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TB Notes Newsletter

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No. 2, 2012


N. Niki Alami, MD, will be one of the new EIS officers in the International Research and Programs Branch (IRPB). Niki completed undergraduate studies at Loyola University in Chicago, medical school at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, an internal medicine residency at Loyola University Medical Center, and an infectious diseases fellowship at Northwestern University. She became interested in international public health through her clinical and research experience in Bolivia and Iran. Since finishing her fellowship in July 2011, she has served as a principal investigator on a HRSA-sponsored grant focusing on treatment of hepatitis C in patients coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C. In her spare time, Niki enjoys traveling, photography, and religiously watching “Global Public Square with Fareed Zakaria” on CNN.

Juanita Elder, who has been on a detail in the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP) since January, has accepted a promotion to Resource Management Specialist Team Lead with the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response/Office of Management Services. Juanita has been a key member of the Resource Management Team in DTBE’s Office of the Director since June 1996. Following are some highlights of her accomplishments: She was instrumental in developing extensive spreadsheets that were used to track the 68 TB CoAgs; these spreadsheets merged with the needs of both DTBE and PGO in tracking detailed budgetary and historic data. She also worked intensively and extensively with PGO and FMO to resolve the many funding issues that came up during her time in DTBE. She was exceptionally skilled at accurately predicting future trends, and was also able to provide mitigating solutions to lessen the impact when those predictions became a reality. Juanita provided DTBE staff with dependable and insightful guidance and counsel on contracts, grants, cooperative agreements and budgetary issues. She was especially adept at interpreting appropriations laws and policy governing the mechanisms that allowed our scientific work to be accomplished. Importantly, she frequently found ways to resolve difficult contractual issues by researching regulations and innovatively incorporating the division’s scientific needs within the promulgating guidance and structures. During the difficult issue of severable and non-severable contracts, she was very instrumental in resolving the problem, helping DTBE save over $7 million in funds. Throughout all of these circumstances, she was always pleasant and professional in her demeanor and had a way of working through difficult issues with aplomb. We will miss Juanita and her exceptional skill and knowledge in the area of procurement and grants. We wish her the very best in her new position, and thank her for her many years of exceptional service to DTBE. Her report date to her new position was May 6.

Maryam Haddad has stepped down as Outbreak Investigations (OI) team lead with the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch (SEOIB) and is going to part-time status to concentrate on pursuing a PhD in epidemiology at Emory University, after 9 years with DTBE, including 5 as the OI team lead. The new OI team lead, effective June 4, is Krista Powell. Maryam will remain with SEOIB, and she plans to return full-time in 2014.

Margaret Jackson has left DTBE and the TB Trials Consortium (TBTC) for a position with the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Capacity Building Branch (CBB).  In her new role, Margaret is continuing as a Public Health Analyst and will serve as Co-Coordinator of the web-based Capacity-Building Request Information System (CRIS).  This system enables partners to request technical assistance and training.  She will also serve as a Program Consultant to the national and regional organizations that provide services to state and local health departments, and community-based organizations.  She is excited about this new opportunity to work in the field of HIV/AIDS.

Margaret came to DTBE with experience in multiple federal programs. She began her federal career as a seasonal data-entry clerk at the Internal Revenue Service; at the end of the term, her supervisor recommended her for a full-time position as a Section Secretary. Within a few months she was named Lead Secretary in the Branch. Less than a year later she joined CDC as a Secretary in the Laboratory Branch of the National Center for Environmental Health. She was promoted to a Program Assistant position in the Program Operations Branch, Division of STD/HIV Prevention, National Center for Preventive Services (precursor of NCHHSTP), and worked there 1990–1995. Margaret then took a lateral assignment for career growth with the Division of Adolescent and School Health, in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.  From there, she availed herself of detail opportunities as a Budget Analyst and Project Specialist in the Office of the Director, NCCDPHP. In 1998, she was offered a promotion to Program Information Specialist, Research and Evaluation Branch, Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, Research Evaluation Branch (now the Clinical Research Branch).  During her time in the branch, Margaret served as IRB coordinator for all TB Trials Consortium trials, and as Executive Coordinator for TBTC Executive Affairs Group. She also provided a variety of administrative functions for the branch, and supervised and managed the support personnel.  In 2001, she completed the Executive Leadership Program, USDA Graduate School.  Margaret’s hard work and dedication were rewarded by promotions within DTBE, culminating in her final position as a Public Health Analyst. Margaret’s last day in DTBE was February 7. She reported to her new office on February 13.

Adam Langer has joined the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine’s (DGMQ) Quarantine and Border Health Services Branch as the Zoonoses Team Lead, after nearly 3 years with DTBE. His new responsibilities include leading the team that helps reduce the risk of importing animal diseases of public health importance by regulating animals and animal products arriving at U.S. ports of entry and crossing state lines.  During his tenure with SEOIB, Adam was key to the launch of the Tuberculosis Genotyping Information Management System, formation of the Outbreak Detection Work Group, and renewal of DTBE emphasis on TB in correctional settings. He also led or supervised several TB genotype cluster and outbreak investigations and served as DTBE’s consultant on a number of zoonotic TB issues. In 2010, he won the NCHHSTP Honor Award for Excellence in Public Health Service (Early Career), and in 2011, the James H. Steele Veterinary Public Health Award.  Adam began his new position as DGMQ Zoonoses Team Lead on June 4.

