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No. 1, 2009


Alstead Forbes, Elvin Magee, Lilia Manangan, and Cheryl Tryon, the RVCT Training Team, received the DTBE Director’s Recognition Award for the first quarter of 2009 (January–March). The RVCT Training Team utilized innovative approaches to develop updated training materials which included 1) self-study modules for local field staff, 2) a train-the-trainers course, and 3) a facilitated training session curriculum. These materials include complex case-studies and pretest and posttest assessments of participant understanding, features which will enhance and improve the usability of the new RVCT—all aimed at improving local capacity to enhance accurate reporting of TB cases. Some innovations implemented by the RVCT Training Team included collaborations with key partners, such as NTCA, CSTE, and state-based medical officers and other health care professionals. As part of their work, pilot tests were planned in five phases with state and local health department TB programs. Results from the pilot tests will serve as the evidence basis for refining these training materials. The group also incorporated team-building exercises within the training materials, which contributed to the high level of energy and good humor among participants. In sum, the RVCT Training Team represents the excellence and innovation within DTBE that contributes to partnership building while simultaneously building local capacity for enhanced TB surveillance activities. This combination of excellence and teamwork made the RVCT Training Team deserving of the DTBE Director's Recognition Award. Between January 2 and March 31, 2009, this team has access to the reserved parking spot in CDC's Corporate Square campus.

Ijeoma Agulefo, MPH, has joined DTBE in the Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch (CEBSB) as a Health Education Specialist. Prior to joining CEBSB, Ijeoma worked as a Health Education Specialist on the Clinician Communication Team (CCT) in the Emergency and Risk Communication Branch (ERCB), Division of Health Communication and Marketing, National Center for Health Marketing at CDC. She was the CCT/CDC-INFO State liaison with the primary responsibility of outreach to the states regarding assessment of communication surge capacity. She coordinated and conducted outreach to U.S. states and territories for the purposes of determining the appropriate contact person and assessing the current capacity for public and clinician communications during a local, regional, national, and global public health emergency. From October 2006 to March 2008, Ijeoma worked on the Community Health Outreach and Education Team in ERCB and was responsible for implementing behavioral interventions and tailoring messages specific to Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind communities affected by public health emergencies. She developed and maintained hands-on contact with these communities, as well as state and local public health educators, to ensure that information related to an event was tailored and accessible to community members. Ijeoma received her MPH degree in international health from Morehouse School of Medicine and her BA degree in psychology from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. She joined CEBSB on February 17.

Tracina Cropper has been selected for the Senior Public Health Advisor (PHA) position at the Pennsylvania Department of Health in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Tracina began her career in public health on September 23, 1991, when she joined CDC as a public health associate with the Division of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and was assigned to the STD Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS) training center in Decatur, Georgia. In October 1992, she was assigned to the Philadelphia STD program as a PHA/DIS. Tracina's interest in TB control led her to leave CDC’s STD program in February 1998 and join the City of Philadelphia TB control program as a Disease Surveillance Investigator/Team Leader. On December 17, 2001, she returned to CDC and joined DTBE as the Preventive Therapy Coordinator for the City of Philadelphia TB control program. In February 2003, she participated in a TDY in Seattle, WA, where she assisted with a TB outbreak among the homeless, and in July/August 2003, she was temporarily detailed to the state TB program in Harrisburg, PA. On October 6, 2003, she was reassigned to the Austin/Travis County (Texas) Health Department, where she served as an assistant to the Senior PHA and as a Program Manager in the Communicable Disease Unit. In April and June 2004, Tracina participated in a large TB outbreak investigation in Fort Wayne, IN, providing technical support and guidance. In May 2005, she accepted a promotion and was assigned to the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) TB control program. Her responsibilities there included providing programmatic and operational support, and assisting in the design and implementation of various TB prevention and control activities. She transferred in October 2007 to the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness to serve as the TB Program Coordinator. In this capacity, she supervised the TB outreach staff and was responsible for TB program management activities. Tracina began her new assignment in Harrisburg, PA, on January 20, 2009.

