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No. 1, 2013

PERSONNEL NOTES

Ijeoma Agulefo, MPH, will be transferring to a Public Health Advisor position in the Division of State and Local Readiness (DSLR), Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR) after 4 years with DTBE’s Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch (CEBSB). In her new position, Ije is branching off into a different direction to get more public health experience. Her duties will include providing programmatic oversight and coordinating the provision of technical assistance for CDC’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreement awardees. She will also work with state and local health agencies to clarify PHEP program requirements and provide guidance regarding program implementation activities to build and sustain public health preparedness capabilities. Ije’s last day in DTBE will be May 3.

During her time with CEBSB, Ije worked on a number of projects including planning, organizing, and successfully implementing the annual CDC World TB Day activities and overall management of DTBE’s responses to inquiries from CDC INFO. Prior to joining CEBSB, she worked as a health education specialist in the CDC Emergency and Risk Communication Branch (ERCB), Division of Health Communication and Marketing.

She received her MPH in International Health from Morehouse School of Medicine and her BA in Psychology from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.

Ije will be greatly missed in CEBSB, and we wish her well in this new position!

Glen Christie was selected as FSEB’s new Deputy Chief, replacing Joe Scavotto, who retired in December 2012. Glen came to CDC in 2003 after 21 years as a medical specialist in the U.S. Army, in which he worked on developing and implementing plans and standard operating procedures to support medical operations in various assignments within the United States and overseas. Since joining CDC, he has worked in the field of Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) within the Division of Strategic National Stockpile (DSNS) and the Division of State and Local Readiness (DSLR). He has served as a Program Service Consultant providing technical assistance to state and local public health departments in development of plans to receive medical countermeasures from the Strategic National Stockpile during a public health emergency. He also has served as Team Leader for DSNS’ field staff, and as the DSLR Team Leader for program staff managing the PHEP cooperative agreement. In addition, he served as a Team Leader for one of the DSNS’ deployment teams and deployed in response to Hurricane Katrina and in support of numerous federal and state exercises. Glen has a B.S. degree in Healthcare Administration from Southern Illinois University and an MPH from the University of South Florida. He assumed his new position on January 27, 2013.

Lois Diem, MT (ASCP) was selected as the worthy recipient of the DTBE Director’s Recognition Award for the first quarter of 2013.  She was nominated by colleagues in the Laboratory Branch (LB) for her work, “over and above the call of duty.” 

Lois voluntarily accepted the responsibility of providing leadership and choreographing the move of two laboratory programs from four laboratories in order for DTBE to cede laboratory space to the Influenza Division (ID). This required tremendous organizational skill as she set into motion the series of interdependent moves that took place over a period of 2 months. Her calm but effective leadership was respected by all involved as she developed and put forth the plan which required the participation of many staff members and optimization of remaining laboratory space. This relatively unpleasant task of ceding laboratory space to a sister division was made bearable by her keen attention to detail and ability to keep all processes on schedule.

As a result of her tremendous effort, LB met the target date of July 16 to relinquish the designated laboratory space in perfect condition to ID. Importantly to DTBE and the TB control community that rely on the services of LB, these moves were accomplished without interrupting the clinical services and research of the branch. Lois exhibits an exemplary spirit of service, initiative, and leadership that contributes greatly to the core mission of NCHHSTP and CDC. Congratulations to Lois for this well-deserved honor.

CDR Puneet Dewan, MD, resigned from the Commission Corps and IRPB, DTBE, effective October 23, 2012, to accept a position as a Senior Program Officer for TB with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in New Delhi, India. Puneet was an EIS Officer with IRPB from July 2001 to June 2003 and then joined the Field Services and Evaluation Branch, DTBE, in December 2003 as the Field Medical Officer assigned to the San Francisco Department of Public Health. From February 2006 until his recent resignation, Puneet served as a medical officer in IRPB, detailed to the World Health Organization Southeast Asia Regional Office (SEARO) in Delhi, India, where he served as senior TB Advisor to Ministry of Health officials in India and provided technical support to the Government of India TB control efforts and neighboring countries in the region. Puneet’s position was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Since 2006, he has provided intensive technical support for expanded TB-HIV collaboration, supported the scale up of the program response to MDR/SDR TB, provided support for operational research capacity development, conducted program evaluation activities, and supported the development of national policy guidance related to these aforementioned activities. We look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with Puneet’s in his new role with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in India.

