lively conversations and provided a welcome respite from
the week's otherwise formal events. Many stayed well beyond the
1 hour originally scheduled for the recruitment lunch. Ms. Carol
Pozsik, the Executive Director of NTCA, was on hand at the lunch
meeting to represent the TB Controllers. DTBE is grateful for NTCA's
continued support of the EIS program!
Reported by Maryam Haddad, MPH
Div of TB Elimination
- CDC. Notice to Readers: Revised definition of extensively drug-resistant
tuberculosis. MMWR 2006 Nov 3; 55(43): 1176.
- Ghandi NR et al. Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis as
a cause of death in patients co-infected with tuberculosis and
HIV in a rural area of South Africa. Lancet 2006; 368,1575–1580.
- Fujiwara PI and Frieden TR. TB Control in New York City: A Recent
History. TB Notes No. 1, 2000. Atlanta, GA: CDC, Division
of TB Elimination; 2000.