LSU Health New Orleans Newsroom

Ali Named CDC U.S. TB Elimination Champion

Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria

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Leslie Capo

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has selected Juzar Ali, MD, FRCP (C), FCCP, Professor of Medicine at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, as one of ten CDC 2018 U.S. TB Elimination Champions. According to the CDC, the designation recognizes individuals and organizations for their work to end tuberculosis (TB) in the United States. Their successes serve as best practices to guide efforts to prevent and control the disease.

Dr. Ali, who specializes in Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine, is the medical director of LSU Health New Orleans Wetmore Foundation Program for Mycobacterial Diseases. The innovative programs he and his team developed and implemented have resulted in better coordinated and streamlined care, from referral to follow-up. The team opened lines of communication between primary care clinics, local hospitals, emergency rooms and homeless shelters. They established working relationships with those who treat the homeless including LSU Health New Orleans medical students who operate two homeless clinics in New Orleans, at the New Orleans Mission and Ozanam Inn. Ali’s team also launched a Video Direct Observed Therapy pilot program for patients with latent TB, which has reduced inconvenience for patients as well as the use of system resources and personnel. They also established a medical home for TB patients that recognizes the importance of family in treatment compliance and provides multidisciplinary support and case management.

The CDC noted, “This project underscores the importance of ‘connecting the dots’ of TB care with primary and community care, in addition to ensuring treatment completion. This helps in closing the healthcare delivery loop for individual clients and patients in TB elimination and establishes access pathways with primary care and specialty care if needed. It streamlines care coordination between clinical, academia, community, and public health systems. Improved overall patient care, enhanced patient engagement, experience, reduction in redundancy, and cost of care are some of the potential overall benefits of constructing a TB Medical Home concept in addition to the ability to focus on aggressive comprehensive treatment, testing contacts, and follow through of TB patients with other co-morbid conditions.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, “Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious and often severe airborne disease caused by infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) bacteria. TB typically affects the lungs, but it also can affect any other organ of the body. It is usually treated with a regimen of drugs taken for six months to two years depending on whether the infecting organisms are drug resistant. Tuberculosis is one of the major causes of disability and death worldwide.”

Dr. Juzar Ali
The CDC reported that in 2015, Louisiana ranked 18th among the 50 states in TB rates (2.5 per 100,000 persons).

Ali’s clinical, research and academic niche is TB and non-TB mycobacterial disease.

“This honor recognizes Dr. Ali, a Fulbright Scholar, for his leadership and innovative approach to the prevention and management of TB,” said Steve Nelson, MD, Dean of LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine. “His outstanding research and lifelong work, both nationally and internationally, have contributed significantly to eradication efforts.”