Alyssa Finlay, MD, has accepted the position as the Associate Director (AD) for TB at BOTUSA in the CDC Botswana Office in Gaborone. Alyssa is currently serving as the CDC Resident Advisor for the President’s Malaria Initiative and the CDC Country Representative in Madagascar, a position she has held since July 2008. Alyssa is well known to IRPB and the Division. She trained as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer in IRPB from July 2003 to June 2005 and was retained as a staff medical epidemiologist in IRPB after completing EIS, including serving as the TB/HIV Team Leader from October 2006 to June 2008. Alyssa will be transitioning to the AD TB position on June 10 and will be arriving in Botswana shortly thereafter. A more detailed announcement will be shared when Alyssa arrives in Botswana in early June 2013.

Paula Fujiwara, MD, MPH, resigned from CDC effective October 22, 2012, to accept a position as the Director for the Department of HIV with the International Union Against TB and Lung Diseases (The Union). Paula served as a CDC Medical Officer in IRPB and was detailed to the Union in Paris, France, from January 2001 to September 2008 to promote the development and implementation of a consortium of international TB experts trained to provide technical consultation on TB prevention and control to various low-resource countries in Africa and Asia. Paula’s position was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Prior to joining IRPB, Paula served in a number of leadership positions in the Bureau of TB Control, NY City Department of Health, including serving as the Assistant Commissioner of Health and Director of the TB Control Program, New York City Department of Health (NYCDOH), from 1996 to 2000 and Director of Epidemiology, Bureau of TB Control, NYCDOH, from 1994 to 1996. Paula was on an extended leave of absence from IRPB, DTBE, from late September 2008 until her resignation in October 2012. We look forward to our continued collaboration with Paula in her new role.

Maria Galvis, FSEB public health advisor (PHA), has been selected for re-assignment from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Phoenix, Arizona. She will be working with the Arizona Department of State Health Services TB control program. She will serve in a variety of roles assisting with TB prevention and control activities among Native Americans, with bi-national partners, and in  correctional facilities. Maria begins her new assignment on May 20, 2013.

Maria started her CDC career as a PHA in June 2011 with her first assignment in Las Vegas, NV. One of Maria’s main duties in Nevada has been developing cooperative agreements between correctional facilities and the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD), serving as a correctional liaison, and maintaining relationships with Nevada private physicians. In addition, she consulted with and provided technical assistance to disease investigators on difficult and challenging contact investigations. Maria also collected data and served as the Nevada point of contact for the post-implementation 3HP assessment project.

Maria has previous experience working in the TB programs in Miami, FL, and in New York City, NY. Her duties included collecting and analyzing surveillance data, providing case management, performing active disease surveillance, conducting targeted testing activities with the immigrant population, providing program management, and planning, developing, and implementing TB-related training for health care workers. Maria received a BA degree in Psychology at Hunter College in New York City and is currently working on completing requirements for a Master of Public Health degree.

In addition, Maria and Deborah Bedell (CDC PHA formerly with DTBE) were winners of the February 2013 CDC/NCHHSTP Director’s Recognition Award. Maria and Deborah were integral to the successful initiation of treatment for latent TB infection (LTBI) of 166 people during a contact investigation at a Denver-area high school in early 2012. Maria and Deborah helped launch one of the first U.S. contact investigations using the new short-course treatment regimen for treatment of LTBI (3 months of isoniazid and rifapentine). The outcomes will be extremely beneficial to DTBE’s scientific understanding of the efficacy and side effects of this regimen on students.

Judy Daugherty Gibson, MS, Nurse Consultant in the Field Services and Evaluation Branch (FSEB), DTBE, retired from CDC on March 31, 2013, after nearly 22 years of service to CDC and 40 years in public health. 

