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Return to Main Menu - TB Notes 3, 2008

No. 3, 2008

Personnel Notes

Sandy Althomsons, who served as Data Manager for DTBE’s Surveillance team, left CDC and DTBE in January 2008 after accepting an assignment from Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) - France. Sandy is serving as the new epidemiologist/data manager for the MSF HIV/TB prevention program in Malawi. During her 2 years with DTBE, Sandy was involved in a variety of projects. She oversaw the creation of two annual surveillance reports, worked with the World Health Organization to create a surveillance workshop at the IUATLD conference in Paris, worked closely with state TB controllers to ensure data quality for the National TB Surveillance System (NTSS), and worked closely with the TIMS team to produce a new reporting platform. She presented data at international conferences in South Africa and was the principal investigator on several DTBE Analytic Steering Committee studies. Sandy served as co-chair of the CDC Health and Human Rights Workgroup (HHRW) in 2007, advancing several priorities of the HHRW. Working with Office of the Chief Science Officer (OCSO), she spearheaded the effort to secure annual funding for the workgroup to do its work. Her last official day in DTBE was January 31, 2008.

Sapna Bamrah, MD, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Public Health Service, joined the Outbreak Investigations Team of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch, DTBE, on July 1. Sapna joined CDC in 2006 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer with the International Emergency and Refugee Health Branch in the National Center for Environmental Health, an assignment which led to work with displaced populations in Kenya, Nepal, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, and Swaziland, and to a partnership with DTBE during a 2007 TB Epi-Aid in Michigan. Dual board-certified, Sapna completed her residency in internal medicine at Case Western and fellowship in infectious disease at the Cleveland Clinic. With a background in social work before attending medical school, Sapna has also volunteered extensively with homeless service providers. Her longstanding passion, however, is TB, which will be a great asset in her new role as medical officer and epidemiologist with DTBE.

B.A. Blackledge, who worked in DTBE’s Office of the Director, left DTBE for a position in the CDC Procurement and Grants Office (PGO), effective July 21. She took this position after completing a 60-day detail to that office. Joining us in June 2005, she cheerfully and efficiently provided expertise and assistance to DTBE staff in contracting and budget analysis. Prior to coming to DTBE, B.A. worked with the National Immunization Program (NIP) for 3 years, and before that, she worked in PGO as a Contract Specialist for 8 years. In her new position in PGO, she will be switching gears a bit to work in the area of construction and architect/engineer design contracts. We wish her all the best in her new position.

Terrance Bright, who is employed by Northrop Grumman Corporation, has joined DTBE in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch as a new member of the Surveillance Team. He will serve as the data analyst and manager for the new MDR/XDR TB registry. Terrance has served in a variety of positions in his career, including working as a shift supervisor for CVS Pharmacy, marshalling aircraft and passengers at Detroit Metro Airport, serving as an executive secretary for a construction firm, and working as a customer account executive for Comcast. Terrance attended Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and is planning to resume his education in Atlanta in the fall. Welcome, Terrance!

Shannon Burse joined the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch (SEOIB) in April 2008 and provides administrative support for the branch. Prior to joining SEOIB, Shannon provided administrative support for the Director's Office, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP). A native of Michigan, Shannon has also worked as a Support Associate with Bank of America and as a Balancing Agent with Fiserve Bank of Atlanta, and has served in numerous capacities through her position with Onsite Temporary Services of Tucker, Georgia. Welcome, Shannon!

Kevin Cain, MD, took on the role of TB/HIV Team Lead in the International Research and Programs Branch (IRPB) effective April 7, 2008. Kevin also assumed the role of the primary supervisor for one of IRPB’s first year EIS officers, Rinn Song. Kevin joined the branch as an EIS officer on July 1, 2004. After completing EIS in 2006, Kevin remained with IRPB as a medical officer. Kevin has been the project officer for a variety of TB epidemiologic research and program-building efforts in Southeast Asia, Ethiopia, Botswana, and Latvia, mostly related to TB/HIV and drug-resistant TB. He served as a temporary advisor to the World Health Organization for the development of a revised regional framework for TB/HIV in the Western Pacific Region. Kevin has also led epidemiologic research on TB among foreign-born persons in the United States. Before joining CDC, he earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois, where he studied chemistry and economics. He earned an MD degree from the University of Pennsylvania and completed an internal medicine residency at the University of Michigan.

