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No. 4, 2011


Eleventh Annual TB ETN Conference and Third Annual TB PEN Conference

The TB Education and Training Network (TB ETN) held its eleventh annual conference September 20–22, 2011, in Atlanta, Georgia, in conjunction with the third annual TB Program Evaluation Network (TB PEN) Conference. Participants numbered 175 and represented state and local TB programs, nonprofit organizations, and academia, from the United States as well as from many other countries.

This year’s theme, Waves of Change, Oceans of Opportunity, inspired exciting presentations and activities throughout the 2 1/2-day conference. Plenary topics included health literacy, partnerships with federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), cohort review, and new technology tools for TB health education, training, and evaluation. Presenters from TB program areas spoke on a variety of topics, including assessment of TB knowledge, attitudes, and practices of persons living with HIV in San Diego County; the development of culturally appropriate messages for the Navajo Nation; the evaluation of a hospital discharge requirement for infectious TB patients in New York City; and the challenges associated with decentralizing the entry of TB surveillance data.

In addition to the plenary sessions, there were a variety of engaging and useful breakout sessions held throughout the conference. Session topics included cultural competency, social media, writing for the web, webinars 101, basic evaluation data analysis, and moving forward from evaluation findings.

A roundtable session was held for TB ETN and TB PEN members who were interested in course development, cultural competency, and Web development. The roundtable sessions provided an opportunity for participants to network, discuss topic challenges, and share common experiences.

This conference marked the second year for the TB Educator of the Year Award and the Project Excellence Award. These awards were established in 2010 to recognize excellence in TB health education and training by TB ETN members around the world.

The TB Educator of the Year award recognizes an individual who has shown dedication and leadership in the field of TB education and training. The recipient of the 2011 TB Educator of the Year Award was Debra Stephens. Debra is the Southern Illinois TB nurse consultant and has been the Illinois TB Education and Training Focal Point for the past 8 years. One of Debra’s major contributions to the TB program has been her collaborative work with the American Lung Association (ALA) of Illinois to develop and implement the Illinois TB 101 course. This course has been conducted twice annually since 2005. Debra has expanded the training offered in Illinois through her service as TB Focal Point by coordinating and hosting Heartland National TB Center–sponsored courses, including the Advanced Nurse Case Managers course in 2005 and 2010, the TB Intensive for Physicians in 2007, the TB on College Campuses course in 2008, the TB Control in Correctional Settings course in 2009, and the TB and Substance Abuse course in 2011.

The Project Excellence Award recognizes an exceptional health education and training product or activity developed within the past 2 years. The recipient of the 2011 Project Excellence Award was the video, TB: The Timeless Disease.  It was developed by Shawna Buccholz, clinical TB Nurse Educator for the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, with team members Maria MacDougall, Nash Dhalla, and April MacNaughton, nurses who work specifically with Aboriginal communities. This videobrings historical knowledge and cultural understanding about TB to health care professionals working with these communities; it was developed with the permission of the Aboriginal communities. Because the video was made with Aboriginal involvement, its appeal, cultural relevance, and acceptance by Aboriginal communities is enormous. The video includes personal experiences and narratives provided by Aboriginal people who had TB and/or experienced the TB sanatorium era, and highlights the need to prioritize and address social determinants of health.

Learning and networking continued outside of formal plenary and breakout sessions. 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 gave attendees a chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones.

Reported by Peri Hopkins, MPH, and Sarah Segerlind, MPH
Div of TB Elimination

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TB ETN Member Highlight

2011 TB Educator of the Year

In this issue we highlight Debra Stephens, RN, BSN, MPH, TB Nurse Consultant with the Illinois Department of Public Health, who won the 2011 TB Educator of the Year Award. This honor was announced on September 20 at the 2011 TB Education and Training Network annual conference, which is held in Atlanta.

