Trainings for Primary Healthcare Physicians in Tobacco Dependence Treatment: For the First Time in Armenia

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YEREVAN, Armenia – The American University of Armenia (AUA) School of Public Health’s (SPH) Center for Health Services Research and Development (CHSR) in collaboration with the Global Bridges Healthcare Alliance for Tobacco Dependence Treatment conducted a series of evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment trainings for primary healthcare physicians in Yerevan and Gyumri in May 2016. Yerevan and Gyumri Municipalities helped to identify the training participants.

Smoking cessation trainings were conducted by the CHSR’s senior researcher Arusyak Harutyunyan, MD, MPH and research assistant and clinical psychologist Armine Abrahamyan, MS, MPH and the senior lecturer from the Department of Family Medicine, Yerevan State Medical University Armine Danielyan, PhD. Dr. Arusyak Harutyunyan, the Principal Investigator of this project, is the only expert in Armenia that has the Mayo Clinic’s provisional Tobacco Treatment Specialist Certificate.

The training program included topics on tobacco epidemics, neurobiology of nicotine addiction, the role of primary healthcare professionals in smoking cessation, motivational interviewing, pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation, as well as relapse prevention. The training materials were developed based on evidence-based international resources and were adapted to the local context using the findings of the formative research that the CHSR conducted within this project. In the scope of the training, the trainers used breath carbon monoxide (CO) monitors as an example of motivational visual aid in smoking cessation. Overall, 58 primary healthcare physicians (family physicians and general therapists) from 18 polyclinics in Yerevan and Gyumri participated in the 2-day trainings. All participants received five continuing medical education (CEM) credits from the Ministry of Health (MoH) of RA.

The participants valued highly the training sessions’ in their evaluations. Here are a few quotes from them:

“Within relatively short time we received impressive amount of knowledge on smoking cessation. The training was interactive, informative, and up-to-date. I am going to use the knowledge and skills obtained during the training in my daily practice.”

“The training enhanced my knowledge and made me more confident in providing smoking cessation counseling to my patients.”

“I like the teaching methods: the course was interactive, materials were comprehensive and easy to understand. Overall the training was well organized”.  

The grant, presented by Global Bridges Healthcare Alliance for Tobacco Dependence Treatment, hosted by Mayo Clinic, and Pfizer Independent Grants for Learning & Change (IGLC), is part of the program to support healthcare professional training and advocacy around the world. The CHSR is one of 19 organizations worldwide selected to receive this award to expand the work in the field of tobacco dependence treatment.

The AUA School of Public Health works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and the region through interdisciplinary education and development of public health professionals to be leaders in public health, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides US-style education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values.

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