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No. 1, 2009


TB ETN Member Highlights

Kelly SmithIn this issue we highlight Kelly Smith, MPH, and Sherry Carlson, BS, the new co-chairs for the TB ETN Conference Planning Workgroup.

Kelly received her MPH degree from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, with a focus on international health and development.  During her graduate studies, she participated in the Masters Internationalist program, which included a 2.5-year Peace Corps service in the Dominican Republic.

Kelly works as a program manager at the Francis J. Curry National TB Center in San Francisco, California, which is one of the four CDC-funded TB Regional Training and Medical Consultation Centers (RTMCCs).  She oversees the development, implementation, and evaluation of the Curry Center’s trainings.  This includes both on-site and off-site intensive trainings and web-based trainings.  The most recent training she managed was the development of a 90-minute national web-based seminar on interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA) tests for the diagnosis of TB infection.  The training was held in January 2009 and had hundreds of participants; 632 completed the continuing education requirements, although “we documented over 1,000 viewers,” Kelly said. She also works closely with content experts, review committees, graphic designers, and other vendors to develop educational products such as books and recorded online presentations.  She is the Curry Center’s liaison for the TB Education and Training Focal Points, also known as the Human Resource Development Coordinators (HRDCs), and facilitates quarterly conference calls with them.  In addition, she works as a project coordinator with an ongoing international HIV/AIDS project in the Caribbean region which is a collaborative project led by the International Training and Education Center on HIV/AIDS (I-TECH).

Kelly first learned about the TB ETN conference when she began working at the Curry Center in early 2006 and has been attending the annual conference every year as the Center’s representative.  Kelly relates, “Working at an RTMCC, TB training and education are a daily part of my job.  I feel very strongly about the importance of training and education and see TB ETN as a wonderful resource.  It’s really a community of individuals committed to providing effective and relevant training and I also see it as a way to improve my own skills.”  She has been a member of the Conference Planning Workgroup for the past 2 years, and this year she joined the Cultural Competency Workgroup.  She hopes that TB ETN will continue to increase its membership and develop dynamic and innovative ways to enhance the TB education and training skills and expertise of its members. 

In Kelly’s free time she enjoys photography, hiking, scuba diving, and traveling whenever possible.  She also loves music and trying different kinds of ethnic foods.

Sherry CarlsonSherry Carlson, BS, is a TB Education Promotion Consultant for the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) TB Services.  Her main responsibilities include maintaining the TB website and TB services manual, developing educational materials, providing support for educating special populations, developing and delivering public health outreach presentations to stakeholders, and acting as the liaison for DOH partnerships with the Washington State TB Advisory Council (member of the education committee) and Seattle Biomedical Research Institute.  Sherry was recently involved in training new TB staff throughout Washington State on the new RVCT forms and Washington’s new system for reporting TB cases.  In addition, she worked with Washington’s DOH to develop educational materials for American Indian populations; these are available on the TBNet website, a multinational TB patient tracking and referral project that works with mobile, underserved populations.  The program hopes to continue to develop more educational materials for populations in the state that have higher rates of TB.  Sherry took the lead for planning the DOH’s 2008 World TB Day activities and also planned the 2009 World TB Day event.  She also assisted in planning the Washington State Annual TB Meeting.

Sherry was introduced to TB ETN through her co-worker, Sheanne Davis, a fellow TB ETN member and past workgroup co-chair.  Sherry hopes to become more involved in the TB education and training community and to network with peers who work in TB both domestically and internationally.  She also hopes that TB ETN will continue to provide access to education and training resources, particularly culturally appropriate resources, and continue to increase networking opportunities for its members.

Sherry’s hobbies and interests include snowboarding, water sports, music, spending time with friends, and watching her boyfriend race cars.  She hopes to return to school to pursue a masters degree in public health.

If you’d like to join Kelly and Sherry as a TB ETN member and take advantage of all TB ETN has to offer, please send an e-mail requesting a registration form to . You can also send a request by fax to 404-639-8960 or by mail to TB ETN, CEBSB, Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, CDC, 1600 Clifton Rd., N.E., MS E10, Atlanta, Georgia 30333. Or, visit the TB Education and Training Network website for additional information.

—Reported by Trang Nguyen, MPH
Div of TB Elimination

TB ETN’s Ask the Experts

This feature is brought to you by the TB ETN Membership Development Workgroup.

I am responsible for providing outreach and training to health professionals throughout the metro area.  Due to work schedules, traffic, and distance, it is difficult to get everyone in one place at the same time.  I would like to do something online but am not sure what format to use. I don’t understand the terminology enough to talk to our computer consultant. Can you help?

With new technologies available, we need to rethink how we provide tuberculosis (TB) education.  The Internet is one way to get TB education “to the masses,” whether the audience is spread around the community or around the health care facility. Two available formats are discussed here: web conferences (including webinars, a type of web conference) and webcasts. This article will give you a very brief overview of so you can converse with your information technology (IT) department and explain what you would like to accomplish.

