After 50 years of public campaigns explaining the dangers of cigarette smoke, it’s a good bet that every smoker out there knows he or she should quit. And most of them have tried to quit at least once. In a recent survey, 80 percent of smokers in Allen County said they would like to quit.
That 80 percent – and the other 20 percent, when they finally come to their senses – need help. That’s the purpose of a new program launched today by Activate Allen County.
This week, 25 Allen County residents will receive training to become Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialists. That means by week’s end we will have 25 new professionals trained to provide the sort of evidence-based programming that can help smokers quit for good.
Quitting isn’t easy, and neither is the training to become a CTTS. The trainer, Denise Jolicoeur, MPH (Masters in public health), is from the University of Massachusetts Medical School Center for Tobacco Treatment Research and Training.
There are three components to the training:
1. Basic skills for working with smokers is a self-paced, online course that is designed for health care workers who want to be well-grounded in the theory and practice of working with clients who are tobacco dependent. The course must be completed with a 75 percent on the final quiz in order to sit for the core training.
2. TTS Core Training is an extensive, four-day training in treating the patient with nicotine dependence. There will be a comprehensive test on Friday morning.
During the training, participants will explore the biological, psychological and social determinants for nicotine dependence as well as the pharmacotherapy of treatment. They will also learn motivational interviewing, cognitive and behavioral treatment strategies and intake, assessment and treatment planning
This curriculum is designed to address a set of core competencies first defined by the Massachusetts Certification Steering Committee in 1998 and further defined by the Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence
3. Certification of Tobacco Treatment Specialists, in which participants applying for certification must complete the above, and also accumulate the necessary tobacco treatment experience (in the form of counseling and educating). Applicants must also prepare and submit a case study to the TTS review board, then be interviewed by the review board.
The University of Massachusetts Medical School has been training and certifying Tobacco Treatment Specialists throughout the country since 1999.
This training is being offered to health care providers free of charge with the understanding that providers will use the knowledge and skills to improve tobacco cessation rates among low-income and high-risk members of our community, particularly people with behavioral health disorders and/or mental illness.
For more information about the certification process, what CEUs are available, and to learn more about what the course offers, visit: http://umassmed.edu/tobacco/training/index.aspx. Anyone interested in participating on future training, or if you would like to find out the location of smoking cessation programs in the area, contact Activate Allen County at www.activateallencounty.com.