Collaboration with the North American Quitline Consortium & Smoking Cessation Leadership Center

DECEMBER 04, 2013

DENVER — Beyond the 5 A’s: Improving Cessation Interventions through Strengthened Training

National Jewish Health and the North American Quitline Consortium, in collaboration with the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, brought health care professionals together to improve the frequency and effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions at Beyond the 5 A’s: Improving Cessation Interventions through Strengthened Training conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, from November 13 – 15, 2013.  The conference, supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer, Inc., brought together 167 professionals currently designing and delivering smoking cessation provider education, public health experts, health care providers, and researchers to translate recent advances in knowledge about smoking-cessation into concrete actions.   

“Pfizer’s Independent Grants for Learning & Change Department has provided us with an exciting and important opportunity to advance smoking cessation efforts and education,” said David Tinkelman, MD, medical director of Health Initiatives at National Jewish Health. “Our partnerships with the North American Quitline Consortium and the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, two of the nation’s leaders in tobacco-related cessation efforts, were instrumental in bringing together the professionals who have the ability to impact and change behavior to improve smoking cessation rates nationally.”

The goal is to improve future outcomes by beginning to think about smoking cessation interventions beyond the current best practice guidelines of the 5 A’s, ask, advise, assess, assist and arrange.   
Attendees of Beyond the 5 A’s: Improving Cessation Interventions through Strengthened Training examined recent advances in the science and practice of tobacco cessation. They discussed and shared their own best practices and challenges to improving the effectiveness and quality of smoking cessation interventions delivered within health care settings. The conference was a continuing medical education and continuing education-certified activity, and included certification for physicians, nurses, and certified health specialists.  

The conference included a variety of learning formats, including didactic lectures, break-out group sessions, hosted networking roundtable discussions, poster sessions, and an innovative “World Café Method of Facilitation,” where attendees gathered, shared, and learned from each other’s experiences.  Topics focused on innovative strategies to engage health care professionals in cessation efforts and how to promote advising their patients to quit, exploring the diverse needs of specific populations of tobacco users, and systems change and partnerships to strengthen cessation within specific health care settings.  Plenary sessions included topics related to the future of quitlines, The Joint Commission’s Tobacco Cessation Performance Measure-Set, tobacco user demographics, and changing provider behavior to increase cessation advice.

Presenters included Tim McAfee, MD, MPH, Director of the Center for Disease Control’s Office on Smoking and Health within the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Donald Weaver, MD, Chief Medical Officer for the National Association of Community Health Centers, and Ann E. Watt, Associate Director in the Division of Health Care Quality Evaluation at the Joint Commission.  
“It was wonderful to see so many dedicated professionals from different backgrounds, clinical settings, and geographic locations come together to share ideas and strategies about how to help smokers quit,” noted Dr. Steven Schroeder, director of the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at UCSF. “These were true public health heroes and heroines.”

The collaborating organizations have developed a website to provide conference highlights to those who were not able to attend, as well as to continue the important conversation between health professionals providing cessation efforts in an innovative online discussion forum.  In addition, visitors can access continuing education on this topic area on the site,

National Jewish Health is a leader in research related to the effects of tobacco and tobacco cessation as well as the nation’s second largest provider of quitline services, and a nonprofit multidisciplinary accredited provider of medical education.

National Jewish Health is the leading respiratory hospital in the nation. Founded 115 years ago as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish Health today is the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to groundbreaking medical research and treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders. Patients and families come to National Jewish Health from around the world to receive cutting-edge, comprehensive and coordinated care.  To learn more, visit

The North American Quitline Consortium is a non-profit professional organization that aims to maximize the access, use and effectiveness of quitlines; provide leadership and a unified voice to promote quitlines; and offer a forum to link those interested in quitline operations. It is comprised of over 400 quitline professionals at state and provincial health departments, quitline service provider organizations, research institutes and national organizations in the United States and Canada. The Consortium enables professionals from these organizations to learn from each other and to improve the quality of quitline services.

The Smoking Cessation Leadership Center is a national program office of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation which aims to increase smoking cessation rates and increase the number of health professionals who help smokers quit. The Center receives significant support from the Legacy foundation to focus on reducing tobacco dependence in the behavioral health field.

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