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TB Notes Newsletter

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No. 3, 2010

PERSONNEL NOTES

Warren Benson, Juanita Elder, Pat Farah, Brenda Furr, and Gloria Gambale, who comprise the DTBE Resource Management Team, were the recipients of the Director’s Recognition Award for the 3rd Quarter in 2010.  Although the work and efforts of these staff members is unlikely to be presented at a national or international meeting or through an abstract or in a scientific or public health journal article, it would be next to impossible for other DTBE staff to attend these meetings or have the data, staff, or resources to do the programmatic/research work without them.  There are no “statistically significant” indicators or outcome measures to demonstrate their efficiency and productivity; however, through their work, over 99.9% of a $145+ million budget gets spent appropriately each fiscal year through a wide variety of mechanisms, and 209 FTEs are accounted for. This work gets done by the Resource team working closely with -- and depending upon a veritable alphabet soup of -- organizations across the agency: DTBE staff in all Branches and the OD, NCHHSTP OD, PGO, FMO, Building and Facilities Office, AHRC, SBU, MASO, MISO, ITSO, REIT management, and an even larger array of data systems, forms, and processes/procedures that are meant to facilitate but often hinder their work.

The work of the Resource Management Team essentially touches every aspect of our Division’s work, and most of the time it takes place behind the scenes.  As with most staff in the agency who have primarily administrative responsibilities, their work is too often taken for granted and tends to be noticed during the rare occasion when something goes wrong.  More specifically, the accomplishments of this Team included the FY 2010 Cooperative Agreement Awards made for 68 recipients nationwide, totaling over $84 million ahead of the PGO timeline; a major office renovation completed, which created a “net gain” of nine new work spaces at minimal cost involving significant coordination; follow-up and weekend oversight of installation by project lead; and accounting for 100% of DTBE property inventory 2 weeks ahead of established deadline. Of note, much of this work was done while staff were teleworking, and while a project lead was recovering from surgery! Congratulations to the DTBE Resource Management Team for being deserving of this recognition.

Rosanna Boyd, MPH, has joined IRPB. She is a Public Health Advisor and will be based in Gaborone, Botswana, with the HIV/TB Research Division of BOTUSA for 2 years. Rosanna began her public health career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi, where she focused on HIV prevention, capacity building, gender equality, and health education. After serving in the Peace Corps, she worked as an infectious disease epidemiologist for the state health department in Georgia, conducting surveillance activities, investigating and responding to disease outbreaks, and training other public health workers.  Rosanna came to CDC in 2008 to work as a Public Health Advisor / Project Officer for the National Center for immunizations and Respiratory Disease / Immunization Services Division. During this time, she worked closely with state health department grantees providing technical and management assistance. Rosanna’s experience in Malawi inspired her to pursue a career in international public health, and her subsequent experiences have provided a skill set that will be useful in her new position. She is very excited to have the opportunity to live and work in Africa again.

Jesse Bradley, Maria Fraire, and Sharon McAleer, the DTBE Web Team, won the August NCHHSTP Director’s Recognition Award for their outstanding contributions in migrating the DTBE website into the new CDC web template. The DTBE website is a vital communication tool that receives over five million page views each year. Migrating the DTBE website into the new template was a monumental undertaking. At the time of the migration, the DTBE website was the largest division site at CDC to move into the new template. DTBE was also the first division in NCHHSTP to move into the new template. In all, the Web Team migrated over 4,000 web pages, including PDF files and images. For their exceptional work, the DTBE Web Team won the NCHHSTP Director’s Recognition Award. Congratulations to the Web Team!

Terry Chorba, MD, DSc, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, has been selected as Chief of the Field Services and Evaluation Branch. Terry received his medical degree from SUNY at Buffalo School of Medicine, his MPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his MPA from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.  A Navy veteran, Terry came to CDC in 1983 as an EIS Officer with the Division of Host Factors in the Center for Infectious Diseases, where he worked on AIDS surveillance for the U.S. hemophilia population during the earliest phases of the HIV epidemic. In 1986, he received the Alexander Langmuir prize for work elucidating the hypothesis that B19 infection caused erythema infectiosum (a common childhood rash) and red cell aplasia (in persons with chronic hemolytic anemias).  From 1985 to 1987, he was assigned by the Epidemiology Program Office (EPO) to the State Health Department in North Carolina.  From 1987 to 1995, he worked in EPO and in the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

