2023 CDC U.S. TB Elimination Champions
Amy Painter is a TB elimination crusader. She has many years of experience as a TB Nurse, TB Program Manager, and now a TB Division Director. She provides evidence-based guidance to ensure people are screened, tested, and treated for TB in the community.
Amy’s expertise in TB has been demonstrated in many ways, including organizing and leading TB contact investigations, establishing United for Ukraine screening clinics, and having an open-door policy to meet the needs of the TB team. Amy is innovative in mitigating barriers and finding creative solutions. She is an inspiration as a TB Nurse, Leader, and Division Director.
The Breathe Easy South Texas (B.E.S.T.) project anchored in San Antonio, Texas, formed partnerships in the community to screen people at higher risk of TB and treat people with latent TB infection. The project takes on the challenge of eliminating TB in the South Texas region. The B.E.S.T. Project has tested over 20,000 people for TB and has worked to achieve a TB treatment completion rate of 83%.
Left to Right: Raymond Calderon (Metro); Hanna Imhoff (Metro); Ralph Pruett (Metro); Esther Barrera (Metro); Ignacio Oliva (Metro); Rosalie Sakata (TCID); Nicole Meditz (Metro); John Lopez (TCID); Catherine Brooks (TCID); Miranda Villanueva (Metro); Victoria Adams (Metro); Halbert Brown (Heartland); Shannon Brown (TCID); Trista Reglein (TCID); Yolanda Cantu (DSHS Reg 8); Natalie Singh (Metro); Norma Santos (Metro); Beth Walsh (Metro); Lisa Armitige (Heartland); Carol Staton (Metro); Josie Martinez (Metro); Leticia Pinzon (Metro); Angie Hernandez (Metro); Alma Martinez (Metro); Anna Salas (Metro); Jacquline I Maldonado (Metro); Marithza Guzman (Metro); Tommy Camden (Metro)
Breathe Pennsylvania works closely with local health departments to provide nutritional supplements, bus tickets, and parking vouchers for people who are treated at the TB Clinic. With the help of TB experts, they provide a yearly educational TB conference for Nurses and Respiratory Therapists. The organization provides TB arm models and TB rulers to train people on administering and reading the TB skin test. Breathe Pennsylvania’s efforts have made TB testing and treatment more accessible to western Pennsylvanians and have provided continuing education healthcare providers across the country.
NEMS is a federally funded community health center serving 69,000 patients annually across 21 clinics and sites in the San Francisco Bay Area. Serving a predominantly non-U.S.-born Asian population, NEMS offers comprehensive, language concordant, and culturally sensitive primary care and specialty services.
For over a decade, NEMS has recognized TB as a major health disparity affecting its patient population and introduced a series of quality improvement initiatives that led to an increase in TB screening amongst their non-U.S.-born patients from 8% in 2010 to 52% in 2019. These efforts continue today under the leadership of Dr. Amy Shen Tang, MD, who is committed to demonstrating the importance of primary care in TB prevention and elimination.
The TB Infection Team at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) has renewed local capacity for pediatric latent TB infection diagnosis and treatment in a child-friendly environment by consolidating existing partnerships. CHLA’s work has permitted timely evaluation and treatment initiation for newly arrived children from around the world.
Dr. Malhotra and the TB Infection Team collected data on hundreds of children with latent TB infection, documenting uneven adoption of rifamycin-based regimens and high completion rates using the 3HP treatment regimen.
Elizabeth, a TB survivor, was named a TB Hero by Heartland National TB Center on World TB Day in 2022. She has given testimonies at church retreats, infectious disease seminars, and TB trainings. She hopes to share her story to increase knowledge of TB among healthcare providers and to reduce stigma.
The Erie County Department of Health’s Tuberculosis Program works with passion and dedication to help residents prevent, test for, and treat TB. The TB Program provides proactive outreach to people with latent TB infection, as well as medicine delivery services and incentives for treatment completion. They also provide interpretation services for people who speak languages other than English.
Karyssa Franklin, RN, and her team at the Garfield County Health Department work to eliminate TB in their community. The team follows up on health requirements of their clients which involves managing large contact investigations and treatment. Extensive case management has ensured follow up is done in a timely manner and clients get the medications they need. Robust, thorough contact investigations have resulted in getting people with TB disease treated quickly and diagnosing latent TB infection to prevent TB disease.
TODU Guam Foundation (TGF) is a non-governmental organization serving Pacific Islander communities impacted by TB disease and latent TB infection. Collaborating with the Guam TB Program, TGF provided community members with TB education, screening, and testing during mobile clinic outreach initiatives. From May 2022 to January 2023, 345 individuals received TB education materials, screening, counseling, and partner referral services.
