Alexander Sloutsky, PhD, director of the Massachusetts Supranational TB Reference Laboratory (MSRL) and assistant professor of medicine at UMass Medical School, received a TB Hero Award from the New England Tuberculosis Consortium on Sept. 24 for his leadership in tuberculosis diagnostics. TB Hero award winners, who are selected from nominees from each New England state, are chosen for their extraordinary contributions to the care or management of patients with tuberculosis (TB) or for an activity that greatly enhance TB prevention and control efforts.
Dr. Sloutsky has led international collaborations that now enable some countries with the highest level of TB rates to detect drug-resistant TB on the local level. Because TB is stubbornly resistant to treatment, quality diagnostic testing and surveillance are key weapons in the fight against one of the most pervasive and deadly diseases in the world. Under his direction, the MSRL, which is part of an international network of 28 supranational reference laboratories, collaborates with the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide support and guidance for TB laboratories in Peru, Haiti, the Caribbean and other areas with a high burden of TB. The MSRL is managed and operated by Commonwealth Medicine, the health care consulting division of UMass Medical School. Sloutsky was nominated for the TB Hero Award by the Medical Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Tuberculosis, which described him as a “true leader and innovator, constantly working to improve existing laboratory methods, to bring in entirely new state-of-the-art methodologies, and to develop his own novel TB diagnostics platforms.” Citing Sloutsky’s international leadership in clinical mycobacteriology, the nomination commended him for “functioning in an advisory capacity to bodies like the WHO and bringing his expertise to resource-limited settings to help with mycobacteriology laboratory set-up and management. His work has truly made a huge impact on the care of TB patients at multiple levels.” Prior to joining UMMS in 2008, Sloutsky served as director of the Massachusetts State Mycobacteriology Laboratory—now the MSRL—in Boston, beginning in 1997. He holds master’s and doctoral degrees in microbiology and molecular genetics from Moscow State University in Moscow, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical and public health microbiology at University Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y. He also completed a postdoctoral program in biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. About Commonwealth Medicine Commonwealth Medicine (CWM) is the public, nonprofit health care consulting and service organization founded by UMass Medical School. Government agencies, nonprofits and managed care organizations benefit from CWM’s expertise in clinical service delivery, health care financing strategies, policy management and quality improvement. CWM programs have helped Massachusetts—and many other state, international and local health care agencies—to increase the value of health care expenditures while improving access and delivery of care to at-risk and uninsured populations. Commonwealth Medicine programs were developed, in part, as a way for UMMS faculty and staff to have a direct and profound impact on the communities of Massachusetts, and now provide critical opportunities for UMMS faculty and students to serve the community. For more information, visit www.umassmed.edu/commed.