From 1995 to 1999, Terry established CDC’s Central Asian Office in Kazakhstan, coordinating technical assistance regarding diphtheria, polio, hepatitis, tuberculosis, malaria, typhoid, acute respiratory illnesses, and diarrheal diseases in five former Soviet republics; established two regional poliovirus laboratories; and facilitated introduction of directly observed short-course therapy (DOTS) for tuberculosis and coordinated the establishment of a national tuberculosis reference laboratory in Kazakhstan.  From 1999 to 2001, he was Director of NCHSTP’s research field station in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (Projet Retro-CI), with 180 persons on active research teams for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of HIV, STDs, and TB.  Despite four coup d’etat attempts, one successful coup d’etat, and multiple curfews, this site became a pace-setter in the Global AIDS Program, expanding HIV testing and care to thousands of patients. In 2001, he was named Researcher of the Year by the National Hemophilia Foundation for continued work on many aspects of HIV infection among persons with hemophilia. From 2002 to 2004 with the Division of STD Prevention, he developed and obtained funding for an evaluation of health care providers’ adherence to national guidelines for provision of STD and hepatitis services to HIV-infected men who have sex with men, a portion of the results of which has just been published.

From 2004 through 2006, Terry served as NCHHSTP’s Associate Director for Science (ADS).  In 2006, he left CDC to be a Vice-President at MACRO International, Inc., working on its Global AIDS Program Monitoring and Evaluation Capacity Building Team supporting the U.S. global AIDS partners.  He returned to his position as Associate Director for Science in NCHHSTP in 2007.  Since 2002, Terry has also served as a staff physician for one afternoon per week in the TB Clinic of the Fulton County Department where he manages the clinical care of patients with TB exposure, infection, and disease.  In June, he was awarded a Doctor of Science degree by one of his alma maters, Oxford University, in recognition of career contributions to public health.

Kendra M. Cuffe, MPH, has joined the Program Evaluation Team of FSEB as an ASPH (Association of Schools of Public Health) Fellow. She began her public health career volunteering at the local HIV/AIDS Resource Center while attending the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her volunteer experience inspired her to pursue a career in public health with a focus on infectious disease in vulnerable populations; this spring she received her MPH degree in epidemiology from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. While there she worked with the Louisiana Office of Public Health as an evaluator for the Louisiana Refugee Health Screening program. After concluding this evaluation project, she made several recommendations that included screening child refugees for lead poisoning and providing refugees with presumptive treatment for intestinal parasites. She also became involved in the Louisiana HIV/AIDS Department wellness center projects where she served as an analyst as well as database manager and data analyst. In addition to working with the health department, Kendra has been involved in several community service activities through her position as a fundraising co-chair for the Society of Young Black Public Health Professionals. As a result of working with the refugee program in Louisiana, she became aware of the prevalence of TB in immigrant and refugee populations. She plans on utilizing her acquired skills in order to continue working on and contributing to TB and other immigrant and refugee health issues.

Derrick D. Felix, Public Health Advisor (PHA) assigned to Hawaii, has been selected as the Deputy TB Branch Chief for the State of Hawaii, effective May 23, 2010.  In this new assignment, he assists in carrying out administrative, epidemiologic, and regional TB coordination activities for the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI).  Some of the duties and responsibilities of this management-level position include working with staff at all levels in the State and local TB programs and developing policies and procedures.

Derrick has been assigned to the Hawaii State TB Control Program in Honolulu, Hawaii, since November 2005.  He has provided oversight for the State of Hawaii CDC Cooperative Agreement for TB, monitored the federal budget, and authored applications, progress reports, and correspondence to CDC. He implemented and facilitated monthly TB case conferences on Oahu and the Neighbor Islands.  Derrick provided leadership and direction on several large-scale TB contact investigations.  He spearheaded the transition from TIMS to eRVCT for reporting Hawaii TB cases to CDC.  He served as the TB PEN Focal Point and the TB ETN Focal Point for Hawaii from 2005 to 2008.  In addition, Hawaii has been without a TB Controller since January 2009, which has placed increased demand on Derrick‘s role in order for programmatic progress to be sustained.

From September 2004 to November 2005, Derrick was assigned to the Allen County Department of Health TB Control Program in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In that assignment he provided leadership, guidance, and direct assistance in the control of a TB outbreak involving a cluster of cases in the local African-American community.  He instituted directly observed therapy as the standard of care for the treatment of all TB cases and contacts, and implemented and facilitated monthly TB case conferences.

Derrick began his CDC career with DTBE in April 2003; his first assignment was with the Chicago TB Control Program in Chicago, where he provided case management of TB patients and their contacts to ensure successful evaluation and treatment outcomes, provided directly observed therapy, conducted contact investigations, conducted pre- and post-test HIV counseling, and administered the Orasure HIV test.

During his career with DTBE, Derrick participated in TDY assignments in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (October 2009); Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for a 3-week Epi-Aid investigation post-Katrina (September 2005); Fort Wayne, Indiana (May 2004); Augusta, Maine (February 2004); and Portland, Maine (October 2003). Before Derrick began his CDC career he worked for the Florida Department of Health as a TB Outreach Worker for the Palm Beach County TB Control Program in Delray Beach, Florida.