Jeffrey Driscoll, PhD, Senior Service Fellow, has joined the Mycobacteriology Laboratory Branch (MLB) Reference Laboratory Team where he will be leader of the Molecular Diagnostics Activity. Jeff’s role will be essential in implementing a new TB drug susceptibility testing system for quickly determining drug resistance patterns for TB isolates referred from state or other health agencies. His previous position was Director of the Northeast Regional TB DNA Typing Laboratory at the Wadsworth Center, a research-intensive public health laboratory of the New York State Health Department. During 1992–1994 he served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Wadsworth, where his field of research was genetic mechanisms of drug resistance. Jeff holds both PhD and MS degrees in Molecular Genetics from Albany Medical College. An unusual fact about Jeff is his award of permanent residency by the Australian government based on his distinguished background.

Jameelah Franklin, BS, has joined the Mycobacteriology Laboratory Branch (MLB) Reference Laboratory Team as an ORISE Fellow. Jameelah received her BS degree in Biology from Spelman College in 2008. In addition to her studies at Spelman, Jameelah was a Lab Analyst Intern for the Analytical Environmental Service and a Research Assistant for the Chemistry Department. Jameelah is currently assisting with identification of species in the TB complex and will be involved in future studies in this area of research.

Gloria Gambale has received a promotion and permanent position with DTBE's Resource Management Team.  Ms. Gambale began working for the federal government in 1987 at the IRS. She transferred to CDC in July 1998 in the Division of Oral Health. In 2000, she moved to NCHSTP/DTBE in the Data Management and Statistics Branch. Her duties included timekeeping, travel, training, property inventory, and she served as the help desk for all IT problems and as the point of contact for blackberries and cell phones. In her new role, Ms. Gambale is DTBE's primary liaison to the SBU for all Title 42, Guest Researcher, Senior and Associate Service Fellows packages; Commissioned Corp awards and leave slips; and summer student requests.  In addition, she is DTBE's primary liaison with the SBU for ICE requests, IAAs, ORISE, etc. and maintains her role as POC for blackberrys, laptops, etc. Ms. Gambale played a key role in "bridging the gap" for many activities while on temporary detail to the OD for almost 10 months.

Stefan Goldberg, MD, is the recipient of the DTBE Director’s Recognition Award for the second quarter 2009 (April – June), based on his exceptional and exemplary performance in supervising the USPHS/CDC Study 28 for the Tuberculosis Trials Consortium (TBTC). In addition, Dr. Goldberg developed and implemented USPHS/TBTC Study 29 and coordinated a bridging study of microbiologic outcomes at the Uganda study site. These three efforts had to occur concurrently, and demanded extraordinary effort and dedication. Study 28 was undertaken in collaboration with the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, and is part of the clinical development and FDA registration of moxifloxacin for a TB indication. Consequently, additional and extensive documentation was required to complete the Medical Research Report required for FDA submission. Like Study 27 before it, Study 28 failed to find a statistically significant advantage to a moxifloxacin-based intensive phase regimen for TB treatment. However, two similar studies performed at single sites in South Africa and Brazil reported statistically significant results favoring the moxifloxacin-based regimen. These conflicting results gave rise to doubts about the validity of the Study 28 results, compounded by the lack of standardization of microbiologic methods across the TBTC sites. To resolve these uncertainties, Dr. Goldberg and Ms. Lorna Bozeman undertook an extensive review of all microbiology findings in Study 28. This review involved evaluation of over 4,000 individual culture reports, and confirmed the original findings. Dr. Goldberg then led analyses of culture result differences between African and non-African sites, and coordinated the establishment of a collaborative project whose goal is to assess the performance of the several different solid media used in Study 28, in comparison with liquid culture, at the Uganda study site. This study is being supported in large part as a collaboration with the Tuberculosis and Mycobacterial Diseases Section, Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, NIAID, and thus represents one of TBTC’s first substantive collaborations with this important group at NIH. As this microbiology study was getting underway in Kampala, Dr. Goldberg was also serving at Project Officer for TBTC Study 29, a phase 2 trial of a daily rifapentine-based regimen for treatment of active TB. If successful, Study 29 will likely lead to a phase 3 treatment-shortening trial. Design and preparation for Study 29 was not straightforward. Dr. Goldberg has reported on the issues at several recent TBTC meetings and international conferences, has participated in innumerable conference calls, and has spent an excessive number of late nights in his CDC office in order to accomplish all related tasks and facilitate the successful implementation of these trials, which are expected to be pivotal in the development of new, shorter treatment regimens.

