West Virginia University Health Science Center

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West Virginia University Health Science Center

The Health Sciences Center provides a full range of Services.Their goal is to provide customer service and information to employees of the Health Sciences Center. West Virginia faces a unique set of health issues: a population at significantly higher risk of disease and early mortality than other states in the nation; rural communities with shortages of key health professionals; social, environmental, and demographic factors that contribute to poor health outcomes. The West Virginia Prevention Research Center (WVPRC) is one of 26 Prevention Research Centers funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These PRCs are housed in universities across the country and share a focus on public health in community settings. WVPRC researchers and public health specialists are committed to conducting culturally-appropriate research that benefits the health of the people of Appalachia. Their research focuses on examining the underlying behaviors and social conditions related to tobacco use, sedentary lifestyle, and poor nutrition. They strive to reduce health disparities related to race/ethnicity, geography, and socioeconomic status in West Virginia. In West Virginia, almost 28% of teenagers aged 14–18 years old smoke, but the Not-On-Tobacco (N-O-T) smoking cessation program has helped more than 1,000 teenagers in the state quit smoking. In West Virginia, 750 people have been trained as N-O-T facilitators. Many of the facilitators report that N-O-T training is helpful and that the program is compatible with their schools’ policies and is highly worthwhile. But less than 5% of facilitators have implemented the program. Researchers formed a partnership with the West Virginia state health and education departments, the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free West Virginia, and the American Lung Association (ALA) to develop N-O-T and deliver it in schools. NOT training is implemented by a state-level master trainer, who teaches regional coordinators and local facilitators how to introduce and maintain the program in middle and high schools. However, less than 1% of teen smokers have enrolled in the program in the past five years. Factors that contribute to low enrollment in the N-O-T program include insufficient time and resources for facilitators and schools to implement the program, and lack of administrative support. A centralized, statewide approach to implementation will ensure consistent, high standards for facilitator recruitment, training, communication, and program management and that N-O-T will reach many more teen smokers.