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TB Notes Newsletter

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No. 1, 2010

PERSONNEL NOTES

Ana DeNunzio, BSN, joined the Program Evaluation Team of FSEB on January 19, 2010, for a 15-week assignment. She was selected as part of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) National Internship Program (HNIP) and will be working in DTBE until April 30. Ana has experience in nursing as well as in public health, and is currently working on her MPH degree at Tulane University.  She has conducted community-based research in Brazilian communities and has assessed the quality of care in health care settings.  Between 2002 and 2005, she worked as an epidemiology nurse instructor.  Also, since 2002, she has managed a medical center in Brazil, where she has coordinated family medicine programs such as maternal child health, diabetes, hypertension, family planning, infectious diseases, and communications and media outreach. Ana also has a background in chemistry and in the clinical laboratory, and has extensive experience in international communications and policy initiatives. She is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish and has worked as a volunteer in health communications in Portugal, Spain, and the US. Currently, she is a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers and the American Public Health Association.

Molly Dowling, MPH, CHES, has joined the Communications Team of the Communications, Education and Behavioral Studies Branch (CEBSB). Molly, who received her masters degree in public health (MPH) from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, is not new to CDC.  She recently worked as an ORISE Fellow in the Division of STD Prevention.  During her fellowship, she had the lead for the development of an interactive computer-based course on SAS instruction (SASSI).  Prior to her public health career, Molly taught English in rural Japan and worked in corporate human resources. Molly’s training career began at the University of California, Davis, where she obtained a degree in history: while enrolled, she trained the student conductors who operated the campus double-deck buses (brought over from London) that were part of the university transportation system. Molly joined CEBSB on March 15. 

Shalom Hernandez is an intern with the national Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) program, and is working with Roque Miramontes in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch in DTBE. She is also pursuing a masters degree in public health (MPH) concentrating in epidemiology at the College of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL; she is in the final semester of her MPH program and anticipates graduating in May 2010. She received a bachelors degree in Health Science from the University of Florida in May of 2008.  Shalom is now in the process of interviewing with Physician Assistant study programs in Florida in hopes of continuing her graduate education and working in the health care field.  She wants to use her MPH degree to focus on preventive medicine as well as infectious diseases.  She plans to complete a special project with the CDC team that involves examining the demographic and clinical characteristics of clustered foreign-born TB patients, as well as comparing the characteristics for clustered and non-clustered TB patients in the U.S.  She also plans to assist the outbreak investigation team when needed during her time here.  As an intern, Shalom hopes that her work will be incorporated into the ongoing research at CDC that seeks to further understand the burden of TB disease among foreign-born persons in the United States.

Kashef Ijaz, MD, Chief of DTBE’s Field Services and Evaluation Branch (FSEB), is serving a detail in the new CDC Center for Global Health as Chief, Global Disease Detection Branch. Kashef recently completed a detail as Deputy Director in the Division of Emerging Infections and Surveillance Services of the new Center. During his detail, he helped lead the transition of the International Emerging Infections Program to the new Center and also served on the leadership team for the new Center. As part of the leadership team, he lead the Science Task Group, which outlined critical areas for science and epidemiology that the new Center should include, in addition to developing and maintaining linkages with subject matter experts within CDC.  Kashef began his new detail on Feb. 1.

Scott Jones has been selected the recipient of the DTBE Director’s Recognition Award for the first quarter of 2010. Scott has been assigned to the Alabama Department of Public Health in the Division of Tuberculosis Control since 2001, during which time he has endeavored to improve the state’s TB prevention and control program. He has successfully worked with, and supported, three consecutive TB division directors. In September 2006, the Alabama TB division director retired early due to health conditions. At that time there were no names on the state personnel classification register for Disease Control Division Director, and no state merit system employees within the TB program were qualified for the position. When Dr. Woernle, Assistant State Health Officer, asked DTBE to allow Scott to serve as Interim Program Director of the Alabama TB program, the division agreed, thinking the assignment would be for 6 to 9 months. It was not anticipated that Scott would carry the interim director title for 33 months, doing so with honor and integrity. Never once did it appear that he was “babysitting” the TB program while waiting for the next director to arrive and solve the current problem, settle an issue, or tackle a difficult task.

Scott has guided the Alabama TB program and worked to develop the TB division into a strong cohesive unit. He has demonstrated personal interest and compassion for the plight of the patients and families touched by TB disease, and he has extended that same interest and compassion to the TB program staff. He knows and understands the strengths and weaknesses of the TB program state level and field staff and works with each individual to challenge them to excel in their respective roles. Scott has been open to exploring new ideas and approaches to solving problems. His approach to problem-solving has been positive; he has used each as a teaching opportunity for state and local staff as well as for the medical community.

During his tenure as Interim Program Director, he successfully managed a statewide program with diminishing resources. He has juggled state personnel requirements and budgets as well as his CDC responsibilities. He approaches his daily work positively and in a professional manner. He actively participates in bureau-wide disease control projects and offers valuable input to group discussions; he approaches difficult situations in a calm, mature, and exemplary manner. Scott is sincerely dedicated to the TB control program, and has demonstrated that dedication and concern time and again during his years of service to this state. He exhibits a very high work standard and is a strong role model for others. During his time in this position, Scott has been an exemplary addition to the Alabama TB control program. His colleagues in Alabama are grateful to have him as their partner in the fight to control TB and other communicable diseases in Alabama.