Veena Goud, MS, has joined SEOIB for a 3-month rotation as an intern with the DHHS emerging leader program. She will be working on the aberration detection team in developing a TB cluster detection algorithm. She earned a master of science degree in epidemiology with a concentration in infectious disease from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2008. She worked on the Community Access to Cervical Health (CATCH) Study, a population-based cross-sectional cervical cancer screening program in rural India. She also worked on the Behavioral Surveillance Research (BESURE) Study, a community-based cross-sectional survey designed to examine HIV risk behaviors and their prevalence over time in marginalized populations. She also worked at the Centre for Public Health Research, Massey University, New Zealand. Veena loves to travel, try new food, and see new places. Her hobbies include reading, watching movies, hanging out with friends, dancing, cooking, and yoga.

Patricia Hall, MS, has joined the Mycobacteriology Laboratory Branch (MLB) Applied Research Team as a Microbiologist.  She has been assigned to the Molecular Genetics Activity where she will conduct research in support of a new TB drug susceptibility testing system. Patricia gained her experience in microbiology while working in a laboratory at Georgia State University. In 2007, she earned an MS degree in Geological Sciences from Northern Arizona University and was a Lab Supervisor for the U.S. Geological Survey in Flagstaff.

Awal Khan, PhD, has been selected as the new Team Leader for the Program Evaluation Team, Field Services and Evaluation Branch. As many of you know, Awal is not new to TB. He brings a wealth of experience based on his work at the state level as well as at CDC. Prior to joining CDC, he served as acting chief and systems analyst for the TB Epidemiology and HIV/AIDS Surveillance Units of the Georgia Division of Public Health. Owing to his excellent work, we were successful in bringing him to DTBE, where he worked as an epidemiologist in the Clinical and Health System Research Branch in the Tuberculosis Trials Consortium (TBTC), 1997–2006. As a TBTC team member, he was responsible for data management, primary data analysis, and quality assurance of TBTC clinical trials studies. He worked with project officers and principle investigators, and as a statistician for project related activities. He authored or co-authored several peer-reviewed publications related to multiple TBTC studies. In August 2006, Awal began working as the Team Leader for monitoring and evaluation at the National Center for Public Health Informatics, CDC. He was responsible for providing scientific assistance and coordination in developing innovative methods for monitoring and evaluation of Public Health Information Network (PHIN) activities. He oversaw development of evaluation and assessment tools, and provided technical assistance to other teams on database development, analysis, and evaluation activities. Most recently, he worked on implementing a “Communities of Practice” (COP) model for PHIN activities and presented COP model activities at PHIN and American Evaluation Association (AEA) conferences. Awal obtained his Ph.D. degree in nutritional sciences from the University of Arizona (1991) and also holds a B.Sc. degree in mathematics (1978) and an M.A. degree in demography (1982). He completed a NIH post-doctoral fellowship (1992–1995) in Maternal and Child Nutrition at Cornell University, New York. Awal started his new position the first week of March.

Allison Lentz, BS, has joined the Mycobacteriology Laboratory Branch (MLB) Reference Laboratory Team as a Microbiologist. She will provide support for the Molecular Diagnostics Activity. Allison comes to MLB from Cargill Meat Solutions, where she gained valuable laboratory experience in the Research & Development Unit.  She received her BS degree in Microbiology from Missouri Southern State University in 2006.