Kashef Ijaz, MD, who has been on an extended temporary assignment at CDC’s Global Disease Detection Program (GDD) in the new Center for Global Health (CGH), was recently selected as the Senior Regional Advisor for Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP) in Egypt. He will be stationed at the GDD Center at the Navy Army Medical Research Unit-3 (NAMRU-3) in Cairo. In addition to Egypt, he will be responsible for FELTP activities for countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. During the past few months, Kashef has played a key role on the leadership team to establish the new CGH, including his role in leading the GDD Branch, where he helped establish the GDD Center in India and initiated the selection process for the new GDD Center site (likely to be either in Southern Africa or South America). In his new role, Kashef will work under Dr. Pattie Simone, another esteemed DTBE colleague.

Kashef joined DTBE in January 2002 as a medical epidemiologist, and shortly afterwards was selected to lead the Outbreak Investigations Team in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Outbreak Investigations Branch. During his tenure as the Chief for the Outbreak Investigations Team, he trained numerous EIS officers and also helped turn the tide for establishing trust and collaborative relationships with the state and local health departments. This resulted in numerous requests for assistance from CDC to help with outbreak investigations as well as several joint peer-reviewed publications with the state and local health departments. Due to his efforts in training EIS officers, in April 2006 the EIS alumni association presented him with the Philip S. Brachman Award. In 2007, Kashef was selected to lead the Field Services and Evaluation Branch. During his tenure as FSEB chief, he established trust and collaboration with state and local partners as well as branches within the division. Some of his major accomplishments were establishing a Program Evaluation Network, updating the DTBE funding formula in collaboration with the National TB Controllers Association, establishing an outbreak roster for field staff responding to programmatic aspects of outbreaks, and highlighting the need for collaboration and coordination of activities between the Division of Diabetes Translation and DTBE in the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands.

This news is bittersweet in that Kashef will be missed by all of us in DTBE, but we are delighted to see that he is able to pursue his interest in global health. He will no doubt contribute to the strengthening of GDD activities and facilitate future opportunities for collaboration with DTBE. We wish Kashef and his family the very best in his overseas CDC assignment.

LCDR Roque Miramontes, PA-C, MPH, US Public Health Service, has been selected to serve as the Team Lead for the Surveillance Team in SEOIB. He replaces Valerie Robison, who was TB Surveillance Lead from 2005 to December 2009, and Lori Armstrong, who was Acting Surveillance Team Lead from December 2009 to present.

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 included vaccinia virus, influenza, and cryptococcosis in the United States, histoplasmosis in Guatemala, and cryptococcosis in Mozambique. Before EIS, Roque, a physician assistant, worked as the sole primary care provider in rural community health centers in California and Montana.  As the Clinical Director for an 80-employee community health center in rural Montana, he performed data analysis of locally collected disease surveillance data, led a two-county health assessment done in partnership with local agencies and public health departments, and assisted various county agencies in acquiring funds for improvement of health services.

Since joining SEOIB/DTBE in July 2008, Roque has served as an epidemiologist on the Outbreak Investigations Team.  In that capacity, Roque regularly served as team lead researcher or supervisor during on-site epidemiologic investigations in domestic and international settings, including an outbreak of MDR TB, a TB outbreak among Guatemalan factory workers, a TB outbreak among drug users, an investigation of TB in a van driver who transported vulnerable patients, and an investigation of a large number of TST conversions among hospital workers.

Recently, Roque deployed to Haiti within days of the earthquake to establish post-disaster disease surveillance and deployed to Peru in partnership with the Peruvian MOH to provide primary care to the indigenous populations along the Amazon River.

Roque has contributed to molecular epidemiology activities to launch TB-GIMS, published influential scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, supervised interns, and presented scientific findings at numerous conferences.  His extensive leadership and research experience have provided him with a broad public health foundation that will serve him well in his new role as Team Lead of the Surveillance Team, where he will oversee national TB surveillance activities.

LCDR Miramontes received his BA degree in Biology and his masters degree in Physician Assistant Practice from the University of Southern California and his Masters in Public Health from the University of Washington. We congratulate Roque on his new position!

Lauren Polansky, MPH, has joined FSEB and the Program Evaluation Team as an ASPH (Association of Schools of Public Health) Fellow. Her work as a public health professional has focused on designing and implementing evaluation research. Over the past 2 years this focus has taken her to Bolivia, to formally evaluate a nutrition rehabilitation center’s effectiveness in improving weight and height deficits in children; to the Mesoamerican region, to develop a regional plan for increased vaccine coverage in the poorest and most disparate populations via the Mesoamerican Health Initiative; and to Honduras, to evaluate the impact of technological upgrades in the public hospital system. She has collaborated with government and nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, health initiatives, and private organizations in developing practical study designs and action plans that provide results central to program management and achievement. It’s her hope that building evaluation capacity and engaging stakeholders in the evaluation process will lead to better decision-making in public health and to efforts that more realistically and effectively meet needs. In 2009 Lauren was awarded an MPH degree in Global Health from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health.

