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TB Notes Newsletter

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No. 3, 2012


Curtis Allen recently arrived in DTBE as a member of the CEBSB Web Team, joining Jesse Bradley as a webmaster. Curtis, a contractor with Northrop Grumman, has several years of experience in the web design and web development field. He received his bachelor’s degree from East Tennessee State University in Digital Media-Interactive Design with a minor in Art. Curtis started his career in 2005 as a Multimedia Production Designer at a small interactive web design firm called AVID Design. While at AVID Design, Curtis was responsible for developing and implementing multimedia CD-ROM projects for several hospitals including the Mayo Clinic and Saint Joseph. Following his position at AVID Design, Curtis spent 4 years working for as a Front End Developer, where he designed, developed, and implemented new sites and pages in the custom environment. CareerBuilder is the largest online employment website in the United States, with more than 23 million unique visitors each month. In 2010, Curtis began working as a webmaster at VeriFone. Two years later he accepted a web designer / web developer position with Northrop Grumman supporting the CDC TB team. Curtis has also been featured in Web Designer Magazine and won an ADDY Award for his work on Welcome, Curtis!

Greg Andrews, Team Lead of the Field Operations Team II, FSEB, retired on June 29, 2012, after more than 38 years of exemplary service to CDC. Greg is admired by his colleagues for his accomplishments and integrity and is known for his dedication and service to public health for nearly four decades. During his 24-year tenure with DTBE headquarters, he has been responsible for the oversight of much of the Division’s programmatic work, including most recently the programmatic activities and cooperative agreements with the Middle Atlantic States, the Western half of the country, and the Pacific Island groups. In the last year, he headed up DTBE’s development of a funding formula to apply to millions of dollars in cooperative agreements with 68 jurisdictions, including all 50 States, 10 large cities, and 8 affiliated territories and states.

Greg started his CDC career in 1974 with the Birmingham, Alabama, VD Control Program as a co-op Public Health Advisor (PHA) after talking to Dennis McDowell, a PHA and fellow college alumnus. During this initial tour, Greg assisted with the Swine Flu national epi aid. In 1978, “Big John” Seggerson and Charlie Watkins recruited him to CDC’s TB Division, and he moved to NYC. Greg’s tenure in NYC (1978–1982) included stints as a clinic manager for multiple boroughs, as well as lead coordinator for CDC project funds awarded to NYC for directly administration of TB drugs to active TB patients by outreach workers. This project, originally called the supervised therapy program (STP), was later re-named directly observed therapy (DOT). Greg also assisted with efforts to address the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak, conducted a 2-month TDY to Three Mile Island, and assisted in CDC’s Study 21 clinical trial on INH and rifampin alongside the late Tina Schein, CDC Public Health Nurse.

In 1982, Greg was transferred to Miami, Florida, as the TB program manager and the first TB PHA assigned in over 20 years; at the time, Miami had the highest TB case rate in the United States. Greg and the new TB Controller for Miami helped accelerate the use of DOT and of contact investigations, and helped with the assimilation of recently arrived “boat people” through the screening at Krome.

In 1984, Greg moved to Sacramento, California, for a new assignment as assistant state program manager. The entire California State TB Control Program consisted of the new TB Controller, an office assistant, and Greg. The primary goal was to double the state TB budget disbursed to local county programs, approximately $250,000; this was accomplished in 1983. The TB program also worked vigorously to bring California (last state) on board with the new CDC/DTBE surveillance reporting system, and the next year implemented TB/HIV registry cross-matching.

In 1988, after much discussion with Louis Salinas, DTBE Program Consultant for California, Greg came to headquarters as a Program Consultant.  In this position he covered, at one time or another, Federal regions I, III, V, VII, and IX. In time, he became a section chief/team lead for 36 TB project sites, and alongside Joe Scavotto, helped develop an extremely elite group of Program Consultants to assist DTBE’s main partners—state and local TB control programs.