Seidu Malik, PhD, has joined the Mycobacteriology Laboratory Branch (MLB) Applied Research Team as an ASM Postdoctoral Fellow. Seidu received a PhD degree in Pharmacy in 2007 from the University of Australia, where he continued as a Postdoctoral Fellow. He also holds an MS degree in Biology from Leiden University in The Netherlands and a BS degree in Agriculture from the University of Ghana. Seidu is conducting research on the mechanisms of fluoroquinolone resistance in TB with the Molecular Genetics Activity.

Patrick Moonan, DrPH, has joined the International Research and Programs Branch as part of the Program Strengthening/Epidemiology (PSE) Team. Patrick has more than 10 years of experience in tuberculosis research and public health practice at the local, state, and federal level. In 2005, he joined DTBE as an epidemiologist with the Outbreak Investigations Team and was charged with developing and expanding the implementation of TB genotyping in the United States. Under his leadership CDC developed a new team focusing on molecular epidemiology, its application in TB control efforts, and was the main architect for the forthcoming TB Genotyping Information Management System (TB-GIMS). His vision has led to the development of statistical models for detecting potential outbreaks using the National TB Genotyping Service (NTGS) database. Patrick has a wide breadth of epidemiologic experience, including several publications on the molecular epidemiology ofM. tuberculosis,M. bovis, substance abuse and TB, pediatric TB, program effectiveness, and interferon-gamma release assays. Patrick has a doctorate, as well as a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in epidemiology, from the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center. He received a post-graduate diploma from the Institut Pastuer in molecular epidemiology and holds a BA degree in sociology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Patrick is the proud parent of two children, Collin (age 6) and Mia (age 3).  He is active with the Bridgeway Soccer Academy both as a coach of the U8 'Texas Longhorns' and as player in the adult league.

Subhadra Nandakumar, PhD, who prefers to go by the name “Subhi,” has joined the Mycobacteriology Laboratory Branch (MLB) Applied Research Team as an ORISE Fellow. Subhi received her PhD degree in Medical Microbiology from the University of Madras in India. She has been teamed with Suraj (“Surge”) Sable in the Immunology Activity and together, they are partnering with the Emory Vaccine Center to develop a new generation mucosal subunit vaccine against TB. Their project is being funded through a Georgia Research Alliance (GRA) Collaboration Planning Grant. GRA Collaboration Planning Grants are meritorious awards given to CDC scientists and their academic collaborators.

Delaina Paasch has joined the Mycobacteriology Laboratory Branch (MLB) Applied Research Team as an ORISE Fellow. She will be a part of the Genotyping Activity and assists in mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit (MIRU) typing and epidemiological analysis of TB isolates. Delaina interned at the Pasteur Institute Tuberculosis research Laboratory where she acquired her genotyping skills. She received her BS degree in Biology from the University of Wisconsin in 2008.

Germania A. Pinheiro, MD, PhD, has joined the International Research and Programs Branch as part of the Program Strengthening/Epidemiology (PSE) Team. She obtained her medical, Master of Sciences, and PhD degrees in Brazil, where she trained in Pulmonary and Occupational/Environmental Medicine. She was an Associate Professor at Rio de Janeiro State University for 7 years, where she coordinated a Reference Center for Occupational Lung Disease. During her training, she was involved in clinical care of innumerous cases of pulmonary and extra-pulmonary tuberculosis, including multidrug-resistant TB. She also worked as a physician in a correctional facility hospital for the treatment of tuberculosis at the Rio de Janeiro State Justice Department. In addition, she worked at a tuberculosis outpatient clinic at the Municipal level.  Her participation in the American Thoracic Society Methods in Epidemiologic, Clinical and Operations Research (MECOR) course stimulated and shaped her interest in epidemiology. Subsequently, she was a CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer, CDC Senior Service Fellow, and a Senior Manager at GSK Biologicals working with pneumococcal vaccines, in Belgium. She currently holds an appointment as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Medicine, West Virginia University. She has recently moved back to Atlanta with her husband and her family.

