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No. 4, 2008

Updates from the TB Education and Training Network

TB ETN Eighth Annual Conference

Conference Highlights

The TB Education and Training Network (TB ETN) held its eighth annual conference August 5–7, 2008, in Atlanta, Georgia. Participants numbered 116 and represented state and local TB programs, non-profit organizations, and academia, from across the United States as well as from Canada and Sudan.

TBETN 2008 Annual Conference poster - Going for the Gold!This year’s theme, TB Education and Training: Going for the Gold!, was chosen to coincide with the summer Olympics and inspired presentations and activities throughout the two-and-a-half day meeting. Plenary topics included building capacity and forging partnerships; reaching your target audience; and developing a multi-language video about TB. Presenters from TB program areas spoke on a variety of topics from identifying barriers to TB control among Hispanics, to developing a web-based case study tool, to assessing stigma and other factors that influence the effectiveness of contact investigations.

In addition to the plenary sessions, participants had many engaging and useful breakout sessions to attend. Examples of the topics covered included reviewing basic training skills, using the systematic health education process to develop materials, designing effective PowerPoint presentations, conducting needs assessments, and creating evaluation instruments.

For the second year, a special pre-conference session was held for TB ETN members who joined within the past year and for first-time conference attendees. Ann Poole, the 2008 TB ETN membership development workgroup co-chair, facilitated the session. Participants learned about TB ETN workgroups, education and training resources available to them through the TB Education and Training Website, and the TB ETN Connections Project. Participants were also given time to get to know one another.

Learning and networking continued outside of formal presentations. Participants viewed posters submitted by their colleagues and visited exhibits featuring TB education and training resources from DTBE, the Regional Training and Medical Consultation Centers, and state and local TB programs, among others. Tuesday evening’s social event, sponsored by Cellestis (the company that develops and markets QuantiFERON technology products) gave attendees a chance to catch up with old friends and to make new ones.

A preliminary look at the conference evaluations shows that nearly 80% of the participants either strongly agreed or agreed that the overall objectives for the conference sessions were met. Many attendees indicated that they enjoyed the conference and that they learned a lot. In all, this was another great TB ETN conference.

Congratulations to the conference planning workgroup for their hard work. Planning and organizing this conference is definitely a team sport and each person involved with the planning and implementation of the conference deserves a gold medal for their efforts!

If you were not able to join us at this year’s conference, we hope to see you in 2009. Stay tuned for information as we begin to plan the ninth annual TB ETN conference.

—Reported by Holly Wilson, MPN, CHES
Div of TB Elimination

Meeting of International TB ETN Members

A breakout session was held for international TB ETN members at the Eighth Annual TB ETN Conference on August 5, 2008, in Atlanta, Georgia. The session was attended by TB ETN members from Canada and Sudan and by others who have worked in a variety of countries including Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, and Nigeria.

The purpose of the session was to provide a forum for international members to discuss TB prevention and control efforts in their countries. In addition, the session provided an opportunity to learn about TB education and training activities in other countries, and to brainstorm about raising awareness about TB ETN globally. As the discussion unfolded, other topics were explored, including how the organization might support participation of international members in TB ETN activities, working groups, and future conferences.

Suggestions included creating opportunities for grass-roots initiatives specifically involving international members. Some ideas were to create an international member working group; to explore communication technologies such as Skype (software that allows users to talk over the Internet); and to investigate the use of blogs that would make it easier for members working in alternate time zones to engage in TB ETN working groups and activities.

Securing the funding needed to attend the TB ETN conference is a particular challenge for international members. Suggestions for sponsors and for cost-sharing initiatives from which international members could benefit were discussed, such as applying to local lung health associations and other non-profit groups for support, and sharing accommodations and transportation between the airport and conference venue. Participants also mentioned that obtaining travel visas was sometimes difficult. It was reiterated that DTBE has a standardized invitation letter that can be sent to participants for whom it is required.

We would like to extend our thanks to the conference participants who attended the session. We look forward to bringing the suggestions and discussions from the session to the TB ETN Steering Committee in the months to come.

—Reported by Linette McElroy, RN
Tuberculosis Educator/Practice Consultant
British Columbia, Canada,
and Peri Hopkins, MPH
Div of TB Elimination


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