2004 Derek Dunn Memorial Senior Scientist Officer of the Year
CDR Laila Ali
CDR Ali worked for the Food and Drug Administration and was recognized for her professional achievements in food research to reduce the incidence of food borne illness in produce and to protect our food sources from terrorist events. As part of her work, she established a protocol to examine the effectiveness of several different disinfectants against infectious cells in a single assay, which will serve as a surrogate for evaluating new disinfectants designed to reduce or eliminate pathogens from food and food contact surfaces.
2004 Young Scientist Officer of the Year
LCDR Diana Schneider
LCDR Schneider worked with the Division of Immigration Health Services and was recognized for her exemplary work in preventing and controlling the spread of tuberculosis worldwide through the implementation of a surveillance system which facilitates continuity of tuberculosis treatment to detainees of the Immigration and Naturalization Service who are released from detention before they have completed treatment. A high percentage of these detainees are TB-positive and likely to spread the disease without proper follow-up of treatment. Dr. Schneider was commissioned in August 2000 and quickly made a significant impact on global public health. As Senior Epidemiologist of DIHS, Dr. Schneider designed and implemented an infectious disease and tuberculosis surveillance system that contributed to the Division’s ability to prevent the spread of tuberculosis worldwide. Dr. Schneider established the system with minimal guidance and with no prior system in place from which to work. The system has enhanced the ability of the Division and local health departments throughout the United States to facilitate continuity of tuberculosis treatment to detainees who are released from detention before they have completed treatment. These efforts on her part will prevent transmission of this disease, and more importantly, will reduce the development of multi-drug resistant TB throughout the United States and globally. In developing this program, Dr. Schneider worked closely with partners at other agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local health departments, Cure TB, TB Net, Ten Against TB, and the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission. To help reduce the burden of multiple reporting mechanisms on our health care providers, Dr. Schneider coordinated with many of these health departments to accept the DIHS TB report form in lieu of their usual report form. In addition to her epidemiologic work, Dr Schneider was active in policy issues related to TB continuity of care and was a leading force at the agency working with the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), to establish and implement procedures to facilitate post-detention continuity of treatment to individual who have active TB. Because of her ability to clearly and concisely communicate issues important to the Division, Dr. Schneider was asked by the Division Director to serve on a number of high level working groups addressing the elimination of TB, including the Advisory Council for the Elimination of Tuberculosis and the Federal TB Task Force. In addition, Dr. Schneider co-authored an MMWR article on Post-Detention Completion of Tuberculosis Treatment and was invited to present at several workshops, conferences, and national meetings on TB control. At the Division of Immigration Health Services and within some agencies within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Dr. Schneider is relied on as the expert in Tuberculosis control. In this capacity, she contributed to national guidelines and strategic plans that may affect the ICE detainee population, including the Federal TB Task Force Response to the IOM Report, Ending Neglect; the Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis Training and Education, and the guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Tuberculosis in Correctional Facilities. Dr. Schneider served as a key liaison between local health departments, the CDC, and DHS to facilitate efforts in TB control and prevention. In addition to her efforts working on infectious disease surveillance and post-detention continuity of TB therapy, Dr. Schneider took a leadership role in the Division in areas where scientific expertise was required. She conducted a literature review of forensic age estimation methods for assessing juvenile vs. adult legal status, which was used by the former Immigration and Naturalization Service to develop related policies. She also provided leadership and guidance to clinical and detention staff as part of preparedness efforts related to suspected SARS in the ICE detention environment. Dr. Schneider has been recognized for her efforts at DIHS. In 2002 she was awarded a Commendation Medal, an achievement Medal, an Outstanding Unit Citation, and a Crisis Response Service Award for volunteering her service in New York City immediately following the World Trade Center tragedy. Dr. Schneider earned the Commissioned Corps Training Ribbon and completed the basic requirements for CCRF. She is also a competitive cyclist.
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