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Center for Tobacco Treatment Research and Training (CTTRT) Blog

Who We Are and How We Got Here

June 06, 2017


We, Center for Tobacco Treatment Research & Training would like to take the opportunity to tell you about our history. The work we do  and our dedication in addressing the problem of tobacco use.

Under the leadership of Judith K. Ockene, PhD, a focus on how to help people end tobacco use has been a natural fit for the Division of Preventive Medicine for nearly 40 years. We have contributed to much of the research and development of best practices in tobacco treatment. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health/Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program (MTCP) was established in 1992. We were awarded the first contract to provide statewide tobacco treatment training and technical assistance by MTCP. MTCP has continuously supported one of the most progressive tobacco control programs in the US.

By 1997 the Division established the Center for Tobacco Treatment Research and Training, led by Lori Pbert, PhD. At this same time, we were working with MTCP to develop the first Tobacco Treatment Specialist Training and Certification Program. The pilot program in 1999 we launched a new profession – the Tobacco Treatment Specialist.

The TTS training program was originally available only to health care providers in Massachusetts. It quickly became apparent that providers around the country were looking for this type of training. So, we opened program registration to participants from around the world. And eventually began to bring the training to off-site locations. So far we have reached over 9000 healthcare providers from around the world. Their clinical roles ranging from Community Health Workers to physicians.

But we knew there were many more people who could not travel to our programs here in Worcester, Massachusetts. So we wanted to find a way to bring the training to them. This led to the development of our Train the Trainer in Tobacco Treatment program. Through our Certified Trainers the UMass TTS training program has reached many more participants than we ever imagined. So far, the Certified TTS Trainers have conducted 23 programs since 2015.  

Our research efforts related to tobacco treatment continue with a particular area of expertise in adolescent nicotine dependence treatment. Dr. Lori Pbert, the Center’s director, led the publication of the recent review of best practices in tobacco treatment for adolescents. State-of-the-art office-based interventions to eliminate youth tobacco use: the past decade.

TTS TrainingWe are proud of our continued work to support Massachusetts Department of Public Health/Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program. We have assisted many health care agencies in their efforts to implement effective tobacco treatment interventions. We played an integral role in development and dissemination of one of the first quitline fax-referral QuitWorks program. In addition our faculty and staff are involved in many volunteer organizations. This include organizations such as; the Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence, and the Council for Tobacco Treatment Training Programs. Also American Academy of Pediatrics Center for Child Health Research Tobacco Consortium, and the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.

Watch for our upcoming blogs to learn more about our work and special topics to help you in your work. Click here to contact us for more information.