School of Dentistry organized interprofessional speakers to train Tobacco Treatment Specialists to assist patients with quitting tobacco use

West Virginia UniversitySchool of Dentistry, in cooperation with the Office of Interprofessional Education, is providing training to Health Sciences students and healthcare providers regarding evidence-based tobacco cessation treatment in West Virginia — a state that is plagued with health problems related to tobacco use.

The Certified Tobacco Treatment Training Program (CTTTP) fills a need in the Mountain State, which has one of the highest tobacco use rates in the nation, according to Suann Gaydos, Master of Science in Dental Hygiene, professor and director of the School of Dentistry CTTTP.

Gaydos partners with Susan Morgan, DDS, a clinical professor in the Department of Dental Practice and Rural Health and CTTTP consultant, to work alongside interprofessional healthcare speakers to train future healthcare providers to become Tobacco Treatment Specialists (TTS).

This program is being offered to Health Sciences students in multiple disciplines including the School of Dentistry, School of Pharmacy, and the School of Medicine Physician Assistant program.

On April 11, 2022, Health Sciences students will come together for a one-day interprofessional session to complete their TTS training. In addition, the CTTTP will be offered on May 18-20. This three-day course will be offered in-person, with an option of taking 16 hours online, with a one-day mandatory attendance requirement to healthcare providers throughout West Virginia and beyond. The cost of the program is $660.

Prerequisites for the TTS program include an associate degree and licensure or certificate in a healthcare profession. CTTTP consists of a minimum of 24 hours of education which utilizes case-based discussions, interactive lectures, problem solving, role playing, and a written final comprehensive examination.

For more program details, visit the Tobacco Treatment Specialist program website.

“WVU is listed as one of 25 accredited programs in the United States,” Morgan said. “This accredited program will help train Health Sciences students to be knowledgeable and confident in providing evidence-based treatment to their patients and clients that are interested in tobacco cessation.”

As a certified TTS, they will use evidence-based tobacco cessation strategies to assist their patients and clients to quit tobacco use.

“These providers will increase patient and client access to evidence-based strategies in their communities,” Gaydos said.

Tobacco Treatment Specialists are trained to provide effective, evidence-based interventions for tobacco dependence across a range of intensities. Specialists work in a variety of settings including hospitals, community health centers, medical and dental practices, educational settings, social service agencies, treatment centers, quit lines, mental health centers.

In addition to providing treatment, specialists educate others about tobacco dependence treatments.

“The death rate from tobacco use is so high,” Gaydos said. “For years we have been losing so many people to the use of tobacco. We should be treating it with more urgency.”

Statistics indicate that people want to stop using tobacco but have a low success rate without assistance. It’s why West Virginians need access to this program, according to Morgan.

There are many health and dental conditions tobacco use can cause. A lot of people know about the effect tobacco has on the lungs, but people do not realize what it can do to the oral cavity, explained Gaydos.

Smoking negatively impacts almost every organ in the body, including the mouth. For a complete list of the effects smoking visit the program website.

“The combination of tobacco cessation medications and counseling have been shown to double success rates with tobacco cessation,” Morgan said. “We need to make sure providers are knowledgeable with prescribing medications for tobacco cessation and that cessation champions are adequately equipped with the knowledge to help those that want to quit using tobacco. A major goal of this program is to put providers throughout the West Virginia who can help people that are highly addicted to nicotine and want to quit but can’t.”

“Through this program, we are hoping to improve the lives of individuals we touch,” Gaydos said. “We are hoping to lower West Virginia’s tobacco-use-rate, improve the health of residents and provide health care professionals with evidence-based knowledge to help people quit using tobacco.”

“The 2022 CTTTP will be a pilot program for this curriculum initiative, with the hope of expanding to the rest of the Schools in the HSC.”

For CTTTP contact information click here.