Northeastern Spotlight

Spring 2018 Volume 13 – Number 2

Training Highlights

Effective TB Interviewing for Contact Investigation – Lansing, MI

GTBI collaborated with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to offer a skills building training on “Effective TB Interviewing for Contact Investigation.” The course was held on May 2-4, 2018 at MDHSS in Lansing, MI and targeted local staff working in TB.
The course was tailored to meet the needs of the TB program and utilized a hybrid format with online and in-person components. Participants completed the introductory content via self-study as part of recorded lectures (sound and video) and exercises, joined a live webinar to review exercises and ask questions, and attended two and a half days of an in-person training. The 2.5 days focused improving skills for TB interviewing through the use of exercises, small group activities, and a TB interview with actors who played TB patients to simulate a “real life” situation. The authenticity of the role play interview was further enhanced thanks to a former TB patient and advocate who play the role of a “patient.”  The role play TB interview is always the most intense aspect of the course. Although many participants are nervous going into the exercise, they usually find it to be invaluable for assessing strengths and, more importantly, areas for improving skills in TB interviewing. 

 Attendees and Faculty during the Michigan CI Course

The training concluded with a congregate setting exercise to provide an opportunity for sharpening interview skills when meeting with key personnel at a congregate setting and highlight the importance of assessing the exposure environment (diagram of the congregate setting can be a useful visual tool). Participants felt that the course improved their understanding of TB interviewing and contact investigations and will positively impact their ability to communicate with patients and families in a responsive manner. The training also gave the attendees “more confidence in the approach to the TB interview” and “insights to watch for cues from the patient” to help guide the process. Adapting the content and format to meet the needs of the local staff and working with MDHHS to manage the logistical aspects contributed to the success of the course!

Submitted by Arpita Jindani, MSW, MA – Health Educator


TB Beyond the Basics: What Every NH Provider Needs to Know – Manchester, NH

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services and the Global Tuberculosis Institute co-sponsored a 1-day TB conference on June 1, 2018. Forty-five providers working in infection prevention, public health, family medicine and community health attended the training in Manchester, NH.

Dr. Elizabeth Talbot discussing at the conference

Topics were carefully chosen for relevance to needs of TB providers within the New Hampshire, including updated recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, new diagnostics and therapeutics in the pipeline, approaches for providing culturally responsive TB care and updates in the management of MDR TB (lessons from the global front). In addition, the conference delved deeper into specific aspects of TB infection in order to emphasize key messages related to which test to use, how to interpret the test results and factors to consider in regimen selection with a push toward shorter regimens when appropriate. An interactive session addressed questions from the audience based on issues that providers encounter in their own practice. Many enjoyed the discussion as it illustrated diagnostic challenges and the opportunity to hear from a variety of colleagues. This conference united a diverse group of community stakeholders to build partnerships, educate the community and raise awareness that TB is still a significant health issue in New Hampshire and around the world.

Submitted by Shwata Suresh Kumar, MPH – Health Educator

Identify, Test and Treat: Making Strides Toward TB Elimination – Harrisburg, PA

The Pennsylvania Department of Health in conjunction with GTBI held a 1-day conference on June 19, 2018. Ninety-eight health care providers including nurses, physicians, and public health professionals who are involved in the diagnosis, treatment and management of persons with TB infection and disease attended the training in Harrisburg, PA. This was by far, the highest attendance for the conference due in large part to the efforts by the State TB Program for targeted marketing to the primary audience.  

Dr. Edward Zuroweste during his presentation

As the title reflects, the main theme for the conference focused on the identification, testing, and treatment aspects of TB infection. Topics were selected based on the specific needs of TB providers in Pennsylvania, including local experiences with using 3HP for increasing patient adherence and treatment completion rates for TB infection, use of appropriate testing for the diagnosis of TB disease and understanding travel restrictions for patients who pose a flight risk.  Participants found the conference to be very useful with many indicating that they would like a conference like this every year! The major strengths of the conference include the range of topics, content experts, the diverse content and the combined efforts of the partners involved. The time allocated for discussions after each talk was appreciated by the participants as they were able to learn more and had an opportunity to interact with other providers working in TB.

Submitted by Shwata Suresh Kumar, MPH – Health Educator