African Americans continue to have higher rates of tuberculosis (TB) compared to other U.S.-born groups. In 2004, 45% of TB cases reported in U.S.-born persons were among U.S.-born, non-Hispanic blacks. In that year, the TB case rate for this group was more than eight times higher than the rate in white, non-Hispanic persons. A heightened response is necessary to address the disparate burden of TB among African Americans.

To raise awareness about the excess of TB in African Americans and to strategize about how we can change that, the Division of Tuberculosis Elimination of the National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and RTI International co-sponsored a summit, "Stop TB in the African-American Community." The meeting occurred May 16-17, 2006, in CDC's new Global Communications Center in Atlanta, Georgia. The summit co-chairs were Dr. Charles Wallace from the Texas Department of State Health Service and Dr. Rachel Royce from RTI International.

We invited a diverse group of community and religious leaders, health care providers, public health leaders, policy and decision makers, state and local health department staff, media representatives, academicians, and others who represent a broad spectrum of views to come together for this summit.

The keynote speaker of the summit was Dr. Louis Sullivan, President Emeritus, Morehouse School of Medicine and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. In addition, key CDC leaders also addressed the group, including Ms. Yvonne Lewis of the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities; Dr. Kevin Fenton, Director of the National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention; and Dr. Kenneth Castro, Director of the Division of TB Elimination. Dr. Garth N. Graham, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health of the Office of Minority Health, Department of Health and Human Services, also spoke.

Together, conference attendees sought to

  • Develop and expand awareness of why tuberculosis is important to the African-American community and ways that public health can prevent and treat tuberculosis
  • See the human face of tuberculosis and learn directly from a panel of patients about their experience of having tuberculosis
  • Strategize ways that individual organizations can join efforts in tuberculosis elimination
  • Formulate individual action plans and obtain tools to implement each organization's plan after the meeting.

Although modern medicine can prevent and cure tuberculosis, only the concerted efforts of the community in partnership with public health and medicine will ensure that tuberculosis is eliminated from the African-American community.

Summit 2006

For further information about the summit, view the following documents:

Summit Presentations

Also, you may view session notes and worksheets from the summit on the following password-protected page: