Tuberculosis Voices Project of Snohomish and King County

28 people from across King and Snohomish County shared their tuberculosis (TB) experiences through the TB Voices Project in 2013. Their stories are personal, inspiring, and educational for the entire community. This innovative project is funded by the Firland Foundation.

The TB Voices Project documented individuals' TB experience using photos, video/voice recordings, and/or their written story. The goal of the Project is to bridge the gap of understanding between past and present tuberculosis experiences in Washington state and current TB realities locally and around the world.

"Older generations may view TB with only negative thoughts such as fear, isolation, and death. The TB Voices Project participants shared how we can now prevent, treat, and cure TB, but highlight that we must provide positive support to those with TB, and fight against the TB stigma that lingers in most cultures. Today, we can make the realities of TB different from the past." said TB Voices Project Director, Teresa Rugg.

TB is a bacterial disease that is passed person to person through the air. People breath the bacteria into their lungs where it may multiple. Yet TB can go to any part of the body and cause harm. The good news is that TB is preventable, treatable, and curable.

TB Voices stories are being shared on the TB Voices Project website and at community education opportunities/events throughout the state. The TB Voices Project exhibition will be on display at the Snohomish Health District, 3020 Rucker Avenue in Everett from March 17-28, 2014. A public ceremony to commemorate the participants of the project will be March 21, from 1:00-2:30pm at the Snohomish Health District in Everett (3020 Rucker Avenue.) TB Voices Project is also sharing participants' perspectives as a collective with TB health providers, decision makers, and the public to create a more compassionate and supportive community for those currently affected by TB. Rugg will be speaking at Seattle's Town Hall for World TB Day event on March 24, 2014.

Participants from Snohomish and King County came forward to tell their TB stories voluntarily. For many, this was not an easy decision. Jeannette, who spent much of her childhood at a TB sanatorium in Seattle observed, "Having TB carried the stigma with it, and I didn’t realize how heavy it was weighing on me until I decided to come to TB Voices Project and tell my story. I started delving into that kind of secret time of my life. The only person I had spoken about TB experience was to my husband. When I asked him if I should do the project, he said of course you should. He was excited for me, and inside I’m thinking should I really come out. Is it safe? At 76 years of age now, I was still harboring that stigma. This project has been a big relief to me because it has taken that stigma somewhat away and I can easily tell people about it."

A TB Voices video was created to share the messages that the TB Voices participants wanted the local community to understand. It provides information on the basics of TB, highlights several TB Voices participants sharing their TB experiences, and brings attention to the impact of TB around the world. The video is available on the TB Voices Project website

For more information, contact Project Director Teresa Rugg at 425.345.3958, or Find out more about the TB Voices Project at:

The TB Voices Project for Snohomish and King County is a project of TB Photovoice and generously funded by the Firland Foundation. Since 2006, TB Photovoice has worked globally to amplify the voices of individuals directly impacted by TB so that they, as well as their communities, can improve their overall health. TB Photovoice is based in Snohomish, WA.

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