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Strategies for involving IMGs in community-based TB control activities: Formative research to identify innovative approaches to increase access to foreign-born populations

Kelly Detsch, MPH, Bill L. Bower, MPH, Kenneth Holley, BA, and Paul Colson, PhD. Charles P. Felton National Tuberculosis Center, 2238 Fifth Avenue, First Floor, New York, NY 10037, 212-939-8240, kellydetsch@aya.yale.edu

Background: International medical graduates (IMGs) have the potential to benefit TB control efforts as they provide better access to foreign-born populations, which are at increased risk for TB infection and disease. The involvement of IMGs may also decrease language barriers, increase cultural competency, and provide a unique prospective toward TB control and prevention. However, in many jurisdictions, IMGs have limited involvement in TB control, prevention, and education activities. Methods: To further explore the roles of IMGs and develop strategies to increase their involvement in TB control, open-ended questionnaires were developed and piloted to target TB Control Officers and IMGs with a diversity of backgrounds. Questionnaires covered a variety of topics concerning IMG involvement in community-based TB prevention, treatment beliefs, and educational activities. More than 20 telephone interviews were conducted with participants from around the United States. Participants were interviewed by phone to determine common themes and to identify successful innovative approaches. Results: Interviews gave insight into how to limit barriers that hinder IMG involvement in TB control and examples of innovative programs used in local jurisdictions. Interviews showed: 1) IMGs enhance TB control through their diversity of knowledge and experiences, 2) Differences of opinion arise regarding LTBI treatment and BCG and other aspects of TB control, 3) Barriers, such as the “one-size fits all approach,” exist that limit IMG involvement in TB control. Conclusion: Flexible and creative programs involving IMGs can help increase access to care for high-risk foreign-born populations and enhance cultural competency in TB control efforts.

Learning Objectives:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

HIV/AIDS: Testing, Prevention and Service

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA