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TB Notes 4, 2004

No. 4, 2004


Gus Aquino has left the position he held for 2 years in Moscow to take another CDC position in Atlanta. On November 12 he left Moscow, having accepted a position as a CDC Team Leader in the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP) in the Prevention Program Branch. This new position in CDC Atlanta is an opportunity for Gus to provide managerial oversight of HIV/AIDS program activities in the United States (including Puerto Rico), as well as for new responsibilities and continued professional growth. Gus was instrumental in establishing and working with the CDC/USAID DOTS pilot regions since 1999 as well as in Moscow, and his capabilities and presence will be difficult to replace. However, we are delighted that he is returning to Atlanta and contributing his expertise to the important arena of fighting HIV/AIDS.

Gabrielle (Gaby) Benenson, MPH, Health Education Specialist in the Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch of DTBE, recently completed an assignment with the International Experience and Technical Assistance (IETA) Training Program. IETA is a developmental training program for federal public health employees. CDC continues to act as a source of international technical assistance, and is increasing its role in the direct provision of global prevention and prevention research programs. The IETA program was established in 1997 to increase the number of CDC staff with international training and experience. The program combines classroom training with field experience offering public health professionals the opportunity to enhance their skills and apply them in an international public health setting. As part of this program, Gaby was detailed from September 13 to December 13, 2004, to Southeast Asia. She assisted in providing a train-the-trainer course for Vietnamese and Thai Ministry of Health staff in Bangkok, Thailand, and participated in training needs assessment, curriculum development, and consulting on training methodologies and courses for the Global AIDS Program (GAP) office in Vietnam.

Sylvera Demas, MPH, began an assignment to the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch (SEOIB) on September 27 through the CDC Public Health Prevention Service (PHPS) fellowship program. Sylvera, who replaces Jo Ann Shoup, will be working with DTBE until February 25, 2005. He comes to the PHPS fellowship program with an MPH degree in biostatistics from the College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. Sylvera, who is fluent in French and Creole and an excellent soccer player, is working with Dr. Scott McNabb and his biotechnology engagement project (BTEP) partners in the United States and the republics of Armenia and Georgia.

Mike Holcombe (U.S. Naval Reserve Petty Officer First Class James M. Holcombe) was named one of the top five sailors for the U.S. Naval Reserve Force for fiscal year 2003. Mike is director of the Bureau of Tuberculosis and Refugee Health for the Mississippi State Department of Health. He was named Sailor of the Year at the reserve center in Meridian where he completes his weekend drills. Mike, who is the senior enlisted sailor of the 4th Force Service Support Group Detachment 9 at this reserve center, was deployed to Kuwait last year in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. There, he assisted with a shock trauma platoon that provided routine patient care to soldiers. A volunteer in his community, Mike has received the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal three times in his 17-year military career. He was also recently honored in a Senate resolution for his Naval Reserve Readiness Command (REDCOM) award. We congratulate Mike for this recognition of his distinguished service in the reserves and thank him for his continued leadership in TB prevention and control in Mississippi.

Margaret Jackson has recently accepted a promotion in the Clinical and Health Systems Research Branch (CHSRB) as a Public Health Analyst. Margaret had been serving as Executive Coordinator of the TB Trials Consortium (TBTC) Steering Committee providing organizational support and oversight for the TBTC Data and Coordinating Center housed in CHSRB. In the latter capacity, she has been especially helpful in providing for smooth and efficient institutional review board (IRB) review of the many TBTC study protocols by both the CDC IRB and the local IRBs at the 29 TBTC sites throughout North America and internationally. She has also established an exemplary management process for support functions in CHSRB. In her new position, Margaret will serve as a key advisor to the branch chief in providing technical advice and assistance; as principal management person for the branch providing a wide range of expertise in the area of budgeting/financial management and in support of clinical trials and other research studies of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of TB; and as lead in all personnel matters for the branch. She will continue to oversee the branch’s IRB-related activities for the TBTC, and will now expand these to include all branch projects. Thus, she will function as Co-Project Officer and primary contact and liaison for matters concerning IRB review of research protocols; serve as a member of the management team assisting in the day-to-day administrative management of the branch; and continue to serve as Executive Coordinator of the TBTC Steering Committee (the central decision making body of the TBTC).

