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TB Notes Newsletter

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No. 2, 2012

Dear Colleague:

Many of us who have worked in TB control for a number of years were saddened to learn of the death of Don Brown on March 17, 2012. Don was a long-time member of the Division’s Program Services Branch (precursor of the current Field Services and Evaluation Branch), where he played an important role in the TB program evaluation section. For many years, Don was in charge of obtaining, safeguarding, and interpreting the program management data of state and local TB programs throughout the country. Please read about his contributions in this issue.

On March 20, 2012, I had the privilege of participating in a World TB Day Congressional briefing in Washington, DC. Entitled “Tuberculosis: Why This Ancient Disease Remains a Global Health Threat,” the briefing was planned by the American Thoracic Society and RESULTS, and sponsored by Representatives Elliot Engel (NY), Gene Green (TX), and Don Young (AK), who are co-chairs of the bipartisan TB Elimination Caucus.

The briefing enabled us to provide Congressional members and staff with information about TB disease and infection, in the United States and globally; how it is transmitted; its effects in children; and challenges that have enabled this disease to persist. Other speakers included Dr. Mario Raviglione, Director, Stop TB Department, World Health Organization, who served as the moderator; Dr. Jeffrey Starke, Professor of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine and Director, Children's TB Clinic, Texas Children’s Hospital; and Ms. Rachel Orduno, Vice-President, TB Photovoice, and advocate for persons affected by TB. Other CDC staff in attendance included Amy Pulver, Cristina Batt, and Jason Broehm, public health analysts in the CDC Washington office, and Ann Cronin, DTBE Associate Director for Policy and Issues Management. My colleagues and I were glad to have this opportunity to talk about TB. I am hopeful that it will result in additional attention to the worthy cause of TB elimination.

CDC’s annual World TB Day observance was held on March 22. Dr. Jeffrey Starke, who as mentioned above had also participated in the March 20 Congressional briefing, was the keynote speaker at CDC’s 2012 World TB Day event. He made a compelling case for attention and concerted actions to address pediatric TB. In addition, Drs. Kevin DeCock, Director, Center for Global Health, and Gloria Oramasionwu, EIS officer, DTBE, gave two informative presentations. All three talks came together very nicely for an outstanding and memorable 2012 World TB Day Observance at CDC!

And to round out our series of successful World TB Day events, on March 24, CDC staff and their family, friends, partners, and others came together in Atlanta’s Grant Park for the sixth annual TB Awareness Walk. We were rewarded with a perfect morning for this event. I refer you to the articles and photos herein describing the events of the day.

The annual CDC EIS conference was held during the week of April 16–20, 2012, here in Atlanta, Georgia. This conference showcases current EIS Officers’ work and projects on topical epidemiologic issues, provides opportunities for epidemiologic professionals to network, and introduces newly selected EIS Officers to future assignments and staff with whom they will be working. On Wednesday morning, a TB session was held; one of the four presentations given was “Tuberculosis Surveillance Data Transmission Errors — United States, 2011,” by Robert F. Luo, MD, EIS officer with DTBE. We also have information in this issue about our three new EIS officers who will be joining the Division in August: Drs. Courtney Yuen will be joining us in SEOIB, and Chime Nnadi and Niki Alami will be taking positions with IRPB.

I hope many or most of you in our national TB control programs attended the 2012 National TB Workshop. It was held at Atlanta’s Crowne Plaza Ravinia Hotel the week of June 11, with the theme of “A New Era in TB Management.” Pre-conference meetings were held Monday, June 11; these consisted of business or working meetings of several groups. The conference officially kicked off on Tuesday, June 12, with a welcome from Dr. Charles Wallace, who serves as President, NTCA, and who is the Manager, Tuberculosis Services Branch, Texas Department of State Health Services; the meeting adjourned at noon on Thursday, June 14. This conference serves as a forum for providing updates on what we have all been doing over the past year, and for exchanging current information and expertise. It provides an opportunity for all of us to learn something new and perhaps pass on lessons learned to others, and to renew our connections with our TB control colleagues. We will provide reports and updates from the meeting in the next issue of TB Notes.

Kenneth G. Castro, MD
Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS, & Commanding Flag Officer
CDC/ATSDR Commissioned Corps
Director, Division of Tuberculosis Elimination
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention

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