Judy joined CDC on July 15, 1991, and devoted her entire CDC career to DTBE in the roles of health educator, project officer, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) study team member, and program evaluation specialist. After joining DTBE, Judy served as project officer for a study with a national and regional minority organization (NRMO) and community-based organizations (CBOs). The study formed CBO partnerships with local health departments to deliver targeted testing and treatment for latent TB infection (TT/TLTBI) in CBOs serving foreign-born persons in eight sites.  The study findings were used to describe partnership components and incentives in the new TB control program cooperative agreement announcement. Judy served as a co-project officer for a case study evaluation of six TT/TLTBI programs that received funding for 5-year projects.  The evaluation developed a framework for program improvement.

During 1999–2000 and 2011–2012, Judy represented FSEB on study teams working to standardize the reading of tuberculin skin test (TST) results among newly trained workers for NHANES. She determined the accuracy of readings for TB infection, as well as variation over time between new readers and trainers to reach the goal of reading TST results within 2 mm between readers. She developed the training protocol and the quality assurance requirements, including the blinded independent duplicate reading (BIDR) method, as well as a check list of standardized procedures to ensure that reliable and valid data are gathered. She helped develop training materials for TST placement and readings, based on the protocol, that have been widely used by CDC partners for 10 years.

In the past 12 years, Judy has expanded the scope of her research to include TB monitoring and program evaluation. She found a passion for performance measurement and program evaluation during course work for the Graduate Certificate Program in Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. Judy’s research and consulting activities focused on TB case management for completion of therapy and core competencies for the nurse consultant. Judy led an effort to describe the Patient Centered Care (PCC) model and tools for ensuring completion of TB therapy based on the Riley program evaluation framework. She assisted nurse consultants in testing a model-based data collection tool for targeted testing.

In the first public health chapter in the book Essentials of Nursing Informatics, Judy helps students understand their role in gathering surveillance data in health information technology systems and using data for public health action.  She also proposes the Public Health Nurse Infomatician role at CDC.

In 2007, Judy received the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) Chief Nurse Officer Award for outstanding contributions to the nursing profession at CDC. The U.S. PHS Chief Nurse Officer Award recognizes professional nurses who have made an impact in clinical or nonclinical settings through their commitment to the spirit of nursing, and to the ideals of the PHS.

Judy received an MS degree in Community Health Nursing at Texas Woman’s University, Denton, Texas, and began her TB career as a program manager for the Dallas County TB Control Program. Judy served as principle investigator for U.S. PHS Study 21, which began enrollment in 1981. The study confirmed the rifampin-based short-course therapy results found by the British Medical Research Council and led to the adoption of 6-month therapy for TB disease in the United States. In addition, Judy served in the U.S. Naval Reserve (USNR).

Judy looks forward to becoming a nonworking Mom and Grandma to two daughters, one son, one step-son, and 10 grandchildren, and enjoying retirement life with her husband, David Gibson, who retired from the General Services Administration in 2011. She is eager to continue a family photo history and genealogy project started by her father and grandmother.  She also plans to spend some time in Dallas with her father, Robert Mureen, and disabled older brother, Richard. Later in 2013, Judy and Dave will start an Atlanta-based consulting business.

Many of Judy’s friends and colleagues in DTBE attended a retirement party for her on March 15, 2013, to wish her well in retirement.

Andy Heetderks, MPH, was selected as the new Team Lead for Field Operation Section (FOS) West in FSEB. Andy is well known to TB colleagues as a project officer and Lead Public Health Advisor in FSEB. His field assignments have included St. Louis, MO; Fulton County, GA; Miami, FL; and New York City, NY. Since 1993, Andy has served as a DTBE project officer to over half the United States cooperative agreement (CoAg) recipients. For the past decade, he has balanced working with California (and the big cities therein) along with Hawaii and the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPIs). His portfolio in working with the USAPIs includes serving as lead for NCHHSTP’s Integrated CoAg for the USAPIs; for the Pacific Regional TB Reference Laboratory contract; for the Pacific TB Web-based Surveillance and Reporting System contract; and for the Intra-agency agreement/Intra-departmental delegation of authority with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for regional collaboration in the Pacific, which allows for the annual Pacific Island TB Controllers’ Association (PITCA) workshop. He has also led the efforts to plan and facilitate the first three U.S./Mexico TB Summits. Andy has a B.S. degree in biology from North Georgia College and an MPH in Policy from Emory University. He assumed his new position on January 13, 2013.