Eugene McCray, MD, has left his position as Director of the Global AIDS Program (GAP) and joined the CDC Office of Global Health as the Senior Scientific Advisor to Dr. Steve Blount as of November 1, 2004. In addition to serving as Senior Scientific Advisor, he will also oversee expanded program liaison and partnership activities for OGH. Eugene served as the Director of GAP beginning in April 2000. During this time he oversaw the establishment of GAP and its growth to 27 country and regional programs around the world – enabling the delivery of quality HIV prevention and AIDS care and treatment services to millions of people most in need. His strong leadership and diplomatic skills and his unwavering commitment to working in partnership with other programs at CDC, other U.S. agencies, international organizations, and health professionals at all levels have enabled GAP to focus its resources for the greatest impact. Eugene began his career at CDC in 1983 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer with the former Hospital Infections Program in the National Center for Infectious Diseases, working on issues of hospital-acquired infections, including evaluating risk for transmission of HIV in hospitals. He left CDC for 2 years, during which time he worked for a health maintenance organization. Upon returning to CDC in July 1988, Eugene’s work became focused on HIV surveillance in special populations, in the United States and internationally, and on surveillance for TB infection and disease in the United States. From 1993 to 2000, he served as the chief of the surveillance section of DTBE’s surveillance branch. He provided strong leadership in many of the surveillance branch projects, including the implementation of SURVS-TB and the transition to TIMS, and provided important, critical analyses of the TB surveillance database to improve our understanding of TB epidemiology. In 2000 he left DTBE for his recent position in GAP. He has served as a health consultant to international agencies, including the World Health Organization and the International Union against TB and Lung Diseases, and has worked on TB and HIV/AIDS projects in a number of countries in South and East Africa. Eugene has published numerous articles on public health, and has received numerous awards for his scientific and public health contributions. He is also a practicing infectious diseases physician, working each week in a primary care clinic for HIV-infected persons. In addition, Eugene recently received the USPHS Distinguished Service Medal, which is the highest award that can be given in the Commissioned Corps.

Ted Misselbeck accepted a promotion to the State of Tennessee Health Department TB Program in Nashville, effective October 17, 2004. His previous duty station was the City of Saint Louis Health Department, from November 2002 to October 2004. While in St. Louis, Ted’s responsibilities included efforts to contain a TB outbreak in the city’s largest homeless shelter. During a 3-year period, 19 cases and 2 deaths were reported. Ted was the lead coordinator of an outbreak team that comprised 11 different agencies and vendors. Ted also assisted in getting two pieces of legislation introduced and passed by the Board of Aldermen and signed into law by the mayor. One bill established a TB Ordinance which permitted a nominal fee to be charged for TB skin testing required by clients for pre-employment; all generated funds are placed into a designated account to be used exclusively to purchase TB treatment incentives and enablers. Another bill updated a century-old quarantine law to include current language terms in reference to bioterrorism, isolation, and quarantine. His previous assignment had been with the Palm Beach Health Department TB program beginning in January 2001. His duties there included DOT, hospital interviews of new suspects, and case management. Ted assisted in the county’s transition from manual to computer documentation reporting. Prior to joining DTBE, Ted worked as a primary therapist with Seabrook House in Seabrook, New Jersey, and as a pharmaceutical sales representative with Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in Middlesex County, New Jersey, and Staten Island, New York.

Paul O. Poppe, Deputy Director of DTBE, retired from CDC after 30 years of service on January 2, 2005. Paul has worked in the National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention (originally the National Center for Prevention Services) throughout his career and will be missed enormously, not only for his valuable institutional memory and managerial expertise, but for his personal integrity and congeniality. Paul plans to “redefine retirement” by refusing pleas to come back to work as a contractor. Instead he will build a new home in Braselton, Georgia, play more golf (conveniently, the new house will be on a golf course), do woodworking projects, and of course spend more time with his grandchildren. Paul began his career in public health after receiving a degree in mathematics from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 1971.  Paul was hired by the Nebraska Department of Health in 1973, and in 1974 joined CDC as a Disease Intervention Specialist in Nebraska in CDC’s sexually transmitted disease (STD) program. Three months later, he was assigned to the Los Angeles County Health Services STD program. From LA the family traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, where Paul served as first-line supervisor; then on to Alabama, where Paul was Regional Supervisor with a base office in the Jefferson County Department of Health STD program, then in the early 1980s back to LA, where Paul was the District Coordinator for the LA County STD program. By this time, the AIDS epidemic had begun, and one of Paul’s critical contributions was to help allay concerns about a perceived connection between a newly-developed hepatitis B vaccine and the mysterious syndrome that was killing young, healthy gay men. Paul’s last field assignment was Senior Public Health Advisor in the New Orleans Department of Health STD program, and in 1986 he transferred to Atlanta to the National Center for Prevention Services, where he quickly rose to the position of Chief, Field Operations Section, Division of STD/HIV Prevention. In 1993, Paul joined DTBE, where he has remained to the present. Paul served as DTBE’s Deputy Associate Director for Management and Operations, then Associate Director for Management and Operations, and finally became Deputy Director in 1998. With his calm, professional deportment and friendly attitude, Paul has effectively managed crucial aspects of DTBE’s operations, management, and budget. He has also represented DTBE with distinction to other federal and international agencies with responsibilities for TB control.