Ken Castro, MD, Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS, Director, DTBE, NCHHSTP, CCID, was selected as this year’s recipient of the Juan Carlos Finlay Award at the USPHS meeting in Tucson, Arizona. This Commissioned Corps award was originally established by the Hispanic Officers Steering Committee (HOSteC), predecessor to the Hispanic Officers Advisory Committee (HOAC). The award honors individuals, organizations, or groups who, through work performance and other activities, have demonstrated leadership in the development of programs, methods, or services that improve access to and/or health services for Hispanics and other minorities.

Alyssa Finlay, MD, who served as the TB/HIV team lead in the International Research and Programs Branch (IRPB), left DTBE in June for a position with the CDC Malaria Branch. Board certified in internal medicine, Alyssa completed a year of chief residency combined with a general medicine fellowship at Bellevue Hospital (New York University) in New York City. During her clinical training, Alyssa spent significant time working with immigrants in New York. Her work included providing primary care for refugees with histories of torture, and conducting cancer screening research in collaboration with local Chinese-American community-based organizations. Alyssa joined DTBE in July 2003 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer (2003–2005). At CDC, Alyssa continued to pursue her interest in the medical and public health consequences of social inequality. She and Timothy Holtz organized and taught a second-year medical student elective entitled "Social Medicine, Human Rights, and the Physician" at Emory University in 2005–2006. (The course continues to be held at Emory for second-year students with Timothy as the chief faculty). While in DTBE, Alyssa worked on several projects, including the Botswana and Russia Annual Risk of TB Infection (ARTI) studies, the South Africa TB treatment default study, and the TB/HIV study in Rwanda, and served as a technical expert in developing the content for a TB/HIV surveillance training manual. She was the division representative for the NCHHSTP Perinatal Working Group, and she also served as an EIS supervisor. In 2007, Alyssa was selected as the IRPB TB/HIV Team Lead. Alyssa has now taken on a new array of responsibilities as the CDC Resident Advisor for the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) in Madagascar. We wish her well in her new position.

Victoria M. Gammino, PhD, MPH, an epidemiologist in the International Research and Programs Branch (IRPB), is leaving DTBE to join the Global Immunization Division (GID) in the Vaccine-Preventable Disease Eradication & Elimination Branch as an epidemiologist. She has been on a temporary detail with GID; her move becomes permanent in October. During her 6 years with IRPB, Victoria conducted TB outbreak investigations in Maine, Georgia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. She conducted a study of MDR TB treatment monitoring and outcomes in DOTS-Plus pilot projects, and participated in TB operations research and training courses in Russia, Malawi, and Botswana. As a technical lead for Botswana, she supported several of the Division’s PEPFAR-funded TB/HIV programmatic activities there, including evaluations of routine HIV testing in TB patients and the National Isoniazid Preventive Therapy Programme. She collaborated with the Botswana National TB Programme and BOTUSA staff to revise the National TB Treatment Guidelines manual, and to design and implement management information systems for TB laboratory data and clinical management of MDR TB patients. She was also a co-investigator of the fourth national TB drug-resistance survey. Victoria received her MPH in epidemiology from Tulane University School of Public Health in 1990. Following her degree, she worked for several American foundations designing and evaluating domestic and international health programs. She received her PhD in International Health from Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health in 2001, where she received the Harry D. Kruse Award for Nutrition Research. We wish Victoria all the best in her new position.

