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TB Notes Newsletter

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No. 1, 2011


William (Terry) Avant, CDC/FSEB Senior Public Health Advisor (PHA) assigned to the State of Georgia TB control program, retired from service on February 28, 2011. In his capacity as the Senior PHA in the Georgia TB program, he provided technical assistance, guidance, and direction to state and local officials. In addition, he supervised two PHAs assigned to the Fulton and DeKalb TB clinics. Prior to joining CDC in 2009, Terry had served in the U.S. Army, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His military assignments included service as a community health nurse, infection control coordinator for the Carl Vinson Veterans Administration Medical Center in Dublin, Georgia, and infectious disease coordinator for the Georgia State Public Health South Central District.  Terry looks forward to spending more time with his family.

Patricia Bessler, MPH, joined DTBE’s Clinical Research Branch (CRB) on March 14 as an epidemiologist. Pat received her BA degree from the University of Texas and MPH in epidemiology and international health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).  Her graduate research was conducted in rural Jamaica, where she investigated characteristics affecting uptake of women’s cancer screening services in public health clinics.  After graduating, Pat joined UAB’s Minority Health International Research and Training Program to manage data collected at the program’s numerous international field sites.  In 2007, she accepted a position as a Research Scientist with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).  For the next 2 years she worked with the NYSDOH Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, where she participated in the design and implementation of the NYS Environmental Public Health Tracking System. In 2009 and 2010, Pat joined the NYSDOH Bureau of HIV/AIDS Epidemiology as a member of the Laboratory Operations team, managing the 1 million+ laboratory records received by the state every year.

Lorna Bozeman, MS, Team Leader of the Data Management Team in DTBE’s Clinical Research Branch, has been named Preceptor of the Year by Georgia State University's College of Health & Human Sciences in the Institute of Public Health for her contribution to the student internship program. The College of Health & Human Sciences recognized Lorna at its annual Honors Day Ceremony at Georgia State University. Congratulations, Lorna!

Liza Bronner, MPH, a graduate of Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health Global Epidemiology Program, has joined the International Research and Program Branch (IRPB). Liza will be working as a Guest Researcher / Senior Research Associate, assisting with operational research studies on TB that are being conducted in collaboration with the National Department of Health and the Medical Research Council in South Africa. 

Before joining DTBE, Liza was a laboratory assistant with the Emory Vaccine Center in Dr. Eric Hunter’s HIV vaccine research laboratory, where she was responsible for designing and developing scientific experimental designs and training and supervising laboratory staff. She performed laboratory assays to establish phylogenic linkages of HIV in a large sample of HIV-infected couples enrolled in studies in Rwanda and Zambia. In this capacity, Liza also served as the primary liaison between the Emory laboratory and the Rwanda Zambia HIV Research Group’s (RZHRG) international field sites. In Kigali, Rwanda, Liza conducted research to evaluate discrepancies between HIV testing conducted at research laboratories and rapid results performed at local health laboratories. This information was used to inform and guide changes to the national HIV testing algorithms.

Liza’s experience also includes work with the Bicol Clinic Foundation in the Philippines, where she was responsible for implementing a tuberculosis census aiming to establish the burden, availability of treatment programs, and community knowledge about TB. Her field work involved conducting interviews with local public health authorities and working with local medical clinics and affected communities in the Bicol region.

IRPB is very pleased to have Liza, as well as her expertise in global health and in biologic and epidemiological sciences, and her passion for TB and HIV research!

Richard (Dick) Brostrom, MD, MSPH, has joined DTBE as a Field Medical Officer in Honolulu, Hawaii. In addition to serving as the State TB Control Branch Chief, Dick is also providing clinical support to the U.S. jurisdictions in the Pacific Region. His hiring is especially important now that the Hawaii post has been amended to include additional responsibilities for the TB Control Programs for Chuuk State, the Marshall Islands, Ebeye, Pohnpei, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Palau, Yap, Kosrae, and American Samoa.

Dick has extensive experience in TB control and other public health issues. He received his MSPH and MD degrees from the University of North Carolina and completed 2 years as a USPHS Medical Officer for the Indian Health Service (HIS) prior to his work in the Pacific. Before joining CDC, he served as the Medical Director for the CNMI Division of Public Health.

In 2009, Dick was awarded a CDC Service Award for working to build local TB capacity in Chuuk State, FSM. He helped create a workable and successful plan, coordinated several funding agencies, and provided direct supervision for the treatment of 25 patients with multidrug-resistant TB. Also of note, he has been a leader in developing TB standards for the diabetic population. Currently, he is working with DTBE and the Francis J. Curry Center to develop the world’s first guidelines for treating TB in patients with coexistent diabetes.

Dick has participated in several international program reviews for CDC, Secretariat of the Pacific Communities (SPC), and the World Health Organization (WHO). He was team lead in the WHO-sponsored evaluation of the National TB Program in Fiji. He also served as CDC team lead for the WHO-CDC evaluation of the Marshall Islands TB Control Program. Dick was also the NTCA team lead for the evaluation of TB care for refugees in Nepal. This evaluation, sponsored jointly by U.S. Department of State and CDC, was performed to protect the U.S. and other countries from unnecessary importation of TB for more than 120,000 Bhutanese refugees undergoing permanent resettlement to accepting countries around the world.

