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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 169-175

Laying the groundwork for Tobacco Cessation Education in Medical Colleges in Indonesia

1 Department of Public Health; Center for Health Behavior and Promotion, Faculty of Medicine, Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia
2 University of Arizona, School of Anthropology and College of Public Health, Tucson, USA
3 Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Gadjah Mada University, ; Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities, Faculty of Medicine, Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia
4 Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA

Correspondence Address:
Mark Nichter
University of Arizona, Emil Haury Building, Tucson, Arizona
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.178602

Background: This paper describes a pioneering effort to introduce smoking cessation into Indonesia's medical school curriculum, and the first ever attempt to fully integrate tobacco control in all four years of medical school anywhere in Southeast Asia. The development, pretesting, and piloting of an innovative modular tobacco curriculum are discussed as well as the challenges that face implementation. Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted with medical school administrators and faculty in four medical colleges to determine interest in and willingness to fully integrate tobacco cessation into the college curriculum. A tobacco focused curriculum review, student focus groups, and a survey of medical students (n = 579) assessed current exposure to information about tobacco and interest in learning cessation skills. A modular tobacco curriculum was developed and was pretested, modified, piloted, and evaluated. Qualitative research was conducted to identify potential challenges to future curriculum implementation. Results: Fifteen modules were successfully developed focusing on the relationship between tobacco and specific organ systems, diseases related to smoking, the impact of tobacco on medication effectiveness, and information on how to explain to patients about effects of tobacco on their health condition. Lecturers and students positively evaluated the curriculum as increasing their competency to support cessation during illness as a teachable moment. Systemic challenges to implementing the curriculum were identified including shifts in pedagogy, decentralized curriculum decision-making, and frequent lecturer turnover. Discussion: A fully integrated tobacco curriculum for medical schools was piloted and is now freely available online. An important lesson learned in Indonesia was that a tobacco curriculum must be flexible enough to be adjusted when shifts in medical education take place. The curriculum is a resource for medical colleges and expert committees in Southeast Asia deliberating how best to address lifestyle factors undermining population health.

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