Members of the Project Quit Tobacco India (QTI) project presented on the first day of the conference in the plenary session. Their session was entitled “Introducing a comprehensive evidence based tobacco cessation curriculum in Indian Medical Colleges: Methods, Materials and Quit Tobacco India Experience”. The session began with an overview on QTI by Dr Thankappan, followed by a presentation by Dr Yamini Thankachy entitled “Introduction & Implementation of Tobacco Modules & Cessation Training in Medical Colleges”. The third paper in the session was delivered by Dr. G.K. Mini: “Smoking Cessation for Diabetes Patients: Results of a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial in Kerala, India. Following the session, CDs were distributed to interested participants which contained a few of the tobacco modules, tobacco cessation clinical videos, and QTI publications. Participants were referred to the QTI website for further information on the project and full access to project educational materials.
The session received an overwhelmingly positive response from the faculty of various medical colleges, who were quite impressed by the presentations. Many of the participants agreed that they did not have enough information on specific effects of tobacco on different medical conditions which they frequently saw in their practice. They also opined that tobacco cessation is a needed area and that they had not come across such a curriculum before. They were very appreciative of the clinical videos (one of which was shown during the presentation), since it captured the medical condition and the effect of tobacco on the condition, the patient response, and demonstrated how the doctor could provide information on tobacco cessation within the context of a medical encounter.
During the discussion, a number of questions were raised by faculty in the audience. These included:
- How were the modules actually implemented in the classroom?
- Did the faculty need to spend extra time and effort in the preparation and implementation of the modules?
- Were faculty members able to teach the mini lectures even though they did not have any formal training on tobacco and health or on issues of tobacco cessation?
- Where could faculty from other medical colleges obtain tobacco cessation training and how come they become certified as BI trainers?
- Did the website offer an online course on tobacco cessation?
- Were all materials shown in the presentation available on the website?
- Did QTI have any branches or partners in North India which could be approached for guidance?
- How have medical students benefitted from the curriculum and cessation training and when do they are these introduced in the curriculum?
Project QTI activities were highlighted in a ‘Times of India” newspaper article the day after the presentation. The article focused on the introduction and implementation of the tobacco curriculum and cessation and on the community program of “smoke free homes” in Kerala.
The IAPSM conference was an excellent opportunity to disseminate the research findings of Project QTI. Tobacco cessation modules and videos produced for the project were provided to the large national audience which was assembled comprised mainly of faculty from community medicine departments. Notably, these departments have successfully coordinated the implementation of the QTI tobacco curriculum in our partner medical colleges in Kerala and Karnataka. Thus, there is clearly scope and excitement about the spread of QTI curriculum and cessation training to other medical colleges in the country.
In the coming months, the main focus for QTI should be:
- To disseminate materials and publicize the website to as many medical colleges as possible throughout India.
- To provide a tobacco cessation course for doctors interested in certification as BI trainers.
- To develop the QTI demonstration video with both faculty and students to highlight how to implement the modules, the relative ease of implementation, and the utility of module implementation and training of medical students.
Dr Yamini Thankachy