Kelsey Lauren Hughes has joined the Applied Research Team of DTBE’s Laboratory Branch as an ORISE Fellow. She will be evaluating the effect of pyrazinamide (PZA) mutations on pyrazinamidase activity in Mycobacterium tuberculosis with the aim of contributing to an improved PZA drug susceptibility test. She will also be building and maintaining a database containing the data collected from this PZA project. Kelsey earned her B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a minor in Computer Science from Mercer University. She worked on several independent research projects during her college career, including analyzing the protein-protein interactions of knockout genes in the notch-1 protein of Drosophila melanogaster and examining the effects of varying nitrogenous concentrations on Escherichia coli. Kelsey is a New York Giants fan and enjoys exercising, tennis, and playing Xbox in her free time.

Maureen McDermott, MA, MS, will be providing administrative support for SEOIB.  She received her BA in Education from the State University of New York, an MA in French from the Sorbonne in Paris, France, her MS in Public Administration and Urban Studies from Georgia State University, and a paralegal certificate from Emory University.  She has worked as an instructor at Georgia State University and in several capacities with MARTA, numerous law firms and legal outfits, Equifax, the Coca Cola Company, Cadence Group, Randstad, and most recently with CDC/ADSTR as an administrative assistant. With an extensive background in the legal arena, law library sciences, and records management, Maureen will be instrumental in helping DTBE archive materials in preparation for our likely move to Building 12 this summer. Welcome, Maureen!

Kiren Mitruka, MD, has transferred to a medical officer position with the NCHHSTP Division of Viral Hepatitis, Prevention Branch. During her nearly 5 years with DTBE/SEOIB’s Outbreak Investigations Team, Kiren supervised the investigation of numerous TB outbreaks, working closely with EIS officers in both SEOIB and IRPB, as well as the Epi-Aid on the 2009 decline in reported TB, leading to a highly regarded presentation at a European CDC meeting. She also earned praise for her management of a clinical services team in CDC’s Emergency Operations Center during the H1N1 outbreak. Two of her published papers, an outbreak overview paper in Emerging Infectious Diseases (2011) and a completion of treatment paper in IJTLD (2012), have already begun to be cited widely. Simultaneous to all these accomplishments within DTBE, Kiren was able to complete her MPH coursework and be recertified as an infectious disease specialist, studying evenings and on weekends. Despite this strong work ethic and focus, Kiren always makes time for a kind word for coworkers, and everybody who works with Kiren will miss her gentle diplomacy with external partners. She began her new position on March 25.

Mara Oelemann has joined the Applied Research Team of DTBE’s Laboratory Branch as an ORISE Fellow. Mara will be evaluating MIRU-VNTR 24 loci and other innovative genotyping methodologies to understand the transmission and the molecular evolution of TB strains within human populations.

Mara recently moved from Brazil, where she studied the molecular epidemiology of TB at Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro. Mara earned her MSc in 1995 in Biochemistry and received a PhD fellowship to work at the Institute Pasteur in Lille, France. During her stay in France, she examined over 900 TB isolates from different regions of Brazil by evaluating the application of MIRU-VNTR 24 loci combined with spoligotyping and deligotyping. She also evaluated the performance of MIRU-VNTR 24 loci in combination with spoligotyping and IS6110 RFLP for the detection of transmission chains in culture-confirmed TB patients reported in Hamburg, Germany. In her free time, Mara enjoys traveling, listening to music, going to the cinema, reading, and being with family and friends.

Germania Pinheiro, MD, MSc, PhD, has accepted a position as the Team Lead for the Environmental Medical Team in the Environmental Epidemiology Branch, Division of Toxicology and Human Health Sciences, NCEH, ATSDR. Germania began her new position on February 17, 2013. She joined IRPB in 2009 as a Senior Service Fellow and served as the Lead for activities in the Latin America and Caribbean region including coordinating with others in DTBE, the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, and the Center for Global Health on activities and initiatives along the US-Mexico border. We congratulate Germania on her new role and thank her for the outstanding contributions to IRPB and DTBE efforts to address TB in Latin America and the Caribbean Region and along the US-Mexico border. We look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with Germania in her new role at NCEH.

