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New Tobacco Treatment Specialists support quit tobacco resources in their communities

October 14, 2016

ANTHC’s Tobacco Prevention and Control program offers an annual Tobacco Treatment Specialist (TTS) training for those interested in becoming Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialists. This five-day intensive training teaches health care professionals the necessary skills to provide effective, evidence-based interventions for individuals who are ready to quit using tobacco.

This year’s training took place Sept. 26-30 and 40 health care professionals from 16 communities across the state attended including Dental Health Aide Therapists (DHATs), Community Health Aide Practitioners (CHAPs), Behavioral Health Aides (BHAs), health educators, nurses, pharmacy residents, social workers, respiratory therapists and community wellness advocates.

The course outline covered a broad range of topics, including an introduction to the tobacco epidemic, the biology of nicotine dependence, treatment strategies and relapse prevention, motivational interviewing to improve treatment outcomes and more. Many of experts in Tribal health care presented including Dr. Joseph Johns, Cardiologist at ANMC; Dr. Matthew Olnes, ANMC Medical Director for Oncology and Hematology; Meera Narayanan, Diabetes Surveillance Director at ANTHC; Mike Beiergrohslein, Pharmacist at Southcentral Foundation; Bethany Berry, Certified Nurse Midwife at Southcentral Foundation Prenatal Clinic; Dr. Cindy Knall and Dr. Jim Fitterling, both professors at UAF/UAA; and Dr. Mary Williard, Director of ANTHC’s Dental Health Aide Therapist (DHAT) Educational Program. In addition, Dr. Scott Leischow from the Mayo Clinic and Debra Golden from the March of Dimes were also featured speakers.

Participants that go through the course must pass a post-training test and complete a predetermined number of service hours providing direct tobacco treatment to become Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialists. The course is accredited through the Association for Treating Tobacco Use Dependence and is approved for continuing nursing education units through ANMC. To learn more about the course, contact the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program at or visit

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