After nearly four decades of service, Greg will miss most of all the public health colleagues and friends he has worked for and alongside over the years.  He has always held the local public health program staff in the highest esteem—and in turn has been highly regarded by them—and has dedicated himself to supporting their efforts in controlling and eliminating TB. Each one has contributed to his career and better understanding of public health.

Suzanne Beavers, MD, medical officer in SEOIB, has left DTBE to accept a position within the National Center for Environmental Health in the Air Pollution and Respiratory Health Branch of the Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects. Her last day in DTBE was June 29. Suzanne began her career with CDC in 2006 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer stationed in Kentucky. In 2008 Suzanne began her current position on the DTBE Epidemiology Team. Her primary responsibilities have been working as the CDC principal investigator on two Tuberculosis Epidemiologic Studies Consortium (TBESC) mortality studies, and planning for the new TBESC. Suzanne served as the SEOIB representative for TB Notes from 2009 to the present, and was the TB Walk photographer from 2009 to 2011.

Suzanne has an undergraduate degree in political science and her MD from the University of Florida. She completed an emergency medicine residency, and practiced emergency medicine for 7 years prior to joining CDC.

Suzanne has been a fabulous asset to the Epidemiology Team and to SEOIB and has been a wonderful coworker to everyone here. Her dedication, commitment, and great personality will be dearly missed. Congratulations to Suzanne! We wish her the best of luck and greatest of success in her new role.

Erin Bliven-Sizemore, MPH, has left DTBE for a position as an epidemiologist in DHAP’s Program Evaluation Branch. Her last day with CRB and the Tuberculosis Trials Consortium (TBTC) data and coordinating center was August 24. CRB values Erin’s achievements over the past 8 years and wishes her well in her new role.

Erin first worked with the TBTC data center from September 2004 through December 2005, while she was working on her master’s degree in public health at Emory University. Since her return to the TBTC data center in September 2006, she has actively contributed to the life of the consortium. She managed online adverse event reporting in an 8,000-participant trial, trained site coordinators for several trials, served as the project officer for a liver-health sub-study and a 36-person study of rifapentine exposure in health volunteers, and collaborated on several other pharmacokinetic studies. She has published secondary analyses on the association of relapse with the Beijing genotype, the influence of TB lineage variability, and the effect of HIV infection on treatment outcomes.

Tracy Dalton, Lois Diem, Denise Hartline, Jameelah Franklin, Erika Sigman, Allison Lentz, Delaina Paasch, Dorothy Kaminski, Heather Alexander, Kyle DeGruy, and Zilma Rey received the DTBE Director’s Recognition Award for the third quarter of 2012. Tracy, Lois, Denise, Jameelah, Erika, Allison, Delaina, Dorothy, Heather, Kyle, and Zilma received the DTBE Director’s Recognition Award for their exceptional work on the Preserving Effective TB Treatment Study (PETTS). This “dream team” of professional staff from DTBE and the Division of Global HIV/AIDS, CGH, was jointly nominated by Peter Cegielski and Beverly Metchock.

In a multinational, epidemiological study of MDR TB (PETTS), nine countries shipped 5,645 cultures of highly drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates to CDC's TB laboratory from 2005 to 2010. Analysis of these isolates continues to this day and will continue for at least another year. The lab team cultured and cryopreserved them, testing baseline and follow-up cultures for susceptibility to 12 drugs. They extracted DNA and performed line-probe assays, genotyping, and targeted gene sequencing. They contributed to the reporting of provisional results at local, national, and international conferences.

The team has done an extraordinary job with PETTS’s lab work. Their work provided some of the first data ever on the prevalence of extensively drug resistant (XDR) TB worldwide. The archive of isolates is unique and invaluable. The results quantify the risk of developing further drug resistance during MDR TB treatment, and are having substantial impact on global policy recommendations as international public health agencies are moving toward massive scale up of MDR/XDR TB treatment. Congratulations to the group for this well-deserved honor!

