Group at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health Receives $15 Million
to Fight Tobacco Use
national health organizations have committed $15 million to establish
the Tobacco Technical Assistance Consortium (TTAC) in the Rollins School
of Public Health at Emory University. The Consortium will help states
and communities develop and run effective programs to prevent and reduce
tobacco use in the ongoing battle against smoking-related disease and
death. Funding will come from the American Cancer Society, the American
Legacy Foundation, and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
"We feel honored to be chosen
for this pivotal role in the fight against the nation's leading preventable
cause of death," said James W. Curran, M.D., M.P.H., dean of the Rollins
School of Public Health. "Diseases caused by tobacco use kill about
400,000 Americans a year."
Dearell Niemeyer, M.P.H.,
executive director of TTAC, said that the new consortium is designed
to train persons who are responsible for tobacco control programs at
the state and local level.
"We have a rapidly growing
need for increased technical capacity in the tobacco use prevention
and control field," he said. "As a result of the 1998 Master Settlement
Agreement between the states and the tobacco industry, there is an infusion
of funding. Now we need to make sure that we have the people, the tools,
and the skills in place to use these new resources effectively. The
consortium can help."
The majority of TTAC's funding
will be used to provide hands-on services to assist communities in reaching
their goals for reducing the harm that tobacco use causes to their citizens.
"The Consortium will work
with national, state and local partners to improve methods for delivering
quality technical assistance," said Kathy Miner, Ph.D., associate dean
for applied public health and principal investigator. "Ultimately, in
our communities this can translate into changing how tobacco is promoted,
marketed, sold, and used."
The consortium will gather
and/or develop the necessary resources to fill existing gaps in training
at state and local levels. Plans for the Consortium include training
programs and consultations, along with an electronic library of resources,
to help health professionals and other community leaders strengthen
their skills in:
- drafting effective tobacco-control
laws and regulations;
- using broadcast media
to deliver effective messages;
- developing culturally
- conducting meaningful
smoking-cessation projects; and
- building community coalitions.
"Georgia is an excellent
example of how many of the states are using the Master Settlement Agreement
funds to improve the health status of their citizens," Curran said.
"Georgia has committed $15.8 million this year specifically to reduce
tobacco use. In addition, Governor Roy Barnes has led the state through
an extensive planning process to produce Georgia's first comprehensive
plan to reduce all cancers. The implementation of the Georgia Cancer
Coalition will establish Georgia as a national leader in the research,
treatment, and prevention of cancer. The Rollins School of Public Health
in partnership with The Winship Cancer Institute at Emory intends to
be a valued resource in helping the state to achieve this goal."
"The best opportunity we
have in Georgia to reduce cancer-related deaths is by decreasing tobacco
use. The Georgia Cancer Coalition is committed to this effort and proud
to have the leadership of TTAC in the state," said Russ Toal, president
of the Georgia Cancer Coalition.
"A recent public health report
shows that many states are failing miserably by not using funds from
the $206 billion Master Settlement Agreement for tobacco prevention
and treatment programs that save lives," said Steven A. Schroeder, M.D.,
president and CEO of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "The Consortium
will work with the national and community partners and existing tobacco
control programs to ensure that states put the right programs in place."
Michael M.E. Johns, M.D.,
executive vice president for health affairs at Emory University and
CEO of Emory Healthcare, noted that tobacco use causes many types of
cancer other than lung cancer.
"As a head and neck cancer
surgeon, I am painfully aware that tobacco contributes to cancers of
the oral cavity, pharynx, and larynx, as well as the esophagus and bladder,"
he said. "Tobacco use is also linked to heart disease and chronic lung
disease. If this new consortium is able in any way to reduce smoking
and other tobacco use, especially by children and teens, it will make
an important contribution to the fundamental mission of Emory Healthcare,
which is, quite simply, to make people healthy."
Ron Todd, national director
of tobacco control for the American Cancer Society, said "the goals
of the TTAC and its programs nicely complement the American Cancer Society's
central mission of eliminating cancer as a major health problem. The
consortium will be a benefit to all states wanting to develop comprehensive
tobacco control programs, not just those that have received tobacco
Dr. Cheryl Healton, president
and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation, added, "Legacy is excited
about supporting the TTAC, because helping states to develop effective
anti-tobacco programs is one of our key missions. Many states and communities
are gearing up their efforts for the first time, and the TTAC will provide
the expertise they need to develop successful programs and save lives."