Online Course: Awareness of Hansen’s Disease in the United States: Basic Diagnosis, Treatment & Management of Complications

National Hansen's Disease Program
Education Department
1770 Physicians Park Drive
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Phone: 1-800-642-2477

Course Description

Presented by the National Hansen’s Disease Program, this online course aims to increase health care providers’ awareness of this unique and misunderstood disease.

Although Hansen's disease (HD), more commonly known as leprosy, is not a common infectious disease, it has not been eradicated from the U.S. population. HD is endemic in the U.S., particularly in the Gulf Coast region, with 100 to 150 new cases diagnosed each year.

Fifty years ago, cases were detected in the port cities and the Gulf Coast region. These patients with the disease were institutionalized to the Gillis W. Long Hansen’s Disease Center, located in Carville, Louisiana. This is no longer the case and patients are no longer institutionalized. HD is primarily treated on an outpatient basis and more cases are being detected in the heartland of the country. This fact increases the likelihood that those in the general medical community may encounter one or more cases of HD and find this information useful in the detection and management of the disease.

This online course:

  • Provides private practice and academic healthcare providers with the basic knowledge necessary to diagnosis and treat Hansen's disease.
  • Introduces methods used to prevent the disabilities caused by Hansen's disease.
  • Aids in the clinical diagnosis and management of more complicated Hansen's disease (Leprosy) cases.


  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Physician Assistants
  • Public Health Workers
  • Social Workers
  • Therapists

Upon completion, the participant should:

  • Be knowledgeable of the services provided by the National Hansen’s Disease Program
  • Recognize the cardinal signs and symptoms of Hansen’s disease
  • Describe the microbiology and pathology of Hansen’s Disease before and after treatment
  • Identify the varied clinical presentations of Hansen’s disease
  • List two basic treatment regimens used in the U.S. for Hansen’s disease and how patients are classified into these two groups
  • Recognize the complications of Hansen’s disease and be better able to recognize adverse effects

Lecture Series

  • Introduction, epidemiology of Hansen’s Disease and the services provided by National Hansen’s Disease Program (NHDP)
    James Krahenbuhl, PhD
  • Basic microbiology and pathology of Hansen’s Disease, pathologic changes seen during treatment and pathologic basis of complications
    David Scollard, MD, PhD
  • Clinical presentations of Hansen’s Disease, cardinal signs and symptoms, classification systems used in Hansen’s Disease, treatment regimens, and management of complications
    Barbara Stryjewska, MD

Cost: Free

Credit: 1 Contact Hour

C.M.E. Applied For:

(CME Credit is only available to physicians at this time)

This online course has been approved for 1.5 C.M.E. Credits by the American Academy of Family Physicians

  • Application for Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) credit has been applied for through the Louisiana State Nurses Association (LSNA), an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, Commission on Accreditation

(AAFP Prescribed credit is accepted by the American Medical Association as equivalent to AMA PRA Category 1 Credit toward the AMA Physicians’ Recognition Award.)

Course Registration

Interactive Online course Application Form (PDF - 222 KB)
We provide participants an online username and password, and 24 hour a day access to the course materials. The site contains PowerPoint presentations, notes, a discussion area and post-tests. Once enrolled, participants must complete all modules and post-tests within 2 weeks. Upon satisfactory completion of the course, participants will be mailed a CME certificate of completion.

System Requirements:

  • PC (Windows 2000, XP, VISTA)
  • Mac (10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5)
  • 128 MB of RAM
  • 2 GB of free disk space
  • Latest version of Adobe Flash Player (Download the current Flash Player for free) HRSA Exit Disclaimer
  • Ethernet or Wireless network card (for high-speed Internet connection)
  • DSL, Cable, T1, or Satellite high-speed connection (56K dial-up will work, but the online course system will run slowly)

Course Instructors

James Krahenbuhl, PhD – Former Director, National Hansen's Disease Program

Dr. Krahenbuhl has 35 years experience in leprosy research and general leprosy expertise. He has authored 120 peer-reviewed publications and 180 peer-reviewed scientific presentations.

He has lectured numerous times on this subject and has organized comprehensive seminars on the need for leprosy awareness in Springdale, Arkansas; the Lahey Clinic in Boston, Emory University in Atlanta and the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

As Director of the NHDP, a top training priority has been to increase the awareness that leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) does still exist in the U.S. and that the NHDP provides diagnostic, treatment, management and consultative services that assist private sector health care givers to manage cases of leprosy.

David Scollard, M.D., PhD – Former Director, National Hansen's Disease Program

After receiving M.D. and Ph.D. (Pathology / Immunology) degrees from the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago, Dr. Scollard, completed a one year of residency in Internal Medicine. He has taught pathology at the University of Hong Kong, the University of Hawaii, and currently at Louisiana State University in New Orleans.

Starting with a leprosy research interest at the University of Hong Kong in the late 1970s, he participated as Field Director for the combined Chiang Mai Uni. versity / University of Illinois Leprosy research project in Thailand.

Dr. Scollard has more than 30 years’ experience in leprosy work in the field, clinic, and laboratory venues. He has over 60 peer-reviewed publications and has authored several book chapters on leprosy and was the Editor of the International Journal of Leprosy from 2003-2005.

He was the Chief of Pathology for the NHDP Laboratory Research Branch from 1993-2008.

Barbara Stryjewska, M.D. – Chief, Clinical Branch, NHDP

Dr. Stryjewska obtained her medical doctorate in 1977 from the Jagiellonian University School of Medicine in Krakow, Poland. After completing her residency in Radiation Oncology, she served as an attending on the Oncology Service at the Centre of Oncology at the Curie Memorial Institute in Krakow until her immigration to the United States in 1988.

After immigrating to the U.S., she retrained in Family Medicine at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Yonkers, New York. She served as a Primary Care Provider in Baton Rouge, Louisiana until 2002, when she assumed the position of Director of Medical Services for the National Hansen’s Disease Program Clinical Branch, the only facility in the United States solely devoted to the treatment of leprosy.

In addition to her duties coordinating the overall care of Hansen’s disease patients who are seen at NHDP, Dr. Stryjewska also provides consulting support to physicians and health departments around the country and she regularly leads educational seminars on the medical, surgical and therapeutic management of leprosy.

John F. Prestigiacomo, MD, MBA – NHDP Blackboard Instructor

"Awareness of Hansen's Disease in U.S." Course Developer
After receiving an undergraduate B.A. Degree in Chemistry, Dr. Prestigiacomo attended Louisiana State University (LSU) Medical School in New Orleans, Louisiana receiving his MD degree in 1983. He then completed three years of postgraduate residency training in Family Medicine at both Charity Hospital and Hotel Dieu Hospital (now called University Hospital) in New Orleans as part of the LSU Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program. In January 2000, Dr. Prestigiacomo began participating in a joint pilot MBA educational program initiated by the LSU E.J. Ourso College of Business and Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. In December 2002, Dr. Prestigiacomo was awarded his Masters of Business Administration degree.

Since graduating from the LSU Family Medicine Residency Program, Dr. Prestigiacomo has served as a Primary Care Provider in the Greater Baton Rouge, Louisiana area.

In October 2006, Dr. Prestigiacomo assumed a part-time staff position with the National Hansen’s Disease Program. He serves as a Medical Officer involved in the diagnosis and treatment of new and ongoing cases of Hansen’s Disease.

Date Last Reviewed:  April 2018