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The Tuberculosis Behavioral and Social Science Research Forum Proceedings

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Section I. Introduction and Background

Introduction

These proceedings summarize the presentations and discussions that took place during The Tuberculosis Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Forum: Planting the Seeds for Future Research, which was held in Atlanta, Georgia, on December 10-11, 2003. This meeting was built on the foundation of a previous workshop, Tuberculosis and Behavior: National Workshop on Research for the 21st Century, held in Bethesda, Maryland in 1994. Plans for holding a second workshop emerged largely in response to renewed calls for further TB behavioral science research. Specifically, the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) 2000 report Ending Neglect: The Elimination of Tuberculosis in the United States identified the need for further behavioral and social science research in TB control and treatment. The IOM report included the following: “Recommendation 5.3. To promote better understanding of patient and provider nonadherence with tuberculosis recommendations and guidelines, a plan for a behavioral and social science research agenda should be developed and implemented” (IOM 2000 report, page 123). The Forum provided an excellent and timely opportunity to revisit the behavioral science issues raised during the 1994 workshop.

The goals of the Forum were to provide participants an opportunity to

  • Identify and prioritize TB behavioral and social science research gaps;
  • Develop a feasible, goal-oriented research agenda that will guide TB behavioral and social science activities;
  • Establish an ongoing partnership among national, state, and local governmental and non-governmental behavioral and social science researchers focusing on TB; and
  • Create a mechanism for ongoing communication among TB behavioral and social science researchers.

The Forum was designed to be an interactive “working meeting” and included presentations, panel discussions, and breakout sessions. The Forum brought together an interdisciplinary group of over 60 individuals involved or interested in TB behavioral and social science research, including academicians, researchers, contractors, TB program staff and patients, and staff from the National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, including many from the Division of Tuberculosis Elimination.

We hope that this document will be useful in several ways. It may be cited as a statement of the need for interdisciplinary research that includes the perspectives of the behavioral and social sciences. It may also inspire researchers to conduct studies to address the identified research gaps and needs, leading to improvements in TB treatment and control. It is also hoped that it will serve as a foundation for the development of a TB research agenda for the behavioral and social sciences. Finally, it will also serve as an important document confirming the important role that behavioral and social sciences play in TB prevention and control and reminding researchers and program staff alike that, although we are making progress toward the elimination of tuberculosis, we still have much to learn and improve upon before we arrive at that goal.

For more information about the CDC DTBE Forum,
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