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New York Medical College Hosts TB in the Hudson Valley Symposium

The Symposium in Recognition of World Tuberculosis Day Was Presented in Partnership with Westchester Medical Center and the Westchester County Department of Health

March 26, 2024
Speakers at TB Symposium

An estimated 1.7 billion people worldwide are infected with TB. In the United States, 13 million people of all ages have latent TB, which if left untreated may develop active TB in the future, spread the disease, and feel quite ill. 

“This is a great opportunity to highlight the collaboration between the academicians, the public health sector, and clinicians, and for us to be sure that we bring state-of-the-art, evidence-based care to the residents of the Hudson Valley and that everyone who takes care of our patients has access to the most up-to-date information that scientists have found,” said Renee Garrick, M.D., executive vice president and chief medical officer, WMC, and vice dean and professor of clinical medicine, NYMC, in her opening remarks.

“TB has always posed a public health threat, and I think it often gets way too little attention here in Westchester,” said Sherlita Amler, M.D., M.S., commissioner, Westchester County Department of Health, adjunct professor of public health, and clinical associate professor of pediatrics at NYMC. “Our health department does a great job of treating TB patients and preventing its spread, but we cannot and do not do this alone. As you're here today, it takes all of us playing our respective roles, collaborating to mitigate this threat and protect the population.”

Neil Schluger, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine, and an expert on TB, presented a session during the symposium on faster, safer, and better treatments of latent and active TB available now. “Before I became dean, I spent most of my academic and clinical career working with TB, including starting my career in pulmonology running the directly observed therapy clinic at Bellevue Hospital in 1992 at the height of the TB epidemic in New York. TB has remained near and dear to my heart as a clinician, researcher, and educator and remains a public health concern,” said Dr. Schluger.

Additional presenters at the symposium who spoke on a range of TB-related topics included Edward C. Halperin, M.D., M.A., chancellor and chief executive officer of NYMC; Joseph Burzynski, M.D., M.P.H., assistant commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Bureau of TB Control; Davin Hatsengate, M.D., M.P.H., medical director, New York State Department of Health Bureau of Tuberculosis Control; Vincent Escuyer, Pharm.D., Ph.D., director of the Mycobacteriology Laboratory, David Axelrod Institute, Wadsworth Center New York State Department of Health; and Dial Hewlett, Jr., director of tuberculosis services, Westchester County Department of Health.