Romel Lacson, MPH, Lead Behavioral Scientist in the Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch (CEBSB), is serving a detail to the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention to provide support to the National Monitoring and Evaluation Team (NMET) in the Program Evaluation Branch.  This detail will fill a critical need for a senior behavioral scientist to provide evaluation expertise to state and local health departments and directly funded community-based organizations in their collection and use of HIV monitoring and evaluation data. Amera Khan, MPH, has agreed to serve as Acting Team Lead for the Education, Training, and Behavioral Studies Team in CEBSB in Romel's absence.

Allison Maiuri, MPH, has joined DTBE as a Health Education Specialist in the Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch (CEBSB), where she is a member of the Education, Training, and Behavioral Studies Team. She has been with CEBSB since 2006, serving as an Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) Fellow and as a Behavioral Scientist prior to this new position. Allison has worked on a variety of projects within the branch, including the Find TB Resources.org website and the TB Program Managers’ Course. Among her many duties, she is instrumental in the activities of the TB Education and Training Network (TB ETN) and serves as the CDC liaison for the TB ETN Cultural Competency Workgroup. Allison graduated from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health in 2006 with an MPH in behavioral sciences and health education. She received her BS in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Lakshmy Menon, MPH, joined DTBE’s Field Services and Evaluation Branch (FSEB) on February 1 as a Health Scientist with the Program Evaluation Team. Lakshmy came to CDC in August 2008 as an Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) Fellow. During her fellowship, she evaluated the 2008 pilot of the DTBE telework policy and analyzed data from an evaluation of management and operations in DTBE’s Mycobacteriology Laboratory Branch. Lakshmy also designed a process evaluation of national TB surveillance data quality, which is currently in its implementation phase. She also designed and is currently conducting an evaluation of the CureTB Binational Referral Program in San Diego, California.  Lakshmy obtained an MPH degree in Global Health with a concentration in infectious diseases from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in 2006. She received her BS degree in biology from Portland State University. As part of her graduate work at Emory, Lakshmy worked with the Rwanda Zambia HIV Research Group’s Project San Francisco in Kigali, Rwanda, where she designed and implemented a study to identify clinical and self-reported risk factors for HIV seroconversion in serodiscordant couples. She also interned with the International Affairs Department of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, where she created a department-wide monitoring and evaluation tool for assessing the Society’s progress towards lowering global cancer morbidity and mortality. Lakshmy also worked as a research assistant in the infectious disease program at Grady Health System, which led to her graduate thesis on the durability of initial highly active antiretroviral therapy in an urban, indigent, treatment-naïve population.

Brandy Peterson, MPH, CHES, officially joined DTBE’s Field Services and Evaluation Branch (FSEB) on January 4, 2010, as a Health Scientist with the Program Evaluation Team. Brandy came to CDC as a Public Health Prevention Service Fellow in 2006. During 2007 to 2009, she completed a 2-year field assignment in the Sexually Transmitted Diseases unit at the Arizona Department of Health Services in Phoenix, Arizona. While at the state health department, she developed and implemented a behavioral surveillance study focused on syphilis symptom recognition among HIV-infected males who have sex with men (MSM) at two local HIV clinics. This required coordination between the state health department, a public clinic, and a private clinic. Brandy also evaluated a local syphilis prevention media campaign, and served as the facilitator for the syphilis prevention stakeholder group. After completion of the PHPS program in October 2009, Brandy returned to Atlanta, where she served as an Associate Project Officer in the COTPER Division of State and Local Readiness/ Program Services Branch. In this capacity she was responsible for providing technical assistance to the state health departments within Region VI, developing consultation plans, and monitoring use of the Public Health Emergency Response Funding for H1N1 response activities. Brandy previously worked for the National Cancer Institute Cancer Information Service Research Program (2005–2006) to support the design and implementation of health communication research studies. She also worked for the Paso del Norte Health Foundation (2003–2004) to develop the strategic plan for the Physical Activity Initiative (Step It Up!), which served as the foundation for funding community-based organizations (CBOs) to implement effective physical activities programs within the Paso del Norte Region. Brandy obtained her master of public health degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center-School of Public Health in 2006 and her bachelor of science degree in Health Science from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2003.

Rachel Woodruff, MPH, has joined the Surveillance Team of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch (SEOIB) as an epidemiologist. Prior to joining DTBE and SEOIB, Rachel spent 3 years at the DeKalb County Board of Health as the District Epidemiologist. In this capacity she managed and analyzed population-based health data, responded to illness outbreaks and foodborne illness complaints, coordinated the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and Youth Risk Behavior Survey, followed up on notifiable disease reports, and oversaw the development of a 5-year report on the status of health among DeKalb County residents. Rachel also gained previous experience at CDC as an epidemiologist in the Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch, where she worked with state and local health departments on foodborne outbreak surveillance and response, and as a research fellow in the Immunization Safety Branch, where she worked on vaccine risk communication issues. After serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras from 1996 to 1998, Rachel, a Colorado native, moved to Atlanta to attend Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and received her MPH in 2001.

 

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