Three leading national health organizations have committed $15
million to establish the Tobacco Technical Assistance Consortium
(TTAC) in the Rollins School of Public Health.
Funded by the American Cancer Society, the American Legacy Foundation
and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 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.
We feel honored to be chosen for this pivotal role in the
fight against the nations leading preventable cause of death,
said public health Dean James Curran. Diseases caused by tobacco
use kill about 400,000 Americans a year.
Dearell Niemeyer, executive director of TTAC, said 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, Niemeyer
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 TTACs 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, 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
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 appropriate programs.
conducting meaningful smoking-cessation projects.
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
of their citizens, Curran said. [The state] has committed
$15.8 million this year specifically to reduce tobacco use. In addition,
Gov. Roy Barnes has led the state through an extensive planning
process to produce Georgias first comprehensive plan to reduce
The implementation of the Georgia Cancer Coalition,
Curran continued, 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, intends to be a valued resource in helping the state
to achieve this goal.
Michael Johns, executive vice president for Health Affairs, 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, Johns said. Tobacco
use also is 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.