Web-based education:  What does all this computer terminology mean anyway?

Web conferences are fully interactive and represent a way to conduct face-to-face meetings over the Internet. They are “live” and thus work in real time, with specific starting and ending times. Web conferences work well for in-depth, collaborative meetings and trainings. The following options are available with a web conference, depending on the system used, the size of the audience, and the allowed budget.

  1. Slide-show presentations (e.g., Powerpoint) can be viewed on the audience members’ computers and be discussed by the presenter.
  2. Some web conferences allow for screen sharing, whereby slides, MS Word, or other documents can be displayed and then manipulated by the audience members.
  3. Webcam and digital video allow the presenter, as well as the computer screen, to be seen by the audience.
  4. VoIP (real-time audio through the computer with headphones and speakers) or telephone audio conference calls allow the audience to hear the presenter.
  5. Meetings may be digitally recorded for later viewing or distribution.
  6. Attendees are allowed to mark items on the slide presentation or make notes, much like a dry-erase board or whiteboard.
  7. Text chat can occur between two participants or can be open to everyone connected to the meeting.
  8. Conversation, questions and answers, polls, and surveys may be conducted between the audience and presenter.

Webinars (from web-based seminar) are a type of web conference. Webinars are often used to train a large number of people and to conduct focus groups and press conferences. Often a webinar consists of one-way communication from presenter to audience, frequently in the form of a slide show. But it can also be designed with some interaction between presenter and audience.  In addition to logging on with a computer, attendees may call in on their telephones in the same way as they would for a conference call. Over the telephone, the presenter discusses the information transmitted to everyone's computer screen and participants can ask questions. All that is needed for a webinar is a computer, Internet access, and a telephone line for listening to the teleconference portion.  A benefit of webinars is that a large audience can be reached at a reasonable cost.

Webcasts are broadcast over the Internet in much the same way as television programs are broadcast.  A live or prerecorded program of audio and/or video is sent from a central location to multiple viewers.  A webcast uses “streaming media,” a technology that compresses and transfers video and/or audio data through the Internet in such a way that the file can start to play while it is downloading. One example of a webcast would be a broadcast or simulcast of a radio or TV program over the Internet.  A webcast is usually a professionally produced program that, if done “live,” allows for a variety of interactive features like Q&A and polls. However, the interaction between presenter and audience members is more controlled than with a web conference. Video webcasts can only reach viewers with faster Internet connection speeds while audio-only can go to computers with slower connections.

Webcasts may be used for very large events, since the content is digitized and sent to computer servers that then distribute the content to the audience. The cost of a professionally produced program and the powerful servers required can make the base cost of a webcast quite high. However, per-attendee distribution is cheap—just the cost of bandwidth—so very large events are less expensive done as webcasts than as web conferences.   

How to choose a Web-based educational program
When beginning the search for a web-based educational format, it is important to talk to the IT department at your facility and screen a number of vendors. Visit their websites, review live demos, view their other projects, and talk to those clients and ask lots of questions.  But first, be sure to set your objectives, note the features that you require, and figure out your budget.  When planning your Internet-based program and deciding on what format to use, think about the following:

  1. How large is your audience? Where will they be?  How much control do they have over their computers?  Will they be in their own office or home on individual PCs, or gathering together in a room?  Are they dispersed around the hospital, the city, or the world?  A webcast sent to large numbers of people can be viewed from many disparate locations much more easily and cheaply than a web conference, and participants can still have a dialogue with the presenter.  More elaborate web conferencing is best suited for small in-depth collaborative sessions with 5 to 10 people. Many of the tools for web conferencing require that specific software be downloaded to the computer.  In many large organizations, health care facilities in particular, IT programs prohibit the downloading of software for security reasons. Most webcasting suppliers use software already available on a typical computer. 
  2. What level of production quality do you expect?  Using audio alone or combined with video will change the quality of your presentation. Web conferencing is great for collaborating and sharing information. Webcasts typically use professional, TV-quality broadcasting.  It is nicer looking but much more expensive.  Web conferencing often uses webcams, so quality depends a lot on the experience of the person operating the camera, but they are less expensive.  The streaming video used in a webcast is created by computers specifically designed for this purpose so there is less likelihood of their “crashing.” In contrast, the typical PC may have other programs running at the same time which could cause computer malfunction.  
  3. What is your budget?  Web conferencing typically has a cost-per-minute, per participant charge; the more participants, the greater the cost. It is easier to figure out a budget for a webcast, since they are typically charged at a flat rate for a maximum number of attendees logging on at the same time.  Many companies offer both webcasting and web conferencing. They should be able to give you cost comparisons so you can decide which format is the best for your needs.

Computer technology is changing rapidly; for more information, please visit the following websites, which were used as references for this article: Web Conferencing, Wikipedia - web conferencing references, and Streamlogic: webcasting or web conferencing
(all accessed December 2008).


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