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TB Notes 3, 2007
Director's Letter
Highlights from State and Local Programs
  Georgia Statewide TB Training
NTCA Workshop Poster Contest
2007 EIS Conference a Success for DTBE
National Tuberculosis Indicators Project (NTIP): An Update
Evaluation Team Visits TB Isolation Village in Thailand
TB Education and Training Network Updates
  Member Highlight
  Cultural Competency Subcommittee Update
Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch Update
  A Review of DTBE’s First Year Using the CDC INFO Call Center
Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch Updates
  TB/HIV Surveillance in Ethiopia
TB Epidemiologic Studies Consortium Updates
  2007 World TB Day: TBESC Sites Across the U.S. Get Involved
  “The First Global Symposium on Interferon-Gamma Assays” 2007
New CDC Publications
Personnel Notes
Calendar of Events
 
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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 Laboratory Branch.

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.

Special Presentations

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 TB case.

Special Thanks

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

References

  1. CDC. Notice to Readers: Revised definition of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis. MMWR 2006 Nov 3; 55(43): 1176.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

 


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