Partnering to Improve Health Around the Globe
In June 2010, an international healthcare alliance to advance treatment for tobacco dependence was created at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, United States.
With initial funding from Pfizer Medical Education Group, the alliance, named Global Bridges, is led by Dr. J. Taylor Hays, Director of Mayo’s Nicotine Dependence Center. Its executive team includes Dr. Thomas J. Glynn (American Cancer Society), Karla Wysocki (American Cancer Society), and Executive Director Katie Kemper. Dr. Richard D. Hurt, Director Emeritus and Founder of the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center, was the chair of Global Bridges at its inception.
Global Bridges aims to create a coordinated global healthcare provider network that advocates for effective tobacco control policies around the world and reduces the health burden of tobacco use through best practices in tobacco dependence treatment.
Regional Partners for Success
Global Bridges has joined forces with experienced regional partners to advance evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment and tobacco control policy in their areas. Our active partnerships include:
Partner Organization: University of Pretoria, Pretoria South Africa
Regional Director for Global Bridges: Lekan O.A. Ayo-Yusuf, BDS, MPH, PhD, Associate Professor at the University of Pretoria, member of the WHO scientific advisory group on tobacco regulation (WHO TobReg) and a recognized regional expert on tobacco dependence research.
The leading research university in South Africa, the University of Pretoria, collaborates with world-class partners to ensure continued excellence in learning and teaching, and consistently attracts students from across the African continent. It houses robust research programs in both cigarette and smokeless tobacco, and provides advocacy for tobacco control.
Tobacco control is relatively new in Africa, as in many countries the tobacco burden is still low. However, the estimated prevalence of tobacco smoking in a number of countries is above 20 percent and is growing.
Further, about 25 percent of tuberculosis mortality in some parts of the region has been attributed to tobacco smoking. It is therefore important to arrest the growth of tobacco dependence before it spreads further.
Dr Ayo-Yusuf and the University of Pretoria are working with colleagues across the continent to build an active and integrated tobacco control network which can make a positive impact on the region’s tobacco burden.
Eastern Mediterranean Region
Partner Organization: King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC), Amman, Jordan
Regional Director for Global Bridges: Feras Hawari MD, is Director of the Cancer Control Office at KHCC and Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Service.
The King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC) is a dedicated medical center focusing on providing state-of-the-art comprehensive cancer care in Jordan and the Middle East.
KHCC is disease-specific accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), making it the first in the region and the sixth worldwide.
It has been a strong advocate for tobacco control in Jordan. KHCC is proudly the first hospital in Jordan to declare its campus 100% smoke-free.
The tobacco dependence treatment program was established in 2008 under the leadership of Dr. Hawari, and was then incorporated under the umbrella of the Cancer Control Office (CCO) established in 2010.
The CCO was created with a mandate to undertake evidence-based interventions and research with the aim of lowering cancer incidence, and related morbidity and mortality in Jordan.
Most EMRO countries have ratified the FCTC and passed some tobacco control law or decree; however, enforcement is often lacking.
In addition, only a few countries have structured tobacco dependence treatment services, making it even harder to address this epidemic.
Dr. Hawari and his team are leading activities to build the network and advance tobacco dependence treatment and tobacco control policies across the region.
Latin American Region
Partner Organization: InterAmerican Heart Foundation
Regional Director for Global Bridges: Gustavo Zabert, MD, a pulmonologist who also holds leadership positions in the Latin American Thoracic Society and the Latin American Coalition for Tobacco Dependence Treatment.
Executive Director, InterAmerican Heart Foundation: Beatriz Champagne, PhD, spearheads a number of initiatives around the region and is an investigator and organizer of the CARMELA Study of 7 Latin American cities to evaluate risk factors of heart disease. She is in the Executive Committee of GAPA, Global Advocacy for Physical Activity, International Network of Women Against Tobacco, and the Global and Regional Partnerships of the National Forum.
The InterAmerican Heart Foundation (IAHF) was formed in 1992 to:
- Promote an environment throughout the Americas that is conducive to the prevention of heart disease and stroke;
- Promote the growth and development of foundations that will take active roles in public education, professional education, public advocacy, and fund raising;
- Foster partnerships between health professionals, business, industry, and other sectors of society for the accomplishment of its mission and goals.
IAHF is a leading force in tobacco control research and advocacy throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Tobacco usage is also difficult to measure in this region but rates are at least as high as 42.1 percent for men in Chile, and 32.5 percent for women in Bolivia.
Only six of the 33 countries in the region have not ratified the FCTC and staffing and funding support for tobacco programs vary.
Healthcare providers have been prominent leaders in the region’s rapid policy progress, which will increase the demand for treatment.
Dr. Zabert and the IAHF are working to improve the availability of effective tobacco dependence treatment throughout the region. To date, they have trained over 800 healthcare providers from 19 countries across the region.
Partner Organization: National Centre for Smoking Cessation Training (NCSCT)
Co-Regional Director for Global Bridges: Andy McEwen
Andy McEwen is a nurse who has worked in acute and forensic psychiatry and now specializes in substance misuse treatment. He has been the Assistant Director of Tobacco Studies and Senior Research Nurse at the Cancer Research UK Health Behavior Research Centre, University College London since 2003. He is also a Senior Editor of the journal Addiction and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Smoking Cessation.
Co-Regional Director for Global Bridges: Emma Croghan
Emma Croghan is a Registered General, Sick Childrens and Specialist Public Health Nurse who has worked in tobacco dependence since 2000. She set up and ran an early Smoking Cessation Service in England within the NHS, has worked in practice, training, research and policy within tobacco dependence services and tobacco control at many levels, and was the tobacco control delivery lead at the English Department of Health until 2012.
The National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT) was established to support the delivery of smoking cessation interventions provided by local stop smoking services, support the NHS and local authorities to deliver effective evidence-based tobacco control programs, and deliver training and assessment programs to stop smoking practitioners and other health care professionals.
As part of its program of work, the NCSCT has identified the competencies (knowledge and skills) needed to effectively help smokers to stop and to conduct research into behavioral support given to smokers. The NCSCT has developed training, assessment and certification programs based upon the competencies, and also provides resources for commissioners, managers and practitioners.
In 2012, NCSCT conducted a scoping exercise to assess the treatment and training needs of the 53 countries which comprise the WHO European Region. Based on their findings, NCSCT is now helping to build and mobilize a network of Global Bridges regional advisors.