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University of Iowa News Release

Release: Feb. 4, 2003

UI To Develop, Implement Teaching Materials On Tobacco

The University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine will collaborate on a nationwide project to develop and implement state-of-the-art teaching materials related to tobacco use and cessation.

The UI Carver College of Medicine is one 12 medical schools from across the United States to take part in the project, which is funded by a $1.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute. The UI will receive approximately $32,000 over four years for its involvement, which will include helping develop a comprehensive tobacco education program that could become part of a medical school's curriculum.

"Evidence suggests that teaching physicians how to advise patients about tobacco early in their education increases the likelihood that they will build on these skills throughout their careers," said Kristi Ferguson, Ph.D., director of the college's Office of Consultation and Research in Medical Education and the project's director at the UI. She is also an associate professor of community and behavioral health in the UI College of Public Health.

Tobacco users often cite advice from a physician as having been very influential in the decision to quit smoking, according to Alan Geller of Boston University, who is principal investigator for the project.

Jeffrey Wilson, M.D., a UI Health Care pulmonary specialist and associate professor (clinical) of internal medicine, noted that learning skills such as how to elicit a smoking history from patients, how to educate patients about the risks of smoking and how to advise patients about successful quitting strategies should help physicians become more comfortable in dealing with these issues in medical practice.

In addition to Boston University, the lead institution, other schools include the University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Massachusetts, Harvard University, Dartmouth Medical School, University of South Florida, Case Western University, University of Kentucky, Loma Linda University, UCLA, University of Rochester and Boston University.

National representatives of major primary care practice organizations, preventive health specialists, medical student organizations and cancer control advocates will work with project schools to assess current curriculum, develop new modules, train faculty how to use the materials, evaluate the curriculum and disseminate it to other medical schools.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACT(S): David Pedersen, (319) 335-8032,