Denise Garrett, MD, MS, has been selected as a CDC Senior Service Fellow, the Project Officer of TBESC, and the Team Lead of the Epidemiology Team of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch (SEOIB). Denise joined CDC in 1993 as a researcher in the Division of Parasitic Diseases (DPD), and in 1996 became an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer with the Division of Healthcare and Quality Promotion (DHQP). Following EIS, she was hired as a Medical Epidemiologist by DHQP, where she coordinated and implemented several studies on TB among health care workers. In 2000, she joined the Division of International Health (DIH), Epidemiology Program Office (EPO), as a CDC consultant for the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) in Brazil. From 2002 to July 2007, she worked as a CDC/U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) consultant to the Brazilian National TB Program (NTP). Her responsibilities included providing epidemiologic advice, consultation, and training in TB; implementing and strengthening TB control; and conducting operational research on the diagnosis, treatment, and management of TB, TB/HIV, and MDR TB in Brazil. From August 2007 to July 2008, Denise worked as a Westat contractor on various TB Epidemiologic Studies Consortium (TBESC) activities such as Task Order 18 and numerous TBESC committees, and has been assisting in moving forward the most recent Semi-annual TBESC Advisory Review (STAR) process (this is the process whereby DTBE makes decisions on new TBESC proposals that have been submitted for funding and implementation). She was selected for her new responsibilities on July 28.

Denise Hartline, MT(ASCP), joined the Reference Laboratory Team in DTBE's Mycobacteriology Laboratory Branch on August 4, 2008. Denise is an ASCP board-certified Medical Technologist. From 2004 to 2008, she worked at the Georgia Public Health Laboratory in the Mycobacteriology Section as an assistant manager/clinical laboratory associate. Prior to 2004 she worked for 9 years in the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory at Emory University Hospital. With her 13 years of clinical laboratory experience, Denise brings a wealth of knowledge in mycobacteriology laboratory methods, training, and CLIA guidelines and standards. Denise will be working as part of the Reference Laboratory Team to provide the core laboratory services, drug susceptibility testing, and identification of mycobacteria to U.S. public health laboratories and in support of DTBE special studies and outbreak investigations.

Timothy Holtz, MD, has accepted the position of Team Leader for the Program Strengthening and Epidemiology (PSE) Team (previously the Epidemiology and Evaluation Team) in the International Research and Programs Branch (IRPB). Tim entered CDC as an EIS officer in 1999, serving as a medical officer assigned to the malaria epidemiology branch. He completed his preventive medicine residency through CDC, during which time he was intensely involved with the CDC response to the World Trade Center Disaster and anthrax attacks in 2001. He joined IRPB in 2002 and has worked in southern Africa, Eastern Europe, and South America on multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB control and TB/HIV program capacity building. Tim has served as a consultant to the World Health Organization, and currently is CDC’s representative to the STOP TB Partnership’s Green Light Committee (GLC), Tim also serves as an adjunct assistant professor of global health at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. He co-teaches a TB course and a health and human rights course, as well as an elective in human rights and social medicine at the Emory School of Medicine. Tim trained in primary care medicine at Harvard University/Cambridge Hospital, Cambridge, MA, after which he worked with the Tibetan Government-in-exile in the Indian Himalayas while on a Health and Human Rights fellowship from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He is board certified in internal medicine and preventive medicine, and in 2003 was elected a Fellow in the American College of Physicians. Tim is a founding member of Doctors for Global Health, a nongovernmental organization that runs health and human rights programs in Central America, South America, and Africa. He is also one of the founding members of the Health and Human Rights Workgroup at CDC in 2003.

Carla Jeffries, MPH, joined DTBE’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch in March 2008 as a Scientific Data Analyst on the Surveillance Team, through a contract with Northrop Grumman. Carla received her MPH degree from Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and came to DTBE after spending several years as environmental epidemiologist at the DeKalb County Health Department, Atlanta, GA. Her work at the local health department included outbreak response, surveillance, research, and data analysis and reporting over a wide spectrum of local health issues such as foodborne, waterborne, and vector-borne diseases; lead poisoning, radon, mold, and other indoor air quality problems; occupational health fatality investigation; and built environment programs. Some interesting highlights from her time at DeKalb County included working closely with DeKalb County’s refugee community on an EPA grant designed to create partnerships for the purpose of finding solutions to the release of toxic pollutants and minimizing community exposures, as well as a research project to identify built environment risks to DeKalb County’s senior citizen population. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Georgia Bikes!, a statewide bicycling advocacy association.

