The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2009 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

THE ROLE OF THE RESPIRATORY THERAPIST IN PLANNING A STATEWIDE TOBACCO SURVIVORS NETWORK

Lawrence O. Bryant, Lynda T. Goodfellow; School of Health Professions, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA

BACKGROUND: Lung cancer is a principal cause of deaths for both males and females in the United States. In Georgia, lung cancer accounts for 75% of all smoking-related cancer deaths. According to the American Cancer Society, 10,000 Georgians die every year from tobacco-related illnesses. Respiratory therapists can play a vital role in mobilizing the community to educate young people on the hazards of tobacco use. Empowering survivors, students, community partners, and educators to collectively communicate these hazards may play a significant role in tobacco control advocacy efforts. The aim of this study is to assess the role of the respiratory therapist in the planning and implementation and evaluation of a tobacco survivors network (TSN). METHODS: Area community based organizations agreed to attend a focus group in August 2008 to discuss strategies for recruiting survivors for a one-day training to help establish a tobacco survivors network in the state of Georgia. Respiratory Therapy (program faculty and student advocates) in collaboration with local community tobacco cessation organizations provided recommendations and suggestions that laid the ground-work for the formation of a survivors network. RESULTS: Fifty one survivors, family members, respiratory students, and friends of survivors were trained as volunteers (table 1). Three respiratory therapy student advocates applied for and received mini-grants to make presentations at area middle schools. These presentations were initiated by school administrators. Further evaluation of the project objectives reveal that students and survivors had an increased awareness of Georgia’s tobacco problem after attending the training. This finding was reflected in the post-training evaluations. As a result, when asked if they thought differently about tobacco control, 92% of respondents noted that they did. Eleven respondents signed up to be part of our speaker’s bureau, four of whom were cancer survivors. CONCLUSION: The formation of a Tobacco Survivors Network can lay the ground-work for both survivors and students to advocate for tobacco control and help prevent the initiation of smoking among youth. Sponsored Research - None

Breakdown of Participants (n=51)

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