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No. 2, 2012

HIGHLIGHTS FROM STATE AND LOCAL PROGRAMS

The New England TB Heroes Award

Every year, the New England Tuberculosis Consortium presents the New England TB Heroes Award to recognize an extraordinary contribution to the care or management of patients with TB and latent TB infection (LTBI) or an activity that greatly enhanced the TB prevention and control efforts of a local or state TB program. The 2011 award went to two nurses: Maureen Williams, nurse consultant with the Connecticut Department of Public Health TB Control Program, and Nancy O’Neil, LPN, of the Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System.

Maureen had multiple nominations that spoke abundantly about her team-building skills, care to patients and families, and actions as a mentor extraordinaire. One nominator wrote, “I have gained confidence working with Maureen, which in turn has made me a better public health nurse. TB control is a team effort and Maureen is the epitome of a team player, and I feel privileged to work with such a professional.”

Maureen WilliamsAnother public health nurse stated, “If there is anyone deserving of the New England TB Heroes Award, it would have to be Maureen Williams from the State Department of Public Health TB Program. She plays a vital role providing continuity of care to the TB patients and their families.”

Another nomination nicely summarized Maureen’s contribution to TB control in Connecticut. “I have been a nurse for close to 40 years and can say unequivocally that Maureen is one of the best nurses I have had the honor to work with. She is a mentor to all nurses involved with TB Control. Connecticut is lucky to have such a clinically competent and compassionate nurse consultant. I know that I speak for many when I say that Maureen is our TB hero.”

Maureen received her award on October 20, 2011, at the New England TB Outreach Meeting in Shrewsbury, MA, from Sue Etkind for the New England TB Consortium, and from Danielle Orcutt and Margaret Tate, Connecticut TB case managers (see photo at left).

Nancy O'NeilNancy O’Neil, of the VA Boston Healthcare System, was recognized with the TB Hero Award at the 2012 “World No TB Day” event at the Massachusetts State House. The event was organized by the Medical Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Tuberculosis, a group of physicians and other TB experts, and was attended by state legislators, Department of Public Health officials, physicians, nurses, and community members.

Nancy, a licensed practical nurse, was selected as a TB Hero because of “her tireless work at the VA Boston Healthcare System. Her work to protect the 4,200 employees of the VA Boston Healthcare System from the contagious and potentially deadly threat of tuberculosis also benefits the communities surrounding the three campuses.”

Nancy’s dedication was well summarized in her nomination: “Nancy recently engaged Occupational Health and Infection Control to follow up tuberculin skin test converters and to increase compliance. She has expressed a desire to rotate shifts to capture the greatest number of people to be screened.” The photo shows Nancy O’Neil being honored at the Massachusetts State House, World TB Day.

Congratulations to Maureen and Nancy, our New England TB Heroes!

Past recipients of the New England TB Heroes Award

2008
Suzanne Gunston, RN; Maine TB Program Manager (retired)
Susan Nutini, RN; RISE TB Clinic, Rhode Island

2009
Florence Grant, RN; Public Health Nurse, City of Cambridge, MA
Helen Wu; Bridgeport, Connecticut, TB outreach staff

2010
Jeanne Ellis, RN; Getchell TB Clinic, Worcester, MA
Alex Sloutsky, PhD; University of Massachusetts Laboratory and former Director of the Massachusetts State Mycobacteriology Laboratory

—Reported by Sue Etkind, RN, MS (Executive Director, STOP TB–USA);*
Jennifer Cochran, MPH (Director, Mass. Div. of TB Prevention and Control);*
Lynn Sosa, MD (Conn. TB medical epidemiologist); Danielle Orcutt, MPH (Conn. TB case manager);
and Mark Lobato, MD (CDC Medical Officer)

*At the time of writing, Sue Etkind was Director, Mass. Div. of TB Prevention and Control, and Jennifer Cochran was Director, Mass. Refugee and Immigrant Health Program.

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