Kawi Mailutha, MPA, has joined DTBE in the International Research and Programs Branch (IRPB) as an Emerging Leader Fellow. Kawi completed her master's degree in public administration from Baruch College, and received her BA degree in social work from Warren Wilson College. Starting in 2000, Kawi provided support to Grace Medical Center (GMC), a multiservice health care clinic in Kenya. Her involvement included providing program services support in Kenya and providing part-time technical assistance in New York City. In Kenya, she worked with a team to organize outreach strategies to promote and deliver preventive health programs. Kawi assisted in providing home care services, treatment, and counseling to the surrounding communities in Kitengela. Her services focused on maternal-child health, HIV, TB, malaria, and safe water projects. Kawi initiated partnerships with the Kajiando District Office, local churches, and nongovernmental organizations to obtain food, vitamins, medications, bed nets, immunizations, and family planning kits for GMC. In 2005, she received a graduate fellowship from the National Urban Fellows program to work at Harlem Hospital Center in New York City. There, she spearheaded the creation of a multidisciplinary Geriatric Center, working with other professionals to develop a suite of services, a strategic plan, and an operating budget. Kawi will be working on various projects in IRPB, which will include teaching an operational research course and developing a new staff orientation policies and procedures manual for the branch.

Lakshmy Menon, MPH, joined FSEB on August 4 for a 1-year Association of Schools of Public Health fellowship; she will be working with the Program Evaluation Team. Lakshmy received a bachelors of science degree in biology from Portland State University, and recently graduated with a masters degree in public health with a concentration in infectious diseases from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. While in graduate school, Lakshmy worked as an intern in the International Affairs Department of the American Cancer Society (ACS). While there, she created a department-wide monitoring and evaluation tool to assess the ACS’ progress towards lowering global cancer morbidity and mortality. She also adapted materials for the Employer Initiative Program in India to institute workplace solutions to health issues, including programs to advocate lifestyle change, better nutrition, and proper exercise. Welcome, Lakshmy!

Mark Miner joined DTBE headquarters staff in Atlanta on July 6, 2008, as a Program Consultant after 17 years of field work experience, including 15 years in TB control. Mark began his career with CDC in 2002 as a Program Manager assigned to the Baltimore City TB Program. His duties included managing the local TB budget, writing cooperative agreements and contracts, developing local TB policy, directing personnel activities, overseeing surveillance issues, and monitoring the TB clinic patient care and contact investigation issues. In 2005, Mark was promoted to Sr. Public Health Advisor and was assigned to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s TB Division. While assisting the State TB Controller, his duties consisted of managing the day-to-day operations of the program, including conducting surveillance activities, developing guidelines, evaluating performance measures, writing cooperative agreement reports, and monitoring budgets. Mark has had many temporary duty assignments during his tenure at CDC, including TB outbreak investigations in Baltimore, New Orleans, and Miami, as well as programmatic assignments in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Louisiana. From 1993 to 2002, Mark worked as a Public Health Representative with the New York State Department of Health TB Bureau. His duties included monitoring TB cases and suspects for a 14-county region in Central New York. This involved field visits to various county health departments and state correctional facilities, where he reviewed completion of morbidity reports, consulted with prison and county clinical and administrative staff, conducted contact investigations, and monitored targeted testing activities. Prior to working with the New York State Department of Health, Mark worked as a Public Health Sanitarian for the health departments in Oneida and Madison counties in Central New York.

Roque Miramontes, PA-C, MPH, Lieutenant, U.S. Public Health Service, joined the Outbreak Investigations Team of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch, DTBE, on July 1. Roque joined CDC in 2006 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer with the Division of Foodborne and Mycotic Disease in the National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases. His investigations during EIS were varied and included vaccinia virus, influenza, and cryptococcus in the United States, histoplasmosis in Guatemala, and cryptococcus in Mozambique. Before EIS, Roque, a physician assistant, worked as the sole primary care provider in rural community health centers in Montana and California. Roque first worked with DTBE in an Epi-Aid response to an MDR TB outbreak in Tennessee in the summer of 2007, and the Outbreak Investigations Team is excited about welcoming him back as a staff epidemiologist with DTBE.