Paul’s special assignments have included chairing DTBE’s TIMS Transition Team. The Tuberculosis Information Management System (TIMS) was the first Windows-based client-server application distributed by CDC to support a national surveillance system and helped to set data quality standards for newer, broader electronic surveillance systems. Paul has also been instrumental in developing CDC’s response to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, Ending Neglect, and the Federal TB Task Force plan in response to the IOM report, playing a major role in outlining and coordinating plans for implementing these recommendations nationwide. Paul is perhaps best known for his gifts in management. Throughout his career he has demonstrated an exceptional ability to recruit new staff. Paul has mentored many of CDC’s public health advisors, including several senior CDC staff.  Paul’s advice to other leaders is that “hiring people is the most important task a manager can do.” Paul was recognized for his supervisory skill and outstanding contributions to DBTE in 1999 by the Atlanta Federal Executive Board. Paul attributes much of his success to the support of his family. His wife of 36 years, Pam, helped Paul establish himself in field service with her ability to uproot and relocate; as a math teacher, Pam was able to find jobs in each of their new locations. Paul has made many outstanding contributions to public health. His friends throughout the public health community owe him a debt of gratitude for his guidance and friendship, and he will be missed enormously.

Cathy Rawls, MPH, CHES, has joined the Clinical and Health Systems Research Branch (CHSRB). Cathy joined CHSRB on October 25 as an Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) fellow. Cathy is not new to DTBE, having worked for 2 years as an ASPH fellow with the Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch (CEBSB). She will be working on various research projects, including “Perceptions of Tuberculosis Among Immigrants and Refugees in the United States: An Ethnographic Study;” “Improving Tuberculosis Services for Persons with HIV Infection: Documenting Success;” and follow-up on the “The Behavioral and Social Science Research Forum.” Cathy graduated in May 2002 from the Health Behavior and Health Education Program in the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she also received her BA degree in sociology. Prior to entering graduate school, Cathy served 2 years in the Americorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program in North Carolina (NC) as the Family Literacy project coordinator and in the NC Public Allies program as an HIV/AIDS health educator.

Phillip Talboy was selected as Deputy Director, DTBE, National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHSTP). Phil comes to DTBE with experience in a variety of public health programs, both at CDC and in the field. Beginning in 2002 he served as Deputy Director, Division of Injury, Disability Outcomes, and Programs, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. In this capacity, he served as Acting Director and helped to establish and cultivate external partnerships. He has also worked in cancer surveillance, environmental health, emergency response coordination, and as an STD/HIV consultant and training coordinator. While in Florida, he was part of the effort to integrate the state health department HIV, STD, and TB program activities. Phil began his career as a Public Health Advisor in the National Center for Prevention Services (predecessor of NCHSTP) assigned to the Maricopa County STD Program. Since then he has accrued increasing managerial responsibilities while assigned to Florida, Washington, DC, and different positions in CDC/Atlanta.

Kathrine Tan, MD, a second year EIS officer in the International Research and Programs Branch, has recently been accepted into the Preventive Medicine Residency (PMR) program at CDC, to begin in July 2005.  Through the PMR, she will be sponsored to pursue an MPH degree at Emory University followed by a practicum year. The PMR will build on her epidemiologic experience in EIS as well as provide additional training in health policy.

In Memoriam

Lisa S. Rosenblum, MD, MPH, a Commander in the U. S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and a member of DTBE’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch, died at home on January 15, 2005. She was a loving mother to her son, Michael Rosenblum Friede, and is also survived by her parents, Sam and Ruth Rosenblum of Hackensack, NJ, and a sister and brother-in-law, Gene Rosenblum and Mitchel Ostrer, of Princeton, NJ. Graveside services were held on Monday, January 17, 2005, at Arlington Cemetery in Sandy Springs, Georgia. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Jewish National Fund or the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Lisa completed her medical degree in 1984 at SUNY Upstate Medical Center and her masters degree in public health in 1986 at Johns Hopkins University. She joined CDC in the EIS Class of 1987, and over the next 17 1/2 years became an accomplished physician-scientist who made significant contributions to improvements in the prevention and control of several public health problems, including hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, lead poisoning, and tuberculosis. She was driven by a desire to make a difference in the lives of fellow humans.

She will be sorely missed by friends and colleagues at CDC. Our heartfelt condolences, thoughts, and prayers are with Lisa's family.


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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