Debra was assigned to be the TB Education Focal Point for the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) TB Prevention and Control Program in 2005, and this is when she became a member of TB ETN. She is responsible for overseeing and implementing Illinois’ TB Training and Human Resources Development Plan and providing consultation on TB case management for 48 county local TB control authorities. Debra earned her MPH at Saint Louis University School of Public Health, St. Louis, MO, and her BSN from Maryville University, St. Louis, MO.

Debra’s program, IDPH, partnered with Heartland National TB Center and the American Lung Association (ALA) of Illinois to present a 1-day Substance Abuse and TB course in Springfield, IL, in April 2011. Other trainings with this group of partners has included the  TB Nurse Case Managers course in 2010, the TB in the Correctional Setting course in 2009, the TB on College Campuses course in 2008, the TB Intensive course in 2007,  and the TB Nurse Case Managers course in 2006.

Debra integrates TB training into other programs by participating in conference planning committees for Illinois statewide trainings; this includes Immunization/Communicable Diseases, HIV/AIDS/STD/Hepatitis, Bi-State Infectious Disease (Missouri/Illinois), Bi-State TB Elimination, and most recently, USDA initiatives considering disease transmission between animals and humans.

Debra collaborated with the Illinois ALA to develop and implement the Illinois TB 101 course, which is designed for new nurses from rural, low-incidence counties. In 2005, Debra worked closely with Diane Meyer of the Illinois ALA to evaluate the needs assessment and develop the TB 101 course. The course includes 10 modules for training, with a corresponding 12-module binder provided to each participant and updated as the course changes. The training consists of PowerPoint presentations, lectures, hands-on exercises, a CDC skin test training video, and an interactive contact investigation activity. Each participant completes a pretest and posttest to evaluate the effectiveness of the training. There is also an overall course evaluation and 3-month post evaluation to provide feedback so that the course can be changed to meet the needs of the attendees. To date, there are only seven counties in the state of Illinois whose staff have not attended this training.

Debra has served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve since 1992. She was a flight nurse on the C–9 aircraft and held that position during 1992–2005 at Scott Air Force Base, IL. In 2003 she was mobilized and deployed to the Middle East in support of two operations, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, working aerovac* on the C–130 aircraft transporting wounded soldiers to hospitals based throughout the Middle East; she later became Chief Nurse for the region. In 2005, she was assigned to work as a biosurveillance analyst in the Surgeon General’s office at US NORTHCOM, Peterson Air Force Base, CO. In 2006, she was promoted to the rank of Colonel. She continues to serve as a reservist in this capacity and plans to retire from the military in 2012.

Debra has always enjoyed teaching, so her role as TB educator allows her to provide education in various settings with the strong support of her supervisor, Michael Arbisi, and the two other Illinois nurse consultants, Elaine Darnall and Carrie Storrs. “I always like to provide TB education on topics that are unique, to keep interest active and provide local TB program staff with information that can also be used in other program activities, since staff usually work in more programs than just TB.” One example that Debra cites involved collaborating with the Illinois state police to provide education for nurses about methamphetamine (meth) users. At each of three state regional meetings for local TB public health nurses, she provided information about the unique challenges of working with this population, and her state police colleagues described clues in or around the home that suggest a person is using meth, or that meth is “cooked” in the home. This information was especially important for those nurses who travel to rural areas to provide DOT. The training has been a huge success, as evidenced by 100% of evaluations rating this presentation the best in all areas—including content, presentation style, objectives met, and useful information to take back to the job—and has been repeated at other state TB meetings. Debra has also provided education at regional TB meetings about human trafficking. “Many of these individuals are foreign-born people from countries with a high incidence of TB,” Debra notes.

Debra nicely summarized TB ETN’s value to TB educators: “TB ETN provides the opportunity to network with peers and also to learn of new technology venues to provide education. This is going to be vital for the future of TB education as budgets continue to shrink. TB ETN is providing me with the tools to continue to provide TB education in the State of Illinois.”

*Aerovac refers to specialized medical transportation units in the U.S. Air Force.

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Tuberculosis Video Wins TB ETN Project Excellence Award for 2011

A training resource video on TB, created in cooperation with the British Columbia (BC) Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), has been awarded the prestigious Project Excellence Award by TB ETN. This international award recognizes exceptional health education and training products or activities created within the past 2 years.