As part of a growing CDC interest in Pacific health issues, he represents a substantial agency commitment to advancing TB care for Hawaii and the entire Pacific region. We are very pleased to welcome Dick to DTBE!

Kevin Cain, MD, of the International Research and Programs Branch (IRPB) was selected as the Lead Scientist for the TB Research Branch in Kisumu, Kenya.  The Branch will be responsible for three main research areas: TB vaccine trials, TB drug trials, and intensified TB case finding (ICF).  Kevin will continue in his role as the Lead for the TB/HIV Team until mid-April 2011 and then transition to his new position. If all goes as planned, he will assume his post in Kisumu in June 2011.  Although we are sorry to see Kevin leave his current position, we are very pleased that he will remain a member of IRPB and DTBE, and will be assuming an important position in Kisumu that represents a collaboration between IRPB, the Clinical Research Branch, and the Division of Global AIDS/CDC Kenya.

Kathryn Koski, MS, MPH, has been selected as the Associate Director for Management and Operations (ADMO) for DTBE. She was selected among a highly competitive group of 20 qualified applicants. She officially assumed this role on February 27.

Kathryn comes to DTBE with a wealth of experience in various CDC programs. Since 2007, she had served as Deputy Chief, Health Services Research and Evaluation Branch, Division of STD Prevention (DSTDP). From July 2006 until February 2007, she was Acting Deputy Chief, Program and Training Branch, DSTDP. Between September 2005 and July 2006, she served on a temporary assignment as Acting Chief, Financial and Administrative Services Office, Office of the Director, NCHHSTP. From 2001 until 2005, she served as a Public Health Advisor (PHA) on the Medical Education and Evaluation Team, Training and Health Communication Branch, DSTD.  Prior to that, she worked in DTBE for several years. During 2000–2001, she was the Project Manager for the Tuberculosis Information Management System (TIMS) in DTBE. She served as a TB PHA with the State of Florida TB Program during 1999–2000, and before that served with the Los Angeles County TB Program, 1997–1999. She also served as Acting Deputy Chief, Laboratory Reference and Research Branch, DSTDP, and Acting PMO, HIV Retrovirology Branch, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP).

Kathryn earned a BS degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, an MS degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, Wisconsin, and an MPH degree from Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. She started her career with CDC in 1991 as a PHA with DSTDP, and has served with distinction as PHA in Los Angeles County’s STD Program, and the Miami-Dade County STD Program.

Eugene McCray, MD, returned to DTBE on February 7 and resumed his duties (full-time) as Chief of the International Research and Programs Branch. He continues to work closely with Dr. Allyn Nakashima, who is replacing Eugene as the Acting CDC Global TB Coordinator, and with the CDC Global TB Working Group on the development of the CDC Global TB Strategy. Eugene thanks Kevin Cain for the outstanding leadership he provided for IRPB during his absence, and also thanks his staff and many colleagues in DTBE for their excellent support and collaboration with Kevin during this time.

Nicole Richardson-Smith, MA, joined the Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch (CEBSB) as a health communication specialist on March 28, 2011.  Nicole served as a Health Communication Specialist in the Influenza Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), CDC, during 2005–2011.  During the 2009 H1N1 Influenza Pandemic, Nicole served on the Technical Specialty Unit Clearance Team, which was responsible for the development of key messages, H1N1 print materials, and content for the H1N1 Web site. For her participation in the 2009 H1N1 pandemic response, she received an NCIRD award for Excellence in Communications: Communication Strategy team and an NCEZID honor award certificate for excellence in leveraging strategic partnerships to promote public health.

Nicole received her BA in Journalism and English from Emory University in 2003, and an MA degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from the University of Georgia in 2005.  She is currently pursuing a PhD in Public Health with a concentration in Community Health Education and Promotion at Walden University.

Kim Seechuk, DTBE/FSEB Public Health Advisor (PHA) in Washington, DC, has been selected jointly by the Division of STD Prevention/Program and Training Branch (PTB) and DTBE/FSEB as the Senior PHA for the combined STD/TB program in Washington, DC, effective February 14, 2011.

Kim brings extensive TB and STD experience to her new position. Starting in 2007, she served as the Bureau Chief and Senior PHA for the District’s Tuberculosis Control Program. In that position, she was responsible for all programmatic, fiscal, and administrative aspects of the District’s multifaceted TB efforts and spearheaded efforts to integrate the program with the HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and STD programs. Prior to that assignment, she worked in DSTD’s Program and Training Branch for 10 years in various capacities, including serving as acting Branch Chief, Deputy Branch Chief, and Program Consultant. In those positions, Kim oversaw the management of over 200 field staff, conducted program assessments, and prepared funding announcements and various interagency agreements.

David A. Wilson has joined the Data Management and Statistics Branch (DMSB) as of February 14. Dave is a Public Health Analyst who has served in the DTBE Laboratory Branch since May 2003. From 2001 to 2003, Dave worked as a Grants Management Specialist in CDC’s Procurement and Grants Office (PGO). In his new position, he will assume acting Deputy Chief duties for DMSB and for the Global Laboratory Activity.

Dave has had extensive experience in instructing military and civilian personnel as well as in managing, evaluating, and coordinating large, complex programs. In coordination with the NCHHSTP Office of Informatics, Dave will lead DMSB’s administrative support and related budget-planning activities related to the imminent CITS-to-CIMS transition in the Division. His office is located in the DMSB area. Welcome, Dave!



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