Lakshmy Menon was the worthy recipient of the DTBE Director’s Recognition Award for the second quarter of 2012. Lakshmy was selected to receive this honor because of her extraordinary effort and exceptional performance in support of the development of “A Report from the Workgroup on Tuberculosis Elimination in Hard Times: The Restructuring of the U.S. Tuberculosis Program (TRUST),” and for the exceptional support she provided to the Funding Formula Workgroup, as well as for her commitment to TB program evaluation efforts. Throughout the process of compiling the official TRUST report, Lakshmy was highly effective, efficient, and courteous. This task included editing, maintaining version control, and finalizing the document for submission to the DTBE/OD and CDC/OD.  She provided similar support to all of DTBE and to the National TB Controllers Association and its partners during the project to develop recommendations for the most effective distribution of funding allocated through the cooperative agreements. She demonstrated excellent working relationships with the members of the TRUST Workgroup and Funding Formula Workgroup.  She also maintains excellent working relationships with the designated TB programs areas supporting program evaluation activities and consultations, as well as with internal and external TB stakeholders. Her initiative in working with the American Evaluation Association (AEA) is an additional noteworthy achievement.  She was the lead for two presentations that were given at the 2011 AEA annual meeting, highlighting TB program evaluation and capacity building efforts. She is also ever-mindful of deadlines and opportunities. Her consistent initiative and foresight are evidenced by her successful proposal and match for a Public Health Prevention Service (PHPS) fellow. Congratulations, Lakshmy!

Chimeremma Nnadi, MD, PhD, will be the other new EIS officer in IRPB. Chime completed his medical education at the College of Health Sciences, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He then worked as a clinician on several issues at the intersection of poverty and health, including malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis, as well as maternal and child health issues at several levels of the health care system in Nigeria. Chime subsequently obtained his MPH degree in the United Kingdom. He further gained an MS in Epidemiology and a PhD in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In his spare time, Chime researches ways of improving the odds of goal scoring in soccer games and works really hard at improving his culinary art skills.

Krista Powell, MD, is the new SEOIB Outbreak Investigations (OI) team lead as of June 4, 2012. In her 4 years with the OI team, Krista has led several large TB outbreak investigations, including the Fulton County outbreak among homeless persons in 2009, the MDR TB outbreak in the Republic of the Marshall Islands in 2009, and the Kane County, Illinois, outbreak in a homeless shelter in 2010 and 2011. Along with Lilia Manangan, she serves as DTBE’s co-Project Officer for National Surveillance for Severe Adverse Events Associated with Treatment for Latent TB Infection, and in 2011, she also served on DTBE’s writing committee to develop guidelines for the new 12-dose regimen to treat latent TB infection. Krista, who grew up in Georgia, attended the University of Georgia as an undergraduate and then Emory for her MPH and MD degrees. She completed her residency in internal medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, before joining CDC as an EIS officer in 2008.

Courtney Yuen, PhD, will be the new EIS officer for SEOIB. Courtney earned a BS from Brown University and a PhD from Harvard University, where she studied stem cell transcriptional regulation for her doctoral thesis.  After completing her PhD, Courtney spent 2 years as a Peace Corps volunteer in a rural Ugandan secondary school, where she taught science and addressed women's health and mental health issues among the student population.  She then worked in Zambia with the Clinton Health Access Initiative on a costing study of HIV treatment programs.  Courtney is currently a researcher at Harvard Medical School studying the epidemiology of drug-resistant TB. In her spare time, Courtney enjoys reading, hiking, and producing excessive quantities of baked goods that inevitably end up in her work place.

In Memoriam

Edward (Don) Brown died March 17, 2012; he was 81. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Alice “Kay” Brown, five children, and their spouses. Before coming to CDC, he spent 7 years with the Wisconsin Anti-Tuberculosis Association. At CDC, Don was a long-time, faithful, and devoted TB Division employee in the Program Services Branch (precursor of the current Field Services and Evaluation Branch), where he played an important role in the TB program evaluation section. Don was widely known and respected for his important work in the development, implementation, and reporting of the CDC TB program evaluation measures. Chris Hayden, former Chief of the Program Services Branch, commented in a note,* “As a TB field assignee in Wilkes-Barre, PA (1968-1971), I helped field test the newly created TB Evaluation Forms (five different-colored forms), affectionately called the ‘Rainbow Reports,’ which Don was in charge of at CDC. Over the next 2+ decades, Don ensured that every state and big city TB control program submitted completed forms to CDC on a semi-annual basis. Don was a stickler for accuracy and timeliness; and though the forms were somewhat tedious to complete, Don taught every TB manager in the country to effectively use and value them. It was a pleasure and an honor to learn from and work with him over the years.” Don retired from CDC in the mid-1990s after 31 years of service as a Public Health Analyst. Services were held at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia, on March 22, 2012. Donations may be made to Corpus Christi Catholic Church or to Honey Creek Woodlands at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit.

*Used with permission.

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