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Amy Ferketich, PhD

Award Name Community Engagement Pilot 2008
Award Date 03/01/2009


Conducting Smoking Cessation Intervention in Appalachia

Amy Ferketich, PhD, OSU College of Public Health, was awarded a pilot project for community engagement in research by The Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science and the Cancer Control Program. Ferketich is using the pilot funding to do qualitative work, interviewing clinicians, office staff, and Medicaid enrolled smokers about smoking cessation.

Ferketich is examining the feasibility of establishing a smoking cessation intervention in Medicaid offices in Appalachia.

“My interest is in developing a smoking cessation intervention that will start in Medicaid providers’ offices and then will extend to a telephone follow-up, with telephone counseling with a nurse,” Ferketich said.

Before an intervention can be developed, Ferketich is asking Medicaid providers and their staff to describe their concerns and past experiences with smoking cessation. Physicians typically believe addressing tobacco-use may hurt their relationships with their patients. One goal of this study is to see if the training portion of the intervention changes the physician’s attitude towards smoking cessation after one month.

Ferketich is also interviewing Medicaid enrolled smokers to better understand their experiences with providers, perceptions of smoking cessation, and their past attempts to quit.

Appalachia was ideal for this study because it has high rates of tobacco-associated illnesses and 48% of Medicaid enrollees are smokers. The last time the U.S. had rates that high was in 1957, with a rate of 46%.

“Smoking rates are very high in that part of [Ohio]. There is just a great need for getting more smoking cessation resources to that area,” Ferketich said.

Gallipolis, where the study took place, is a rural area, and statistically most rural areas have yet to see a decline in smoking trends. The area is also very accepting of tobacco use because of local tobacco production and the dependence on tobacco crops for income.

Ferketich has experience in the Appalachian region and tobacco control from past research projects. She was a co-investigator on several projects focusing on cessation, including a study about Chinese-American adults in New York City and others focusing on Appalachian smokers and other underserved populations.

Ferketich has received an R21 grant from the National Cancer Institute to expand this study to other counties in Ohio. She is currently collecting data from other counties that she will use to develop an intervention. The Theory of Planned Behavior will drive the intervention, asking questions that relate to the theory which predicts how people will behave. She will then test the intervention and analyze the cost-effectiveness of it.

Ferketich hopes to create a successful smoking cessation intervention that will help those in the Appalachian region.

By Samantha Smith, Monday, November 16, 2009

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