Northeastern Spotlight

Spring 2018 Volume 13 – Number 2

News and Announcements

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene TB Summit – Queens, NY

On June 29, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s first-ever TB Summit gathered 200 policy makers, innovators, TB survivors, and public health experts to kick off strategic efforts towards eliminating TB in New York City, where the TB rate is still more than double the national rate (7.5 vs 2.8 cases per 100,000 persons in 2017).

The Summit theme was “Inform, Engage, and Innovate for TB Elimination.” Expert speakers shared perspectives on TB elimination, the importance of education and advocacy, and sparked discussion on innovations in TB prevention and care. Of 200 participants, 150 stakeholders were in attendance and another 50+ participants joined by webinar; participants represented a diverse range of industries and groups including healthcare, public health, advocacy, pharmaceutical, diagnostic, laboratory, academia, research, and information technology.

Pictured above (left to right) José Luis Castro, Jane Coyne and Philip LoBue

The morning plenary, “Bending the Curve: Ending TB in New York City,” featured panelists representing local, state, national, and international organizations. Speakers including Drs. Joseph Burzynski, Demetre Daskalakis and Margaret Oxtoby discussed the efforts undertaken by the department to eliminate TB in New York City. Dr. Phil LoBue presented the national perspective on TB elimination. Mr. Jose Luis Castro from The Union and Ms. Jane Coyne from the United Nations presented the global TB context and its relevance to New York City. Followed by a series of panel discussions addressed three aspects of building a framework for TB elimination in New York City: research and tools, advocacy, and prevention and care.

After lunch, panelists described innovative approaches to TB elimination, highlighting the development of the California TB Elimination strategy, the scaling up of LTBI services at a community health center in Massachusetts, and the expansion of Project ECHO in New Mexico.

To read more about the TB Summit, and to learn how you can join the Coalition for a TB-Free New York City, click here:

Submitted by Bureau of TB Control, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

William Stead Clinician Award

Dana Kissner, MD, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan was presented with 2018 William Stead TB Clinician of the Year at the National Tuberculosis Controllers Association (NTCA) conference, held May 21-24 in Palm Springs, CA. William Stead Clinician Award is given every year by NTCA in recognition for outstanding commitment and performance by a clinician providing TB care, leadership, or mentoring.

Dr. Kissner joined the faculty at Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1985, and has managed the Detroit Tuberculosis Clinic since 2007. At the time, the TB clinic encountered several challenges with a month long investigation of an active MDR-TB cluster outbreak in Detroit. She was the pulmonary physician who took over the struggling program then. In spite of these circumstances, Dr. Kissner built an effective DOT program and modernized the entire TB program, utilizing “bread and butter” practical management.  Within 5 years after her initial efforts, no further MDR cases have appeared in Detroit. 

Pictured above (left to right): Peter Davidson, Julie Vaishampayan, Dana Kissner, and James Sunstrum

The Detroit TB program is part of a mainstream clinical location on the campus of Wayne State University School of Medicine.  Dr. James Sunstrum, TB Clinic Director from the Wayne County Department, states “Dr. Kissner has worked tirelessly to advocate on behalf of TB patients, not only within the City, but throughout the State of Michigan.  The active TB case count in Detroit for 2007 was 62 cases, and in 2017 the count was down to 24.”

Dr. Kissner’s dedication to TB prevention, care and elimination continues to be an inspiration, her passion towards teaching and advocacy serves as a tremendous attribute that all of us can learn and implement.

New England TB Hero Award
New England TB Hero is an award presented by the New England TB Consortium to recognize an extraordinary contribution to the care or management of patients with TB and LTBI or an activity that greatly enhanced TB prevention and control efforts in a locality or in a state. This year there were two awardees who have exceptionally contributed to TB control and prevention.

Karen McKim, RN, Public Health Nurse for the City of Quincy, Massachusetts was nominated as one of the New England TB Hero as she has managed a variety of very complex TB cases over the duration of her tenure in this position. However, this past year she has diligently managed cases including a patient with MDR TB requiring both IV infusion and daily injections, persons who are terminally ill with active TB, and a host of other extremely complicated pulmonary and extra-pulmonary cases.

Pat Iyer presenting the award to Karen McKim

As a seasoned public health nursing professional, Karen provides seamless care to the residents of Quincy. From the onset, she has developed trusting relationships with very different patients and their families, navigating their care through initial and ongoing treatment, managing their complex medical and social needs, and compassionately gaining their trust as she seamlessly provides case investigation and case management services.  She is proactive in anticipating the patient’s clinical needs but never loses sight of the need to engage the patient in a respectful and empowering way.

The second recipient of the New England TB Hero Award is Yvette Mateo. Yvette has been with the Connecticut Department of Public Health Tuberculosis (TB) Program for 20 years. During that time, her primary role has been as the point person for billing and managing reimbursements for TB care in the state for persons who are uninsured. Over the last year and a half, Yvette’s duties have expanded to include TB case management responsibilities. Yvette has a way of connecting with patients and making them feel comfortable. Her ability to easily build rapport with patients has become indispensable over the last six months.

Lynn Sosa presenting the award to Yvette Mateo

In January 2018, a patient with pleural TB was reported to the TB Program. This patient spoke little English and after several weeks in the hospital, had grown frustrated and wanted to leave against medical advice. Yvette was able to speak with the patient in the hospital and explain the importance of staying to ensure their tolerance to the medications and to protect the patient’s infant child at home. The patient calmed down, stayed in the hospital and called Yvette several times over the next few days to ask questions; Yvette took each call, no matter the time of day, answered their questions and offered the assurance they needed.

In a short time period, Yvette has proven herself to be an effective, efficient and compassionate TB case manager. Yvette was recently promoted to the title of Epidemiologist 1; to the Connecticut TB Program and her patients, she can also add TB hero to the list.