The Los Angeles County (LAC) Department of Public Health (DPH) Refugee Health Assessment Program’s leadership of LAC’s Operations Allies Welcome program met goals for completing treatment of people from Afghanistan with latent TB infection. Success was driven by recruitment of Afghani staff and coordination with DPH chest clinics and TB program.
Over 800 people from Afghanistan were evaluated and received services to prevent TB, in addition to a comprehensive health evaluation with linkage to primary care. These efforts will reduce transmission of TB in LAC. LAC DPH strengthened program coordination to support new arrivers, paving a way for future outreach efforts.
Beginning in 1994 at Florida’s TB Hospital, Maria Gomez has dedicated her career to TB elimination. She now serves as the TB Medical Group Program Administrator. Her dedication and vast knowledge are an asset to TB elimination efforts in Florida and beyond. Maria facilitates services for people, especially those with multidrug-resistant TB disease. She coordinates Southeastern National Tuberculosis Center’s medical consultation service and enrolls people in drug assistance programs. Maria provides interpretation services and transportation to people being screened and treated for TB.
The New York City 4 HPMZ (4-month regimen of isoniazid, rifampin, moxifloxacin, and pyrazinamide, abbreviated as HPMZ) workgroup was formed in April 2022 to plan and implement the regimen at NYC Department of Health Clinics. The workgroup developed protocols, job aides, and patient sheets. Implementation of the new regimen at TB Clinics has facilitated access to shorter treatments for people with TB disease and provided alternative treatment options to patients. The NYC 4 HPMZ workgroup also aims to enhance adherence and completion of treatment.
The New York City Bureau of TB Control Uniting for Ukraine Workgroup urgently responded to the TB testing requirements for Ukrainian humanitarian parolees (UHP) arriving in NYC. By creating local partnerships and utilizing mobile clinical services, the workgroup provided free TB testing at community outreach events serving the UHP population. Several community-based TB testing events were conducted with local partners, resulting in hundreds of UHPs receiving TB testing. Individuals with positive tests were linked to care for further evaluation and treatment if indicated.
Pat Iyer has over 20 years of experience working in TB as a public health nurse and was the Director of Disease Investigation and Case Management at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. She has been a strong advocate for community health and has taken several initiatives to educate the public about the impact of TB. Throughout her career, Pat has contributed to several community TB efforts, including collaboration with the Lynn Community Health Center to expand latent TB infection testing and treatment in partnership with community agencies, providers, community leaders, and TB survivors.
“Truth, beauty, freedom, love” is the mantra for the characters in Moulin Rouge! The Musical – but the North American Touring Company can add “TB Champions” to these ideals. The musical tells the story of a composer who falls in love with an actress suffering from TB. Tamrin Goldberg, along with fellow members of the North American Touring Company, is using the popular production to raise awareness of TB.
Tamrin organized a “consumption conversation” with the cast and crew and TB experts, including a TB survivor. “People in the company were surprised that so many people still suffer from TB disease,” remarked Tamrin. This conversation led to a desire to partner with TB organizations to reach the musical’s many fans. Tamrin will take over the musical’s Instagram account on World TB Day to share TB messages. She is also organizing a fundraiser and benefit concert with company members to support We Are TB and the Treatment Action Group. Tamrin plans to continue the work after World TB Day as the company continues their North American tour, saying “We hope to use the power of art to make an impact and create change.”
Texas Center for Infectious Disease (TCID) provides behavioral, psychiatric, and major medical care, in addition to TB-related care. TCID works with people who are more at risk for drug-resistant TB. Inpatient nurses create a culture to eliminate stigma and actively educate families and patients about TB.
The California Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR TB) Service was established in 2002 to enhance the prevention, detection, treatment, and management of MDR TB cases throughout the State of California. They provide evidence-based care for a large volume of people with MDR TB and regularly publish their data and treatment outcomes.
The team is made up of physicians and nurses who work hard to improve patient outcomes and reduce the spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis. Providing effective care for complex TB cases reduces transmission, morbidity, and mortality and contributes to TB elimination.
Xuan tirelessly pursues collaboration with federal, state, and local partners to maximize success in locating, evaluating, screening, and connecting people with TB resources and care. Last year, she shared her expertise in a training workshop presentation, strengthening knowledge among TB professionals in Washington.
Xuan’s passionate and meticulous efforts have led to an increased percentage of successful screening, evaluation, and treatment over the years. She has shown outstanding effort to ensure people recently arriving from Afghanistan, Ukraine and other countries are connected with care.