Melisa Ramirez, PhD, has joined the Mycobacteriology Laboratory Branch (MLB) Applied Research Team as an Emerging Infectious Disease Postdoctoral Research Fellow. She is determining the role of the twin arginine translocation pathway in TB pathogenesis and will also examine the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in TB. Melisa attended Virginia Tech where she received a PhD in Biological Sciences in 2008 and a BS degree in Microbiology & Immunology in 2003. She has a very strong background in the characterization of genes and therefore will be a great addition to the Molecular Genetics Activity.

Angela Starks, PhD, has joined the staff of the Mycobacteriology Laboratory Branch (MLB) as a Microbiologist on the Reference Laboratory Team. She is leader for the Laboratory Capacity Building Activity and serves as TB Laboratory Consultant for 64 public health laboratories that receive TB cooperative agreement funding. Angela performs site visits and analyzes laboratory workload data to identify areas of intervention needed to improve clinical training and turn-around times. After receiving her PhD in Biomedical  Sciences from the University of Florida in 2003, Angela served as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Microbiology & Immunology Department at Emory University . In 2005, she came to MLB as a guest researcher and later became a Senior Research Fellow. In addition to her present duties, Angela continues to direct research projects aimed at clarifying molecular mechanisms of drug resistance in TB. 

Grace Thiongo, a WESTAT contractor, has joined SEOIB’s Epidemiology Team as a Data Coordinator for TBESC.  Grace was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya.  In 2001, she moved to Kennesaw, GA, with her parents and four siblings. From 2003 to 2007 Grace attended North Georgia College and State University, in Dahlonega, attaining a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. In September 2007, Grace enrolled at Boston University School of Public Health to pursue a Masters in Public Health degree with a concentration in Epidemiology.  Prior to joining SEOIB/DTBE, she also worked as a research assistant for Children’s Sentinel Nutrition Assessment Program at Boston Medical Center. Grace enjoys reading novels, especially those by the distinguished African novelist Ngugi Wa Thiongo, socializing with friends, and watching movies.

Lisa Thombley, JD, MPH, has joined DTBE's Office of the Director as the new public health analyst for policy and issues management.  Lisa joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Law Program as a Public Health Law Analyst (ORISE) in September, 2006, focusing on legal issues related to tuberculosis and other communicable diseases, mutual aid, tribal public health, lead poisoning, and injury prevention.  Lisa earned her law degree in May, 2006, from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law.  While in law school, she led community service initiatives for the Environmental Law Society and the Delta Theta Phi legal fraternity, and served as a student attorney in the Loyola Law Clinic.  She also clerked for two medical-legal partnerships, with an emphasis on legal issues affecting clients with communicable diseases.  In May, 2008, Lisa received a Master of Public Health degree in Health Policy from the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University.  While pursuing her MPH, she earned the Dean’s Award in Food and Drug Law at Emory University School of Law.  She is licensed to practice law in the State of Georgia and serves as Vice Chair for the American Bar Association’s Public Health and Policy Interest Group.  Lisa will be working on a variety of TB-related policy issues and transition into the role as DTBE's lead for the model TB law project. Please join us in welcoming Lisa as a new CDC employee and member of DTBE!

Jim Tobias, BS, will be working with SEOIB using geographic information systems (GIS) to conduct mapping projects for the TB Genotyping Information Management System (TB GIMS).  Jim earned a bachelor of science degree in marine science from the University of South Carolina, and will complete his master’s degree in GIS at the University of Southampton in 2009. Jim earned his GISP certification through the GIS Certification Institute. He began working with GIS as a research fishery biologist for NOAA (1992-2000), and has provided mapping and spatial analysis support to a wide variety of marine biology studies. He transitioned to public health in 2000 and worked as a geographer for the Georgia Division of Public Health (2000-2004). He  worked for SAIC in the National Immunization Program (2005-2006) and then transitioned to BearingPoint and NCPHI where he worked with Carl Kinkade to pilot test a shared geospatial services framework for Enterprise geospatial data, tools, models and web services. Jim is now working for Northrop Grumman and will provide GIS support for DTBE.

