Tobacco Control Curriculum
The tobacco epidemic is a public health threat in many developing countries including China. To counter the spread of tobacco use worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) established the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 1999, which was fully endorsed by the member states on May 21, 2003. The Chinese National People’s Congress ratified the FCTC on August 27, 2005. However, lack of public health personnel, trained as tobacco control advocates, has impeded the implementation of tobacco control activities associated with the FCTC.
Currently, near 100 universities in China have either a school or department of public health. About 5000 students graduate annually with a public health degree from these institutions. A significant number of these graduates work for the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCs) at the provincial or local level. Others work in various governmental offices, universities, or in other health sectors. The absence of tobacco control training in their curriculum means that they lack appropriate knowledge, attitudes and skills to advance effective tobacco control policies. This training deficit is caused, in part, by a lack of institutional resources and faculty members trained to work in tobacco control. Therefore, development of an infrastructure for training public health faculty and students in tobacco advocacy is urgently needed in China so that capacity for tobacco control can be enhanced.
The development of a comprehensive Tobacco Control Advocacy course for public health students is one of the two key components of our tobacco control capacity building project, “Building advocacy capacity for tobacco control among the public health workforce in China (China-1-15, China-RI1-15)”. The primary purpose of this project is to build the capacity of public health students to conduct tobacco control advocacy activities on their campuses. The Curriculum activities allow public health teachers and students to study and master tobacco control advocacy theories, methods and skills
Overall Project
This project had two key components. The first component involved curriculum development and the training of faculty from each selected campus to plan and teach a tobacco control advocacy course on their campus. In developing the curriculum for the faculty training program it was important that advocacy strategies taught would be effective and suitable for the Chinese culture. To assure this, the project developers reviewed the international literature and interviewed experienced international tobacco control advocates. Once the training program was developed, representatives from each selected campus were invited to Hangzhou for a five day training during which they would learn how to develop a tobacco advocacy course for their public health graduate students. Upon completion of this training program participants were to return to their campuses, develop a tobacco control advocacy course, have it approved by the appropriate persons/committees, and implement the course.
Second is the implementation of advocacy strategies by the students that have completed the tobacco course. In developing this project, we: 1) identified advocacy strategies suitable for Chinese culture, 2) developed a culturally-appropriate tobacco control curriculum, and tobacco free campus advocacy program, 3) established an evaluation plan that included formative, process and outcome evaluation ,4) trained personnel for the program, and 5)implemented tobacco control courses that trained students to advocate for tobacco free campus policies in all indoor environments in their respective universities.
Conceptual framework
This project was implemented based on Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills Model (IMB)(Fisher et al.2009. We think “motivation” is a core element in developing advocacy capacity. The overall goal of this proposed project is to build tobacco control advocacy capacity among public health faculty members and students. As a first step we examined medical and public health values as a starting point to understand motivation. We reexamined and studied the Hippocratic Oath, Declaration of Geneva and other ideological manifestos to understand the core spirit of public health. Students and teaching faculties ultimately concurred with our opinion that the central mission and goal of public health is to maintain social benefit and justness in relation to health for all people. Tobacco consumption is one of the major causes of death in both developed and developing countries and a major detriment to health and well being. Public health workers must be effective advocates for tobacco control. A key component of being an effective tobacco control advocate is to be able to identify, obtain and utilize advocacy messages. Once learned, the basic methods and skills of advocacy can be mastered only through practice.
Curriculum Objective
The course will be incorporated within social medicine or other public health curriculum, which are prerequisite course in each institution as required by the Ministry of Education. The primary aim of teaching is to build capacity for public health to conduct tobacco control advocacy activities. Curriculum is consisted with three aspects, basic theories, knowledge, and methods and skills.