Community Health Associates of BC winnersThe winning video, entitled TB: The Timeless Disease, was produced by the Community Health Associates of BC, a BC First Nations non-profit organization, in conjunction with the TB Services for Aboriginal Communities Program at the BCCDC and Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health (FNIH) TB Programme, BC Region. Funding was provided by Health Canada. The TB video team is pictured here.

The video was created to bring historical context and cultural understanding about TB to health care professionals working in Aboriginal communities. It provides an overview of TB services and serves as an education resource that can be used to increase clinical nursing competencies. BCCDC nursing staff involved in the project included Shawna Buchholz, Nash Dhalla, and Maria MacDougall, and April MacNaughton from FNIH. In addition, Dr. Victoria Cook (BCCDC) and Dr. Marcus Lem (FNIH) were acknowledged for their guidance.

The video was first screened in February 2011 at the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease North American Region Conference in Vancouver. It has since been distributed to Aboriginal communities across Canada, and requests for copies have come from as far away as Greenland. The announcement of this award was made on Sept. 20 at the CDC-sponsored Tuberculosis Education and Training Network Conference in Atlanta, GA.

The video is available on the BCCDC website.

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Doing More with Less: New Budget Realities and Implications for TB Education, Training, and Evaluation

Tough economic times often translate into tighter public health budgets and reduced spending for education, training, and evaluation. With this in mind, one of the many sessions offered to attendees of the 2011 TB ETN–TB PEN Annual Conference was aimed at providing information on innovative ways to maintain and possibly even enhance these critical program components in an era of diminishing resources.

During an energetic and engaging presentation, Virginia’s TB Control and Prevention Program Director, Jane Moore, and Southeastern National TB Center Director of Education/Training, Karen Simpson, shared a wealth of knowledge and experience, and reminded us of many excellent existing resources and sources of resources for TB education, training, and program evaluation, including:

Participants were encouraged and inspired to think “outside of the box” to do the best they can with what is available to them. For example, when scheduling education and training events, beginning events later in the morning could reduce per diem costs and cut down on the number of out-of-town participants requiring accommodation the night before. Similarly, requiring participants to complete prerequisite activities or reading can reduce the amount of time needed for the event. Leveraging existing state or local resources such as video or teleconferencing equipment for training events can also substantially reduce costs and expand access. If you would like to learn more about how the Virginia State TB Control and Prevention Program and SNTC are doing the best they can with what they have, please contact or

Suggestions on doing more with less will be featured in upcoming editions of TB Notes. If you have suggestions or examples you would like us to share, please email them to

Reported by Linette McElroy, Jane Moore, and Karen Simpson
TB Education and Training Network

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TED Talks: Ideas Worth Spreading!

TED, an acronym devolved from technology, entertainment, and design, started out in 1984 as a conference. In 2007, under the moniker “ideas worth spreading,” was launched, providing free online access to archived TED conference presentations. Today, the popularity of TED conferences and online viewing of TED Talks continue to skyrocket as the TED Talk topics become even more diverse.

The website describes TED as a global community welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. Indeed, there are hundreds of TED Talks available at, ranging from 3 to 18 minutes in length, covering almost any subject imaginable. New Ted Talks are added every day.

A quick search of the site for TED Talks on TB brought up these interesting clips:

  • James Nachtwey’s photo essay on XDR TB
  • Bart Weetjen’s work using rats to detect M. tuberculosis in laboratory samples

As a testament to the range of TED Talk topics, here are a few other TED Talks I have enjoyed recently:

  • Hans Rosling: Let My Dataset Change your Mindset
  • Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creativity
  • Abraham Verghese: A Doctor’s Touch
  • Jake Shimabukuro plays “Bohemian Rhapsody”

If you are interested in learning more on a particular topic, hearing what someone you admire has to say about something, or want to start an interesting conversation at dinner or the water cooler, visit You won’t be disappointed.

Reported by Linette McElroy

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