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MGH researcher receives $4 million grant for smoking cessation initiative
Program will provide support, services to parents through pediatric practices

BOSTON - October 18, 2007 - A new research initiative could help millions of children grow up in smoke-free homes, help millions of adults quit smoking, and ultimately, save hundreds of thousands of U.S. lives. Jonathan Winickoff, M.D., M.P.H., of the MassGeneral Hospital for Children, has been awarded $4 million from the National Institute of Health for a national effectiveness trial to help protect children from second hand smoke by encouraging parents to quit.

"We will evaluate a previously developed, pilot tested, and theoretically based tobacco-control strategy aimed at helping parents quit smoking and eliminate child exposure to second hand tobacco smoke and its associated diseases," says Winickoff, who works at the MGH Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy.

Winickoff's team realized that, while much research has focused on smoking cessation initiatives in the adult clinical setting, parents may not have their own primary care clinicians. Even parents with their own physician often visit their child's doctor more frequently than their own. Based on this knowledge, the team developed an intervention to address parental smoking in the pediatric setting, employing smoking cessation techniques including counseling, proactive referral to regional and national "quit lines," and pharmacologic management of tobacco dependence.

Previous studies from Winickoff's group have indicated that quitting smoking adds an average of seven years to a parent's life, improves the health of the spouse, eliminates most of a child's exposure to second hand smoke, reduces poor pregnancy outcomes, eliminates the greatest cause of house fire mortality, and improves the family's financial resources.
"This trial may help the nation take a family-centered approach to tobacco control, refocusing efforts on the young adults and children who will influence and form a future, healthier, non-smoking U.S. population," says Winickoff.

The trial is set to start in 2008 and will recruit 50 practices from the American Academy of Pediatrics's Pediatric Research in Office Settings (PROS) practice-based research network. There are more than 700 PROS practices in the country, which provide care to 3 million or 5 percent of the nation's children. The findings from this study should be applicable to most pediatric practices.

If you think your pediatrician might be interested in this research, he or she can learn about the Pediatric Research in Office Settings (PROS) network at http://www.aap.org/ PROS/abtpros.htm. If you yourself work in a pediatric practice and are interested in joining PROS, information on how to join can be found at http://www.aap.org/PROS/hotojoin.htm. For more information on smoking cessation in pediatric offices, visit www.ceasetobacco.org.

Founded in 1811, the Massachusetts General Hospital is the third oldest general hospital in the United States and the oldest and largest in New England. The 900-bed medical center offers sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic care in virtually every specialty and subspecialty of medicine and surgery. Each year the MGH admits more than 46,000 inpatients and handles nearly 1.5 million outpatient visits at its main campus and health centers. Its Emergency Department records nearly 80,000 visits annually. The surgical staff performs more than 35,000 operations and the MGH Vincent Obstetrics Service delivers more than 3,500 babies each year. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the country, with an annual research budget of more than $500 million. It is the oldest and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, where nearly all MGH staff physicians serve on the faculty. The MGH is consistently ranked among the nation's top hospitals by US News and World Report.

Media Contacts: Valerie Wencis, MGH Public Affairs

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