For Immediate Release
Contact: Tom Capezzuto
At UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School: UMDNJ Researcher Leading Epidemiological Study to Prevent TB in Foreign-Born Residents
6/13/05—A researcher at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is a principal investigator of a nationally funded epidemiological study to prevent tuberculosis in foreign-born residents.
The study, funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will involve about 1,500 persons who have TB, including approximately 100 in New Jersey, said Dr. Amy Davidow, associate professor at the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School in Newark. Subjects will be selected randomly and be invited to join the study, she said.
"In New Jersey, 70 percent of all TB cases in 2004 occurred among foreign-born residents, many of whom acquired the infection prior to emigrating from other countries," said Dr. Davidow.
The questionnaire being used to interview participants will provide researchers with information about demographics, health insurance, medical history, medical treatment and how it was sought by the patients, history of travel to different countries, knowledge of tuberculosis and exposure to others who may have had TB.
The researchers who designed the study are members of the TB Epidemiologic Studies Consortium, a group of health departments, universities, research organizations and non-profit agencies in the U.S. and Canada who are conducting studies with the goal of eliminating TB in the U.S. and Canada.
"This consortium is conducting important tuberculosis research projects that will bring our nation closer to the ultimate goal of eliminating TB," said Dr. Lee B. Reichman, professor of medicine and executive director of the New Jersey Medical School National Tuberculosis Center at UMDNJ, a participant in this study.
The study, which is being conducted in 17 states and two Canadian provinces, was designed with input from community organizations that serve persons from Latin America, Asia, Africa and Haiti, where TB rates are much higher than in the U.S.
"We want to find out where the gaps are so that we can more effectively prevent TB in our foreign-born residents," Dr. Davidow said. "Since many of the people who will be interviewed do not speak English, the study questionnaire was translated into 10 major languages, including Spanish, French, Tagalog, Hindi, Vietnamese, Chinese and Haitian Creole."
In a pilot study completed last year, researchers conducted interviews in 15 languages, including Marshallese and Somali.
"This is a very significant study for immigrant and refugee communities as well as the general public," Dr. Davidow said. "We are asking immigrant and refugee-based organizations and health care providers who serve these communities to encourage community participation in this study."
For more information about the study, call Dr. Davidow at (973) 972-4587.
The UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School is one of three medical schools of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. UMDNJ comprises New Jersey's only medical schools, the state's only dental school, a nursing school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions and a school of public health on campuses in Newark, Piscataway/New Brunswick, Camden, Stratford and Scotch Plains. It is affiliated with more than 200 health care and educational institutions throughout the state.