Philip Ricks, MD, has left DTBE/IRPB. Philip is taking on a new challenge as an Epidemiologist with the Surveillance Branch of the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP). Philip joined the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Class of 2008 and was assigned to the DTBE International Research and Programs Branch.  During his tenure in the branch, Philip conducted research on TB surveillance, TB and HIV treatment adherence, and MDR TB in Southern Africa.  He also conducted an Operations Research training course in the Philippines, and conducted research on H1N1 testing among American Indians and TB genotyping among foreign-born persons.  Philip was also responsible for leading TB outbreak investigations.  He also presented at various international and national conferences and meetings on his work during the past 2 years.

While we are saddened to see Philip leave DTBE, we are pleased that he is able to pursue other career interests and apply his skills to a new and important area. Philip’s great passion for his work and his intense desire to help others has provided DTBE with numerous dividends. We will greatly miss his presence in the office.  Please join us in wishing Philip the very best as he assumes his new position in DHQP.

CAPT Cheryl L. Scott, MD, MPH, retired on August 1, 2010. Cheryl joined CDC in 1993 and began an EIS reproductive health field assignment to California’s Department of Health Services Maternal and Child Health section.  During her early tenure with California State, Cheryl developed the state’s first Severe Complications of Pregnancy Surveillance System, which helped California reduce preterm delivery among all racial groups.  During a subsequent field assignment as New Jersey’s State Maternal and Child Health Epidemiologist, she served on New Jersey’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Black Infant Mortality, a multidisciplinary collective responsible for systematically targeting black infant mortality in New Jersey.  While at CDC headquarters, Cheryl led a 14-year update of national post-neonatal mortality surveillance, which revealed that nearly 50% of deaths were due to potentially preventable causes.  She subsequently supported health sector reform and collaborated on public health performance standards development with the Pan American Health Organization for its member states.  During 2000-2005, she served as CDC Chief of Party and Director of the Global AIDS Program - Tanzania office and collaborated with the Tanzania government on strengthening Tanzania’s health care infrastructure and developing a national HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment program.  She then joined California’s Department of Public Health Tuberculosis Control Branch (2006-2010) where she led the state’s Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis Service and supported efforts to control TB in California.  Throughout her USPHS career, Cheryl provided disaster response and helped U.S. and global communities develop emergency preparedness systems.

Cheryl began her international health career in 1982.  She has worked in both long- and short-term assignments to Cote d’Ivoire, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Tanzania, Ecuador, Haiti, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Before joining CDC, she practiced internal medicine in St. Croix and New York City, focusing primarily on women’s health. She has been a member of international evaluation teams, and chaired and participated on government and community workgroups, panels, committees, and advisory boards.  She has received several awards and commendations, including the DHHS Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service for her work with Kosovo refugees; the Alumni Achievement Award from the University of California; recognition from the State Assembly of the California State Legislature; and a presidential citation from the United Republic of Tanzania.

Cheryl earned her MPH in international health from Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, her MD from Boston University School of Medicine, and a BA in biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1974.  She completed residencies in Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine at the University of California/King-Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles and CDC, respectively.  She has led and collaborated on publications in areas of tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, reproductive and child health, and disaster epidemiology.

Sarah Segerlind, MPH, has joined DTBE as of September 27 as a health education specialist with the Education, Training, and Behavioral Studies Team in CEBSB. Sarah first came to CEBSB in July 2008 as an Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) Fellow. During her time with CEBSB, she has worked on a variety of projects, including the creation of the Self-Study Modules on Tuberculosis, 1-5, Slide Sets and Facilitator Guide and the development of an online TB 101 course with the TB Regional Training and Medical Consultation Centers (RTMCCs). Sarah also serves as the CDC liaison for the TB Education and Training Network (TB ETN) Membership Development Workgroup and is a member of the TB ETN Steering Committee. She has also assisted with the management of the training and education component of the RTMCCs and is collaborating with colleagues to conduct the 2010 RTMCC needs assessments. Prior to coming to CDC, Sarah worked as an intern with Migrant Health Promotion (MHP), a community-based organization that works with migrant farm workers and their families to improve health. While at MHP she researched and developed a community health worker training manual chapter on emergency preparedness.

Sarah graduated from the University of Michigan School of Public Health in 2008 with an MPH in health behavior and health education.  She received her BS degree in anthropology/zoology with a minor in environmental studies from the University of Michigan in 2006.

 

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