Dawn Tuckey, MPH, has been selected as the new Project Officer for the Regional Training and Medical Consultation Centers. Dawn brings a wealth of public health and TB experience by virtue of her training and field assignments during her career. Additionally, she also brings a nice balance of programmatic as well as training and education experience. Dawn started her career with CDC in September 1985 as a Public Health Associate with the Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) program in Fayetteville, North Carolina, followed by assignments to STD positions in Washington, DC, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  In July 1990, she accepted a transfer to New York City to join DTBE with the New York City Bureau of TB Control, where she worked as a clinical manager for three of the City's TB clinics.  In April 1993, she transferred to Madison, Wisconsin, as the TB Program Director. Dawn left DTBE in February 1997 to take a position as the Program Director for the Division of Diabetes in Washington, DC, where she established the diabetes program for the District.  In December 2000, Dawn returned to DTBE with a position in Philadelphia as the TB program manager. There she developed the court and detention process for noncompliant patients. In January 2001, she transferred to Atlanta, Georgia, as the program consultant for the Mid-West region, providing technical assistance and consultation to the nine cooperative agreement recipients in this region. Since arriving in Atlanta, she has worked on numerous TB outbreaks, was a team lead in Operation Katrina, and has assisted several TB programs in developing their infrastructure. Dawn received her MPH degree in Health Systems Management from Tulane University and also holds a BS degree in health education. Dawn started in her new position during the first week of February.

Melisa Willby, PhD, has joined the Mycobacteriology Laboratory Branch (MLB) Applied Research Team as a Microbiologist. She will design and implement TB research projects in support of the Molecular Genetics Activity. Melisa will be involved with determining the mechanisms of drug resistance in TB, vaccine development, and TB pathogenesis. Prior to coming on board with MLB, Melisa was developing diagnostics for detection of respiratory pathogens and providing support for domestic and international respiratory pathogen surveillance for the Gastroenteritis & Respiratory Virus Lab Branch. Before coming to CDC, Melisa was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Emory University in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology. She received her PhD from the University of Georgia in 2002.

Holly Wilson, MHSE, CHES, has left DTBE and the Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch (CEBSB) for a position as a Health Communications Specialist in the National Center for Environmental Health, Division of Environmental Hazards & Health Effects. Holly joined CEBSB in 2006 as a Health Education Specialist, and for the last 3 years has been responsible for several important projects on the Communications Team. To mention a few of these, she headed up the planning and organizing of the TB Education and Training Network conference each year. These conferences reflected Holly’s tremendous organizational skills as well as her creativity and always garnered positive reviews from attendees. She was also responsible for handling the public inquiries coming to DTBE through CDC INFO, the CDC-wide automated response system that replaced the Duty Officer system. In addition, she worked closely with the DTBE Web team to ensure the rapid and accurate posting of information on DTBE’s Intranet.  Holly came to DTBE from the Division of Viral Hepatitis (DVH) where she was also a Health Education Specialist. She received a BS degree in Health Science Education and a Master of Health Science Education degree from the University of Florida. Her last day with us was March 27. We miss her and wish her well in her new position!

Mary Analise Zaunbrecher has become a full-time FTE in the Mycobacteriology Laboratory Branch (MLB) Applied Research Team through the CCID Strategic Laboratory Recruitment Initiative. As a member of the Molecular Genetics Activity, she will continue her research investigating a novel mechanism of kanamycin resistance in TB. Analise is currently an Emory PhD candidate in Microbiology & Molecular Genetics. Previously, she has conducted research at the Lafayette Biology Department in Lafayette, Louisiana, the San Diego State University Biology Department, and the Trudeau Institute in Saranac Lake, New York.

Last Reviewed: 05/13/2009


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