The University at Albany School of Public Health, Center for Public Health Continuing Education (CPHCE) in Rensselaer, NY provides professional development and education to promote policy change through evidence-based strategies that alter social norms and make tobacco less desirable, less acceptable and less accessible. The Center’s Tobacco Control Professional Development and Training Program trains grantees of Tobacco Free New York State, funded by the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Tobacco Control. Grantees’ work in all areas of the state takes an evidence-based, policy-driven and cost-effective approach to decrease youth tobacco use, motivate adult smokers to quit and eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.
The professional development and training track incorporates best practice approaches to training, learning and development, with a focus on systems thinking, persuasive communications and change leadership. It incorporates two major formats: online learning consisting of webinars, readings, assignments and discussions; and face-to-face workshops consisting of skills-based application. The training track focuses on leadership development and leading lasting change. It addresses the critical skills needed to advance tobacco control coalition work to mobilize communities and health systems for policy and systems change.
Skills learned better enable grantees to support initiatives that have strengthened clean indoor air laws, tobacco product placement laws and youth access laws. They develop and implement multimedia campaigns, community events and other strategies to inform, educate, engage, and empower the general population to decrease the social acceptability of tobacco use, making their communities healthier places to live, work and play.
Grantees also work with health systems to implement Public Health Service Clinical Practice Guidelines for Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence. In particular, they focus on health systems that address tobacco use primarily among disproportionately affected populations including people with low incomes, low educational attainment and poor mental health populations. The smoking rate among these populations remains significantly higher than the state average and has declined at a much slower rate.