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Feasibility and effectiveness of a smoking cessation counseling program provided by medical students in a homeless shelter

Colleen Flynn1, Paul Didomenico1, Susan Nathan1, Michelle Pramick1, Mark Pascua1, Talya Spivack1, Sapna Singh1, James Plumb, MD, MPH2, and Rickie Brawer, MPH2. (1) Jeff H.O.P.E., Jefferson Medical College, 1015 Walnut, Suite 401, Philadelphia, PA 19107, 215-955-8363, colleen.flynn@jefferson.edu, (2) Office to Advance Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, 1015 Chestnut St, Suite 715, Philadelphia, PA 19107

The homeless in Philadelphia are a growing population with preventable disease, progressive morbidity and premature death. In Philadelphia, the median age of death for homeless men is 45. Heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death in the homeless aged 45-65, and may be linked to the higher incidence of smoking in this population. In a recent cardiovascular risk assessment project conducted in two homeless shelters in Philadelphia by Thomas Jefferson University faculty and medical students, through the Jeff H.O.P.E. (Health, Opportunities, Prevention and Education) Urban Health Initiative, 76% (240/314) of the participants reported smoking. In an exit survey, 64% percent of these men demonstrated an interest in a smoking cessation program. To address this interest and need, a smoking cessation counseling project was developed and implemented. The goal of the project was to assess the success of a personalized weekly counseling approach to smoking cessation in a homeless shelter. The program entailed weekly counseling sessions, in which the men were provided with smoking cessation education materials written at a 5th grade reading level, and, if indicated, nicotine replacement. The men who enrolled in the program (N=100) could meet weekly with medical students trained as a smoking cessation counselor. This study was analyzed on several variables elicited during patient interviews, including the progress along the Stages of Change continuum, the number of sessions completed, factors that assisted and/or hindered this population in smoking cessation, success of recruitment, and rate of relapse.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, participants will be able to

Keywords: Homeless Health Care, Smoking Cessation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Interventions, Evaluations and Research Issues and Findings Among Homeless Populations

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA