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No. 4, 2009


2009 Program Managers’ Course

DTBE members and Program Managers' Course attendees
Overview of the TB Program Managers’ Course

The overall purpose of the TB Program Managers’ Course is to improve the planning and managerial capabilities of new TB program managers throughout the United States. The course is designed for TB controllers, program managers, public health advisors, and nurse consultants with programmatic responsibilities at the state, big city, territory, or regional (within a state) level. Optimally, a course participant should have occupied a TB program management position for at least 6 months but no more than 3 years. Participants are nominated by the DTBE Program Consultant for their area.

2009 TB Program Managers’ Course

The 2009 course was held in Atlanta, Georgia, November 2–6, 2009. This year's 5-day training was divided into 18 sessions. Each session stood alone as a block of instruction, but was sequenced to build logically on the sessions preceding it.

The course stressed the practical application of planning, management, and evaluation concepts to the specific issues and concerns of TB programs. Skills essential to TB program management were presented, followed by exercises that encouraged participants to practice using the skills in the classroom setting. The course highlights were the continuity of instructional strategies for the contact investigation, genotyping, and outbreak investigation sessions. These interactive sessions included a continuous case study, various visual aids, and role playing.

At the end of each session, participants were asked to address specific questions in a Planning Guide, which required them to synthesize concepts presented in the session and apply them to their own programs. The Planning Guide was a tangible product that participants took home from the course, to serve as a record of personal course discoveries and, more importantly, as a road map for improving the effectiveness of their TB prevention and control efforts.

The course concluded with a charge to the participants and an opportunity for each of them to share at least one planned improvement in TB program activities that will be made as a result of taking the course.

For the participants, the course is not entirely over. They will be mailed a 6-month follow-up questionnaire in April 2010. Once this questionnaire is completed and returned, each participant will receive a certificate of completion for the course.

The Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch (CEBSB) would like to thank the faculty and participants of the November 2009 TB Program Managers’ Course for making the course such a success. The hard work of the faculty in preparing the materials for their sessions and the participants' hard work during the course are greatly appreciated.

—Submitted by Regina Bess, BS, and Allison Maiuri, MPH
Div of TB Elimination

Update on DTBE’s Use of the CDC-INFO Call Center

CDC-INFO is a contract service employed by CDC to respond to general public, health care provider, and partner inquiries, via phone and e-mail, and serves as a central access point to CDC for the public. CDC-INFO was launched in February 2005, and DTBE began using the service in 2006. By 2008, all CDC programs were successfully transitioned to CDC-INFO’s service.

CDC-INFO consists of three staffing tiers, with each group responsible for responding to different levels of inquiries.  Tier 1 staff answer basic questions from the general public, using scripted responses provided by DTBE.  Tier 2 staff also provide answers to basic inquiries, using scripted responses as well as approved websites. Tier 3 staff, unlike tiers 1 and 2, are health care professionals who are able to apply scripted responses, information from Internet searches, or personal knowledge to answer questions posed by health care professionals.

To assist CDC-INFO in preparing for and responding to TB inquiries, DTBE developed scripted responses and provided training for CDC-INFO staff. This has helped them manage many basic and routine inquiries. However, the more complex inquiries that CDC-INFO cannot handle are escalated to DTBE.  In addition, inquirers are often referred to their state TB control office, or their national TB control program if outside the United States, for further assistance. 

Between September 2008 and August 2009, CDC-INFO received approximately 1,200 e-mail inquiries and about 4,250 phone inquiries regarding TB.  In the first year after DTBE started using this service (October 2006 to September 2007), approximately 1,500 e-mail inquiries and about 5,100 phone inquiries were received.  TB-related inquiries have remained fairly consistent in their contribution to overall call volume, representing about 1.4% of all calls received in both fiscal years 2007 and 2008.

The three most frequently requested TB topics of inquiry were diagnosis and testing, general information, and transmission. These questions were from the general public as well as from health professionals.

In September 2009, DTBE staff provided in-person training for CDC-INFO staff in Phoenix, Arizona; similar training was also offered to CDC-INFO in 2007.  The training ensured and reinforced call representatives’ knowledge of key facts about TB, such as the difference between latent TB infection and active TB disease, the method of transmission of TB, as well as the drugs used in treatment of TB.  Another key purpose of this training was to illustrate the types of inquiries that should be escalated to DTBE.

DTBE staff conduct a quarterly review of selected calls and review every e-mail. This periodic review of calls and e-mails helps DTBE identify certain information gaps about TB that have been observed in the general public and by health care providers. Also, CDC-INFO‘s tracking of inquiries has helped DTBE glean useful information that was instrumental in the redesign of the DTBE website.

For information about TB and other health topics, contact CDC-INFO. The service is available by phone at 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636) or e-mail .

—Reported by Ije Agulefo, MPH
Div of TB Elimination


Contact Us:
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  • Contact CDC–INFO The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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