Kiren Mitruka, MD, joined the Outbreak Investigations Team of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch on July 7. Board-certified in both internal medicine and infectious diseases, Kiren completed her residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital and fellowship at New York Presbyterian-Cornell Medical Center. She then worked as the assistant director of the Office of Epidemiology and Disease Control in Miami-Dade County while also serving as a clinician in the health department’s TB clinic. Kiren began work for CDC in 2005 as the Quarantine Medical Officer at the CDC Miami Quarantine Station, responding to illnesses and items of potential public health importance involving incoming international airplanes and ships. She also served as the Maritime Team Lead for CDC’s 20 quarantine stations; in that role, she worked with DTBE on guidelines for TB contact investigations on cruise and cargo ships. The Outbreak Investigation Team welcomes Kiren, who will be serving as a medical officer and epidemiologist with DTBE.

Patrick Moonan, DrPH, MPH, was promoted to Lead of the newly created Molecular Epidemiology Activity within the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch. Patrick began working in TB control in 1998 as a contact investigator for the Tarrant County Public Health Department in Fort Worth, Texas. From 2001 to 2005, he was the TBESC program coordinator and research epidemiologist for the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center under the mentorship of Dr. Stephen Weis. In the summer of 2005, he joined DTBE as an epidemiologist with the Outbreak Investigations Team and was charged with developing and expanding the implementation of TB genotyping in the United States. Under his leadership, the proportion of isolates voluntarily submitted for genotyping per year increased by 95% and now includes isolates from every state in the country. He is also the main architect for designing and developing the forthcoming TB Genotyping Information Management System (scheduled to be released in the winter of 2009). His vision has led to the development of statistical models for detecting potential outbreaks using the National TB Genotyping Service (NTGS) database. Patrick continues to be an active member of TBESC. He is the principle investigator of two funded studies (Task Order 8: "An Analysis of Molecular Epidemiology of Multidrug-resistant M. tuberculosis in the United States," and Task Order 26: "Improving the Utilization and Integration of TB Genotyping into Routine TB Program Practice: Analyzing the Impact Through Public Health Interventions") and co-principle investigator for Task Order 28: "Treatment Practices, Outcomes, and Cost of Multidrug-resistant (MDR TB) and Extensively Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (XDR TB) in the United States." As a member of the Outbreak Investigations Team, he provided field-based epidemiologic assistance in Kosciusko County, IN; in York County, SC; in Manhattan, NY, for the Cluster-333 investigation; and in the international traveler incident of 2006. Patrick has a doctorate degree, as well as a master of public health degree with a concentration in epidemiology, from the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center. He also holds a BA degree in sociology from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Trang N. Nguyen, MPH, CHES, has joined DTBE in the Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch (CEBSB) for a 1-year fellowship through the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH). Trang is from Los Angeles, California. She received her undergraduate degree from San Francisco State University and her MPH degree in Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences from San Diego State University (SDSU). Her master’s thesis examined the relationship between religiosity and psychosocial correlates of physical activity among churchgoing Latinas living in a border region of San Diego County, California. She will present her thesis findings at the American Public Health Association (APHA) annual meeting this fall. While enrolled at SDSU, she served internships with the school’s Research Foundation, a community-based hospital, and Planned Parenthood, in addition to completing an infectious disease field studies course in Kingston, Jamaica. She also served as vice president of her graduate school’s Director’s Student Advisory Council and coordinated the school’s 2008 Public Health Week. Prior to entering her graduate studies, Trang was a senior asthma case manager with the American Lung Association, working on a CDC-funded research project to reduce asthma morbidity among adolescents living in Oakland, California. She also spent a number of years volunteering as an HIV testing counselor. Trang’s public health interests include health communications, children’s health, community-based research, and infectious diseases. Welcome, Trang!

Mildred Perez, MPH, has accepted the Public Health Advisor position in Trenton, NJ. She started in her new position on August 14. Mildred transferred there from her previous position as Special Projects Coordinator in St. Louis, Missouri, where she had been since 2005. She started her career with CDC as a Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS) with the Division of STD Prevention (DSTDP) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after which she transferred to Washington, DC. She then transferred to the Department of Health and Hospitals in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she remained for 12 years. In 2005, Mildred joined DTBE when she transferred from New Orleans to her position in St. Louis, Missouri. Along with her regular DIS duties, she has worked as a community liaison and has been involved in different projects including the promotion of clinical services among the Hispanic population using mass media such as radio and TV; she also established a partnership with the local school board to start STD education among high school students. She has participated in a national HIV project to evaluate HIV service networks and the provision of STD services within them. Mildred graduated in May 2004 from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, where she received a master of public health degree with a concentration in Community Health Sciences.