Vincent Fears has joined FSEB headquarters as a Program Consultant as of July 30. Prior to coming to Atlanta, he served as a PHA in the Miami-Dade County Health Department’s TB Control and Prevention Program. He joined CDC in April 1992 as a Public Health Associate assigned to the Palm Beach County (Florida) Health Unit (PBCHU) STD/HIV prevention program. Following training, he worked as a Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS) within the PBCHU, conducting contact investigations and contributing to case management efforts and program initiatives. He served as liaison between the PBCHU and the Palm Beach County Stockade as well as the Martin County Corrections facility. He also completed a detail to Ft. Pierce, Florida. He was then transferred to Cleveland, Ohio; while there he was detailed to the Cincinnati Health Department (CHD). He served as the liaison between the CHD and the Hamilton County Corrections (HCC) facility, improving communications between CHD and HCC and developing a program to rapidly screen inmates for syphilis and HIV at intake. This effort led to an increase in the average number of inmates tested, from 30 to 125 per week. From Cleveland, he transferred to the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals-Office of Public Health (LDHH-OPH) in Baton Rouge. He initiated a working relationship between the LDHH-OPH and the Southern University Student Wellness Foundation, leading to unprecedented on-campus screening for syphilis and HIV. He was invited to lecture on a recurring basis about STDs and safer sexual behaviors and was a regular presenter at the Teen Parent Center of Baton Rouge and Child Health America. In addition, he was detailed to the CDC Immunization program in Lansing, Michigan, investigating the cause of intussusception among infants.  He was recognized for his work in Lansing with an HHS distinguished service award.

In 2001, he was assigned to the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) TB Control Program. Besides carrying out typical DIS duties, he also assumed additional responsibilities, serving as Director of Program Planning and Evaluation. These duties included developing the TB program evaluation plan and the TB program’s cooperative agreement budget, as well as the TB program annual progress report. He was also the lead for CDPH regarding high-profile TB cases, spearheading TB genotype cluster investigations and communicating with CDC representatives in that regard. Vincent also served as the Assistant to the Program Manager in the Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion (DHWP).

In 2008, he transferred to Miami to serve as the field operations manager for the Miami-Dade County TB Control and Prevention Program. He was responsible for analyzing high-profile cases and performing community outreach and TB 101 for local providers and institutions (schools, worksites, corrections). He conducted in-service teach-back programs for TB Control and Prevention staff; STD DIS also attended. And, after Vincent suggested to the State of Florida that Florida DIS workers deserve to be recognized with a special annual tribute, DIS staff are now honored every October on DIS Appreciation Day, not only in Miami but throughout the state of Florida.

Vincent received his BS degree in biology in 1991 from Alabama State University, and in 1998 earned a graduate certificate in public health after completing the Graduate Certificate Program at Tulane University. In 2003 he earned personal trainer certification from the National Council of Strength and Fitness. In 2004, he received an NCHHSTP Honor Award for his contribution to minority health programs in conjunction with the Partners Eliminating TB in African Americans project. Inspired by this initiative, he composed a rap song, the lyrics of which were worked into a TB information pamphlet, describing signs and symptoms of TB as well as a call to action to eliminate TB. Vincent also received an NCHHSTP Honor Award in 2010 for his work during a detail with the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington, DC.

Vernard Green, MSPH, BS, AA, has joined FSEB headquarters as a Program Consultant (North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Michigan, and the City of Detroit). He started in his new position on July 29, 2012. Vernard began his public health career in 1985 as a Navy Corpsman assigned to the Naval Hospital at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in advanced trauma, EMT, and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) training. After 2 years of training, he began a tour as an independent-duty senior Hospital Corpsman / hand-to-hand combat instructor. He was assigned to several marine units, and was honorably discharged in 1992 after serving in Desert Storm. He received several awards, including a national defense service medal, a Navy meritorious unit accommodation, and commanding general accommodations.

