Historical Background of the Stop TB in the African–American Community Summit

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In 2003, the Advisory Council for the Elimination of Tuberculosis (ACET) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) co-sponsored a consultation with African American organizations and agencies whose programs could have an impact on TB control efforts in the African–American population. This was an initial step in addressing the disparity between the tuberculosis (TB) case rates of African Americans and other United States (US)-born racial/ethnic groups in the Southeastern United States. The consultation was intended to raise awareness about the disparity, solicit support for eliminating TB in US–born African Americans, and develop recommendations for accelerating the decline in TB rates among US-born African Americans in the Southeastern states.

Participants at the 2003 consultation called for increased research and resources to improve TB prevention and control efforts in these populations. As one strategy, ACET prepared and sent a letter in June 2003 to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services summarizing the consultation and bringing this health disparity to his attention. Meeting participants also called for increased research in this population. One response from CDC was a formative research and intervention study entitled “Addressing Tuberculosis Among African Americans in the Southeast.” The CDC’s Division of Tuberculosis Elimination (DTBE) and RTI are conducting this study, as a part of the Tuberculosis Epidemiologic Studies Consortium, to address the excess burden of TB among African Americans in the southeast. This multi-phase research project was developed to understand the individual, institutional, and community-level barriers and facilitators to TB control in African Americans in the southeastern region of the US.

As a follow-up to the success of the 2003 consultation, DTBE and RTI co-sponsored the Stop TB in the African–American Community Summit in May, 2006. This Summit was used to highlight the accomplishments since the previous consultation in 2003, as well as to further engage partners in collaborative efforts to address the impact of the TB disparity in the African–American community. The goals of this meeting were to raise awareness about the problem of TB in the African–American community, and create links and build networks that will lead to ongoing activities and strategies to decrease TB in the African–American community. The Summit brought together community and religious leaders, health care providers, public health leaders, policy and decision makers, state and local health department staff, communications professionals, academicians, and others, who committed to undertaking specific goals and action items.