Lee Ann Ramsey joined SEOIB in July 2008 as the branch’s new Senior Public Health Analyst. Lee Ann began her career at CDC in 1987 while attending Mercer University Atlanta at night, working in the Office of Public Affairs, the National Center for Infectious Diseases, and the National Center for Prevention Services; she left CDC for 1 year to finish college at Mercer University Macon. Graduating in 1991 with a degree in Resource Management, she returned to CDC and was assigned to the STD/HIV program of the Broward County Public Health Unit in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as a Public Health Advisor with the National Center for Prevention Services (now NCHHSTP). In 1993, she was transferred to Charlotte, North Carolina, where she continued working in STD/HIV prevention until 1997. During that time, she also served on a long-term detail in Baltimore, Maryland, where she worked on syphilis and HIV prevention. In 1997, Lee Ann earned a graduate certificate in Public Health Policy, Program Planning, and Evaluation from the University of Washington at Seattle before becoming a Policy Analyst for the National Immunization Program. In 2000, she pursued a personal interest by accepting a Public Health Analyst position with the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. Lee Ann joined the Arthritis Program of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in January 2003. In that position she was Team Lead for the Partnership and Program Development Team, served as a project officer for state-based arthritis programs and the National Arthritis Foundation, and was a technical monitor for numerous health communications contracts. She will be serving as Deputy Branch Chief of SEOIB.

Dan Ruggerio, MHSA, was selected as the new Team Leader for the Field Operations Team I in the Field Services and Evaluation Branch. Dan started his career in 1972 as a public health advisor for the New York City Health Department, first in the STD Program and later as a clinic manager in the TB Control program. During 1980-1993, he was the Program Management Officer for the NYC Bureau of Tuberculosis Control. In June of 1993, he joined CDC and was assigned to the Missouri State Department of Health as Bureau Chief for TB Control Program. During recent years, Dan has served as the lead PHA/program consultant for the northeastern states (New York State, New York City, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire, plus Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands). He also served as Project Officer for the Regional Training and Medical Consultation Centers (RTMCCs) and CDC liaison with the National TB Controllers Association (NTCA). Dan has a master’s degree in Health Services Administration and more than 30 years of experience in TB control and public health.

Sarah Segerlind, MPH, has joined DTBE in the Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch (CEBSB) for a 1-year fellowship through the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH). Sarah is originally from Portland, Michigan, a small, quiet town located in the center of the state. After graduating from high school, she relocated to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to attend the University of Michigan. As an undergraduate, Sarah majored in biological anthropology and environmental studies. In preparation for her graduate studies in public health, she worked with the Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Chronic Disease, for two summers during college. After graduating with a B.S. degree in 2006, she remained at the University of Michigan and attended the School of Public Health to pursue personal and professional interests in community health education, health disparities, rural/migrant health, global health, and health and human rights. Last summer she served in an internship with Migrant Health Promotion, a small nonprofit organization that works with migrant farm workers and their families. While there she created fact sheets and a training manual chapter on emergency preparedness. Welcome, Sarah!

Allison Taylor, MPH, left the International Research and Programs Branch (IRPB) on August 31 to start a PhD program in the Department of Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Ali joined IRPB as a CDC Foundation Fellow in 2005 after finishing her MPH at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health. While she was in IRPB, Ali was responsible for field work and data quality assurance for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation–funded "Rapid Diagnosis of MDR TB" project in Lima, Peru, in collaboration with Harvard and Peruvian partners. Later, Ali became an ORISE Fellow, with support from USAID, and worked on two large multinational epidemiological studies on MDR TB. In the first, she worked closely with Victoria Gammino, PhD, in combining and analyzing individual data from the first five WHO-approved DOTS-Plus pilot projects. In the second, she coordinated a prospective eight-country study known as the "Preserving Effective TB Treatment Study" (PETTS). She also analyzed the U.S national TB surveillance data to provide medical practitioners with more solid evidence for choosing appropriate treatment for foreign-born persons in the U.S. with active TB and LTBI. Ali was characteristically cheerful, efficient, competent, quiet, extremely helpful, and very sharp. We will miss Ali, and we wish her all the best in her doctoral program at JHU.