From 2002 to 2005 Vernard worked for the Cumberland County (NC) Health Department and the Department of Health and Human Services, Fayetteville, NC, as a Disease Intervention Specialist (DIS) in HIV/STD and environmental health projects. In 2005 he began his CDC career as a trainee assigned to the Lattimore regional TB clinic in Newark, NJ. In 2006 he took a position in Trenton, NJ, as Chief Assistant/front line supervisor and Universal Genotype Project Coordinator. Other experiences included four TDY outbreak investigations, Epi-Aids, and technical assistance assignments throughout the United States as well as a deployment to provide assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2006. In 2007 he took a position as Operations Manager for the City of Detroit’s TB control program. During 2008 to 2010, he served as interim TB program manager and Public Health Advisor (PHA). From April 2010 to June 2012 he served as Senior PHA and TB liaison for programmatic support with the Michigan Department of Community Health at the state office. He has participated in the CDC/ATSDR mentor program and has provided guidance to mentees from other programs.

Vernard received an AA degree from Campbell University in 1991 and a BS degree in 1995 with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry. He received his master of science degree in public health from Walden University in 2005 and in special studies in 2011. He is currently enrolled in a PhD program with an epidemiology concentration at Walden University with plans to graduate in 2014.

Bruce Heath, Program Consultant in FSEB, has left DTBE to accept a promotion within the Division of STD Prevention as team lead for the Program Support and Strategic Priorities Team, Program Development and Quality Improvement Branch. His last day in DTBE was May 25. Bruce began his career with CDC in the Miami STD Prevention Program in 1992 as a Disease Intervention Specialist. In 1995 he moved to Fulton County, Georgia, to continue his work as a CDC Disease Intervention Specialist. In 1999, he took a position with the Syphilis Elimination Program in the Division of STD Prevention at headquarters.  Bruce then moved to the Training and Health Communications Branch in DSTD where he served as a project officer for the National Network of STD/HIV Prevention Training Centers. After a few years in headquarters, he went back to the field as an assignee to the Puerto Rico Department of Health STD/HIV Prevention Program as the Senior Public Health Advisor. In June of 2006 Bruce joined DTBE, moving to Austin, TX, to work with the Binational TB Projects along the Texas/Mexico Border. In 2008, he was selected to serve as a TB Program Consultant in FSEB, where he has been responsible for overseeing cooperative agreements for state, local, and territorial TB programs. Bruce has an undergraduate degree in Spanish and a graduate certificate in public health with a concentration in health education. Congratulations to Bruce and good luck with this new position!

Lilia Manangan and Suzanne Marks were winners of the June NCHHSTP Director’s Recognition Award as part of the NCHHSTP Surveillance Workgroup! Lilia and Suzanne serve as DTBE representatives on the NCHHSTP Surveillance Workgroup. This workgroup has exhibited excellence in policy development and program services by developing integrated guidelines for the security and confidentiality of HIV, viral hepatitis, STD, and TB surveillance data. These guidelines reflect the combined efforts of program and surveillance leaders from DHAP, DVH, DSTDP, and DTBE. The other members of the workgroup are Patricia Sweeney, DHAP; Sam Costa, DHAP; Hillard Weinstock, DSTDP; Kashif Iqbal, DVH; Patrick Harris, DSTDP; and Nicholas Gaffga, Division of Global HIV/AIDS, Center for Global Health.

Nydia Palacios is a recent graduate of the CDC Public Health Associate Program (PHAP). Assigned to San Juan, Puerto Rico, she spent the first year of her fellowship as a field worker in the Puerto Rico TB Control Program. As a second year associate, Nydia worked closely with DTBE veteran Olga Joglar in the CDC San Juan Quarantine Station. Nydia is excited to have the opportunity to learn more about TB with Ted Misselbeck and Patrick Ndibe in Houston.  Nydia received her BA degree from Bryn Mawr College in 2009. Prior to joining CDC, Nydia worked at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center in New York City, which specializes in providing primary medical care services to the LGBT community and those living with HIV/AIDS.

