Class project on U.S. tuberculosis risk gains interest from CDC, American Thoracic Society

May 31, 2019 • Uncategorized

By Sally Crocker

EstherannanUnder the mentorship of SPH professors Eun-Young Mun, PhD, and Erica Stockbridge, PhD, UNTHSC School of Public Health student Esther Annan recently tackled some of the key gaps and misperceptions related to managing U.S. tuberculosis risk in one of the highest-identified priority populations, those with Latent Tuberculosis Infection (LTBI).

LTBI is a disease that people can carry without knowing it. The infection can lie dormant for years or even decades without symptoms or being infectious.

However, per the CDC, as many as 13 million people in the U.S. have LTBI, and it’s estimated that anywhere from five to 10 percent of those individuals will develop active-stage TB at some point in their lifetime.

Annan’s class project attracted national interest, first through a recent oral presentation at the CDC’s Atlanta campus, to the agency’s TB Epidemiologic Studies Consortium annual meeting.

Her work was then recognized at the American Thoracic Society’s annual conference held in Dallas in May, where her poster presentation was commended by session facilitators.

“Esther deserves congratulations on a job well done and for representing us so well,” said UNTHSC public health professor Thad Miller, DrPH, who leads the CDC’s TB Epidemiologic Studies Consortium (TBESC) site at UNTHSC – one of the 10 funded TBESC sites across the country – and the North Texas TB Trials Consortium.

“It is exceptional to see how closely Drs. Mun and Stockbridge worked with Esther to take a class project to a national stage,” Dr. Miller said, “and we appreciate our CDC colleagues in Atlanta, whose many intellectual and other contributions allow our students to take part in applied and important public health research.”

The title of Annan’s project was “Latent Tuberculosis Infection (LTBI) in private sector healthcare: do persons with LTBI have health insurance and usual sources of healthcare?”