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First-of-its-kind tobacco treatment training program launched

New course expands capacity for Tobacco Treatment Specialist training nationwide

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

July 08, 2014
  Smoking cessation pioneers Lori Pbert, PhD (left) and Denise Jolicoeur, MPH, have launched the Train the Trainer for Tobacco Treatment program.
  Smoking cessation pioneers Lori Pbert, PhD (left) and Denise Jolicoeur, MPH, have launched the Train the Trainer for Tobacco Treatment program.

Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialists:

  • Understand the science behind tobacco addiction, nicotine withdrawal symptoms and effective treatments for tobacco use;
  • Provide clear and accurate information about the consequences of tobacco use;
  • Develop individualized treatment plans using comprehensive, evidence-based assessments and treatment strategies including effective medications and cognitive-behavioral strategies for quitting and staying quit;
  • Provide effective treatment for all forms of tobacco and nicotine use;
  • Work with a variety of populations including those with specific health issues;
  • Use well-accepted methods for tracking individual progress and outcomes; and
  • Serve as educational resources for organizations, health care providers and the general public regarding tobacco use treatment issues.

SOURCE: Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence (

A new UMass Medical School program trains health care providers how to teach their colleagues to help patients quit smoking.

Upon successful completion of the train-the-trainer in tobacco treatment course, participants will be qualified to deliver the renowned UMass Tobacco Treatment Specialist Core Training to other providers in their own organizations and regions of the country.

“A tobacco treatment specialist trainer can be an important resource integrated into a health care system,” said Denise Jolicoeur, MPH, senior project director for the Center for Tobacco Treatment Research and Training in the Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine. “They can teach a broad range of providers how to talk to their patients about tobacco use and help them be motivated to access tobacco cessation services and resources in their own communities.”

Nationally and internationally recognized as a leader in tobacco treatment training and research, the Center for Tobacco Treatment Research and Training has been training health care providers across the state since the inception of the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program in 1993. The center later extended training opportunities to out-of-state health care providers.

“As people heard about our training program and requested access to it, in 2001 we opened it to people able to travel here from around the country. Others then asked if we would be willing to come to their locations to provide training,” said Lori Pbert, PhD, professor of medicine and creator of the UMMS tobacco treatment training initiatives. “We have developed the train-the-trainer program to increase the availability of the UMass Tobacco Treatment Specialist Core Training for health care providers who are unable to attend one of our four-day courses.”

“Our focus always has been and continues to be on building capacity for high quality tobacco treatment services,” said Jolicoeur.

UMass trained and certified tobacco treatment specialists from across the country who were invited to participate in the first class in Worcester are enthusiastic about the opportunities the new program creates to train and guide their colleagues.

“Many providers still somewhat minimize the addictive properties of tobacco dependence. I’m looking forward to being able to train people and awaken them to the reality and the challenges tobacco users face,” said Cheryl Yates, currently the only trained tobacco treatment specialist at the Reading, Pa., Health System’s Tobacco Free Wellness Center.

“This program will enable me to give them concrete tools and strategies to work with their patients who are trying to quit.”