Sharon Robinson has joined the Office of the Director of DTBE. Sharon joined CDC in 2008 and worked in the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control/ Division of Violence Prevention before moving to the CDC Office of the Associate Director for Policy. Prior to coming to CDC, Sharon worked for the DeKalb County School System in various capacities. She was also employed with the Federal Reserve Bank for 13 years and Peachtree Software for 5 years. Sharon holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Management from Georgia State University. Sharon will be working with Rickenya Hodge on the management of cooperative agreements and contracts.

Luis Alberto Romero has joined the Reference Laboratory Team of the Laboratory Branch as an ORISE Fellow. In this capacity he will assist with CDC’s Molecular Detection of Drug Resistance (MDDR) Service to detect mutations associated with drug resistance in M. tuberculosis complex for the effective treatment of patients suffering from TB. Luis received his B.S. in Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2012, and had previously participated in research involving cancer and public health. In his free time, Luis enjoys playing basketball, rock climbing, and volunteering.

Dr. Nong Shang, Statistician with the Data Management and Statistics Branch, has accepted a position with the Division of Bacterial Diseases, where he has served on a temporary detail since the beginning of 2013. Nong’s move will formally take effect within the next few weeks, but he will continue limited engagement on his TB projects through mid-May. We will miss him, and we sincerely hope that this move will continue to stimulate his intellectual and personal growth. We appreciate and celebrate his many contributions to DTBE over the past 10.5 years.

Nong received his PhD from the University of California-Berkeley in 1993 and taught statistical methods at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, before coming to CDC in August 2002. In his time with DTBE, he has become a leading and respected expert on methodology in clinical trials for preventing TB. He led the statistical analysis of the Botswana IPT trial (whose primary manuscript was nominated for a Shepard Award) and the TBTC’s noninferiority trial of the 12-dose INH-RIF regimen for treating LTBI (whose primary manuscript won a Shepard Award). He led or substantially contributed to many other projects as well, including projects that are improving our ability to understand screening diagnostics and to forecast or detect outbreaks.

Dr. James Shepherd has accepted the position as in-country CDC Medical Officer, detailed to the WHO India Country Office, to serve as a senior TB advisor and provide technical assistance to the Government of India Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program. James is currently serving as the Associate Director for TB at the Botswana USA collaboration (BOTUSA) in the CDC Botswana Office in Gaborone. He will depart Botswana at the end of April 2013 and is tentatively scheduled to arrive in India during the first week of May 2013. A more detailed announcement will be made immediately after James arrives in India in May.

Deanna Tollefson, MPH, joined the Program Strengthening and Epidemiology Team (PSE) in IRPB as a contractor beginning March 4, 2013. Deanna earned an MPH degree from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in 2012. While at Emory, Deanna worked in IRPB as a Research Assistant with the PSE Team, during which she led the design and writing of a systematic literature review on TB burden in indigenous peoples. After completing her MPH in 2012, Deanna joined the International Division at John Snow Inc., where she documented success stories related to a USAID-funded HIV/AIDS project in Zambia. After spending 6 months overseas, Deanna will be re-joining the PSE team and will primarily work on operational research and surveillance strengthening activities. Please join us in welcoming Deanna back to IRPB.

In Memoriam

Ann Tyree, Program Specialist with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), passed away on January 6, 2013, at the age of 67. She had served the Texas DSHS for over 20 years in a variety of TB program positions.

Ann was born in Evansville, Indiana, on July 3, 1945, to Halbert and Sarah Bybee. She graduated from Memorial High School in Houston and attended Vanderbilt University (BA in Chemistry) and the University of Virginia (MS in Chemistry). She settled in Austin, Texas, in 1987 and joined the Texas Department of State Health services in 1993, where she remained employed throughout her career and her life. Ann was married to Walter Preston Tyree III for 45 years; they had two sons and six grandchildren. She is survived by her mother, Sarah (Sally) Bybee of Austin, Texas; her brother, Halbert Bybee, Jr., of Richardson, Texas; her husband Preston; and her two sons, Walter Preston Tyree IV of Alexandria, Virginia, and John Edward Tyree of Austin. A celebration of Ann's life was held January 11 in Austin.

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