Vidya Venkataramanan, MPH, has joined DTBE in the Field Services and Evaluation Branch (FSEB) for a 1-year fellowship through the Association of Schools of Public Health. Originally from Mumbai, India, Vidya grew up in Southeast Asia and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, for high school. She graduated from Boston University with a BA degree in International Development and an MPH degree in International Health. Between her undergraduate and graduate studies, Vidya interned with Solidarity and Action against the HIV Infection in India, the Association for Leprosy Education, Rehabilitation & Treatment in India, the American Red Cross Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and with John Snow, Inc. in Boston, MA. Her areas of interest include infectious diseases and ecological sanitation infrastructure in developing countries. She will be working with the Program Evaluation Team in FSEB, and looks forward to a great year. Welcome, Vidya!

Ryan Wallace of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch (SEOIB) has left DTBE and CDC. He joined SEOIB as a student researcher 3 years ago and quickly became an integral part of the Surveillance Team. He will be greatly missed for his ability to take on challenging projects, his tireless support of other members of the team and branch, and his great sense of humor. Ryan will take on new challenges as he matriculates this fall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine; after he obtains his DVM, he hopes to return to CDC in the EIS program. Ryan's last day in the office was Aug. 6. Good luck, Ryan!

Sara Whitehead, MD, MPH, has joined DTBE as a Medical Officer in the International Research and Programs Branch. Sara has been responsible for public health programs at the local, state, federal, and international levels, covering a wide spectrum of public health practice including surveillance, outbreak management, prevention program development and implementation, and epidemiologic research. From 1995 to 2000, she worked at the front lines of direct public health implementation and disease control in remote northern tribal communities as a Medical Health Officer in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Canada. She supervised the local TB control program during this time. During 2000–2003, Sara was a trainee in field epidemiology (Epidemic Intelligence Service) and public health management and leadership (Preventive Medicine Residency) at CDC. As an EIS officer, she was assigned to the Division of Reproductive Health, where she evaluated and revised national surveillance systems, conducted outbreak investigations, and collaborated on a large national health survey. Since 2003, Sara has worked in Thailand conducting HIV prevention research and providing technical consultation on HIV prevention projects. As a principal investigator for clinical trials, she has coordinated and collaborated with teams of Thai and U.S. scientists on all aspects of study preparation and analysis. In her role as a consultant to GAP-Thailand projects related to STD, she has worked with Thai Ministry of Health colleagues and other partner organizations to identify gaps in current systems and develop programs to address these gaps. Sara completed her medical training in Canada at McMaster University and the Northeastern Ontario Family Medicine Residency program, followed by an MPH at Johns Hopkins. Sara will be assigned as the Regional Advisor for TB Elimination and Chief of the TB Program at the U.S. CDC Southeast Asia Regional Office in Bangkok, Thailand. She will oversee a diverse portfolio of public health programs and research in Southeast Asia. Programmatic activities that she will lead include strengthening screening, diagnosis, and treatment of TB in HIV-infected patients; surveillance and control of multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB; and expanding laboratory capacity in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos. Major research activities include evaluation of new tools for rapid diagnosis of TB and MDR TB, validation of algorithms for TB screening in HIV-infected patients, and epidemiologic evaluations of surveillance and program data.

William C. (Kit) Whitworth, BS, MPH, joined DTBE as an epidemiologist effective September 28, 2008. He is working on Dr. Jerry Mazurek’s diagnostics team in the Clinical and Health Systems Research Branch (CHSRB). Kit earned a BS degree in biology from Georgia State University and an MPH degree in epidemiology from Emory University. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his new position. His previous positions included working as a lab assistant for Upjohn and as a lab technician for Carr-Scarborough Microbiologicals. Kit has held several research positions; these include arthritis researcher for Emory University, 1990–2003, research specialist for Emory University’s Division of Rheumatology, 2003–2005, and research associate for Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, 2005–2006. In 2007 he began working as a clinical data manager for CHSRB’s TB Trials Consortium, and most recently has worked on TBESC Task Order 2. We welcome Kit to his new position and wish him the very best.

 

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