L. Masae Kawamura, MD has been a tuberculosis (TB) clinician for more than 30 years, and served as San Francisco’s TB Controller from 1996 to the end of 2011. Over a decade ago (2003), under her leadership to promote public health innovation and improve operations research, San Francisco became the first jurisdiction in the U.S. to implement Interferon gamma release assay (IGRA) blood testing for TB as part of routine screening practice and contact investigation. In addition, in 2010, San Francisco TB Control began evaluating the GeneXpert TB test (Cepheid) in its ability to correctly diagnose active TB and its impact on workflow and program efficiency. She joined the global life sciences corporation, QIAGEN, in 2012 as Senior Director of Scientific and Medical Affairs for TB diagnostics.
During her tenure as TB Controller, she was the Co-Principal Investigator of the Curry International TB Center (CITC), a CDC–affiliated Regional Training and Medical Center of Excellence. Dr. Kawamura was part of CITC’s faculty and TB warmline consultant since its inception in 1994. She also served on the Federal Advisory Council for the Elimination of TB (ACET) for eight years, the last three as chair. In 2011, Dr. Kawamura completed a 2 year term as president of the North American Region of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union). She continues to serve as a member and is on the board of directors for Vital Strategies, the Union’s affiliate organization. She has served on numerous workgroups of the California TB Controllers Association (CTCA) and was an expert consultant for CDC’s Division of Tuberculosis Elimination on numerous guideline committees including both guidelines on interferon gamma release assays, nucleic acid amplification tests and the pending screening and prevention guidelines of foreign-born persons.
Prior to leaving the San Francisco Health Department, Dr. Kawamura was on the faculty of the University of California–San Francisco (UCSF) as an assistant clinical professor. She remains an active domestic and international advocate, educator and speaker on tuberculosis, and has coauthored and reviewed numerous TB publications.