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Practical approaches for tackling tobacco addiction topic of program for health care providers

That is the goal of a daylong continuing education program for Tell City-area health care providers that will be conducted by Indiana University schools of dentistry and medicine professors Oct. 13 at the Perry County 4-H Fairgrounds.

The free continuing education program, “How to Help Your Patients Quit: Practical, In-Office Approaches for Tackling the Problem of Tobacco,” is a collaboration of the Indiana Dental Hygienists’ Association, the Indiana University School of Dentistry, the Tobacco Cessation and Biobehavioral Group of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, the Indiana University School of Medicine Division of Continuing Medical Education and the Indiana University School of Nursing Office of Lifelong Learning.

The program is made possible by a grant from the Indiana State Department of Health’s Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Commission.

Tell City and other communities where the continuing education program will be offered through spring were selected on the basis of high rates of tobacco use among adults. The other communities include Richmond, Nov. 17; Madison, Dec. 1; Lafayette, Feb. 23; Vincennes, April 13; and Goshen, May 4.

The educators will deliver a comprehensive course on tobacco use and dependence that will cover such topics as nicotine addiction, systemic and oral effects of tobacco use, and the application of evidence-based behavioral and pharmacological tobacco cessation treatments.

“Most importantly, attendees will learn how to deliver a brief, effective, three-step tobacco intervention in their clinical practices,” said Lorinda Coan, M.S., a clinical assistant professor of dental hygiene at the dental school. She is a certified Mayo Clinic Tobacco Cessation Treatment Specialist and teaches tobacco cessation to dental hygiene students.

Because most adults see a health care provider at least once a year, that visit provides an opportunity to motivate them to quit using tobacco by pointing out the detrimental effects of tobacco use on their health, Coan said.

But health care providers often don’t take advantage of the opportunity, she said. There are several reasons, including fear that patients may be offended, concern that tobacco counseling requires too much time, lack of communication skills to effectively counsel patients, or lack of education and tobacco cessation materials and resources to provide to their patients.

Those issues can be overcome by tobacco intervention skills training, Coan said.

The continuing education program will teach the elements of an effective cessation intervention, including teaching effective communication skills, Coan said. Patient education materials and cessation resources will be given to the health care providers, who will earn 6 or 7 hours of continuing education credit.

In addition to Coan, other continuing education presenters are:

  • Arden Christen, DDS, an emeritus dental professor who served as a consultant to the National Cancer Institute, a technical expert for a committee advising the U.S. Surgeon General on the health consequences of using smokeless tobacco and a contributor to the U.S. Surgeon General’s 1990 Report on the Health Benefits of Smoking Cessation.
  • Stephen Jay, M.D., a professor of medicine and public health and past founding chair of the Department of Public Health at the School of Medicine. He is a member of the Governor’s Executive Board of the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency.
  • Laura Romito, DDS, an associate professor of oral biology at the dental school. She is certified by the Mayo Clinic as a Tobacco Cessation Treatment Specialist and is the director of the dental school’s Nicotine Dependence Program.
  • L. Jack Windsor, Ph.D., an associate professor of oral biology at the dental school. He is a cell biologist whose research focuses in part on the effects of tobacco on the oral cavity. He is the director of the Tobacco Cessation and Biobehavioral Group.

Registration is required for all participants. For more information or to register online, visit