Sarita Shah, MD, has joined IRPB, where she will serve as the Assistant Chief for Science and will lead the Program Strengthening and Epidemiology Team. She started in her new position on Aug. 13. After completing her EIS training in DTBE’s IRPB in 2006, Sarita accepted a position with The Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center in NY, where she served in various capacities. These included serving as 1) Assistant/Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, 2) Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health, and 3) Attending Physician at Montefiore Medical Center’s Infectious Diseases clinic and on the General Medicine and HIV/AIDS Inpatient Teaching Service.  Since 2006, Dr. Shah has gained considerable experience leading and directing clinical and epidemiological research. She has also had significant experience implementing research grants supported by the National Institutes for Health and other US government agencies, including CDC and PEPFAR.

Dr. Shah earned her undergraduate and MD degrees at the John Hopkins University, received an MPH degree at Columbia University - Mailman School of Public Health, and completed an internal medicine residency and clinical and research fellowship in general medicine at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center at the University of Michigan.

Cortney Stafford, MPH, MT (ASCP), has joined the Laboratory Branch as a new consultant for the Laboratory Capacity Team (LCT). Cortney has extensive laboratory experience in bacteriology, virology, mycobacteriology, and laboratory quality control in her position as Senior Medical Technologist at Washington Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Cortney earned her master’s degree in public health in Epidemiology with a concentration in infectious diseases from Emory University. She has previously worked at the VA Hospital in Atlanta as a Health Science Specialist in Infection Prevention and Control. In this capacity, Cortney directed the hospital-wide MRSA Implementation Team, and also worked on the analysis and surveillance of multidrug-resistant organisms, prepared Medical Center Memorandums for multidrug-resistant organisms, designed materials used for nursing education, and conducted educational sessions on Infection Control practices.

Cortney also has experience in TB at CDC, where she served as a research assistant for the DTBE Tuberculosis Trials Consortium (TBTC). In this capacity, she was responsible for updating and ensuring accuracy of case study report forms for two TBTC clinical trials, coordinated data from four international clinical study sites, and helped organize and manage data at the TBTC Coordination Center.  Her Master’s thesis was a culmination of her work on TBTC initiatives: An analysis of risk factors for failure to convert sputum culture in the Tuberculosis Trials Consortium Study 27: Evaluating the activity and tolerability of moxifloxacin during the first 2 months of treatment for pulmonary tuberculosis. She has authored peer-reviewed articles for infection control and internal medicine journals and has given presentations at epidemiology conferences. The Laboratory Capacity Team is excited and pleased to welcome Cortney on board as a new laboratory consultant!

David A. Yost, MD, MSc, has joined CDC, DTBE, and FSEB as a Field Medical Officer assigned to the Puerto Rico TB control program. His assignment there began as of July 1, 2012. As one of the few second-generation physicians in the U.S. Public Health Service, CAPT David Yost began his Commissioned Corps career with the Indian Health Service in 1990.  From 1991 to 2012, he served as the Clinical Director of the Whiteriver Service Unit, overseeing hospital, clinic, and public health services for the White Mountain Apache Tribe in rural eastern Arizona.

Dr. Yost received his BA degree from Bluffton College (Bluffton, OH) in 1983. He completed both his MD degree (1987) and his family practice residency (1990) at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. In 2004, he received his masters of science degree in infectious diseases from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. From 2004 to 2011, Dr. Yost served multiple terms as the Chairman of the National Council of Clinical Directors and served several IHS Directors in a variety of national work groups for Succession Planning, Strategic Planning, and Core Formulary development.  Dr. Yost also served as mentor for clinical administrators and a national peer reviewer in the IHS Risk Management Program.

As a public health administrator, Dr. Yost has overseen outbreak investigations in the areas of measles, hepatitis A, STDs, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. He has supervised a variety of maternal and child health initiatives and has been recognized by the Commissioned Corps with both an Outstanding Service Medal and Meritorious Service Medical for his national public health leadership.

In addition to his medical administrative work, Dr. Yost maintains an active clinical practice in the fields of emergency medicine and obstetrics. He is a field clinical faculty member of the University of Arizona Department of Family and Community Medicine and regularly precepts medical students and residents.


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