A growing number of North Country medical and mental health providers have access to the support of a Tobacco Treatment Specialist (TTS). Primarily with the support of funds secured by the North Country Healthy Heart Network, a total of eight health professionals have now been trained as Tobacco Treatment Specialists, and that number is expected to grow to at least 10 by the end of 2016.Pictured above, top row r-l: Linda Savarie and Becky Boone, Adirondack Health; Troy King and Elise Rock, Northern Adirondack Medical Home. Bottom row l-r: Rachel Jacobs, St. Regis Mohawk Health Services; Veronica Bradley, Citizen Advocates; Bunny Adler; Planned Parenthood; Luanne Poland, CVPH
North Country TTSs all have completed one week of intensive training on how to provide effective, evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment, including use of pharmacological therapies, behavioral counseling and motivational interviewing. In collaboration with North Country Healthy Heart Network, TTSs work with the provider offices they serve to develop a process whereby the tobacco-using patient receives a brief (3-5 minute) evidence-based intervention that encourages them to think about quitting. When ready to try, the provider then makes a referral to the TTS for intensive tobacco dependence treatment.
The North Country TTSs have established an informal network where they can share and learn from each other’s experiences. To facilitate communication, the Heart Network created an email group that functions much like a listserve. “The TTS network has allowed us to draw on the experience and perspectives of a diverse group of people providing TTS services across several counties,” said Elise Rock, TTS for Northern Adirondack Medical Home/Clinton County. “When a challenging scenario presents, it is a place where we can have thought provoking conversations, voice concerns, and support each other as we work towards our common goal.”
The Heart Network sees the TTSs as being critical to the long-term sustainability of its Health Systems Change for a Tobacco Free NY work and continues to look for funding to help its Health Systems partners build that capacity.