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J Dent Educ. 2009 Sep;73(9):1069-82.

"Providers practice prevention": promoting dental hygienists' use of evidence-based treatment of tobacco use and dependence.

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  • 1Department of Behavioral Science, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40536-0086, USA.


High rates of tobacco use prompted the development of a provider education program in Kentucky to promote implementation of evidence-based tobacco cessation treatment among registered dental hygienists (R.D.H.s). All R.D.H.s throughout the state were notified of the program and invited to participate. Participants were asked to complete a pre-program survey and post-program evaluation. A follow-up survey was administered one year following program participation. Two hundred and ninety-four R.D.H.s completed the pre- and post-program surveys, and the follow-up survey was completed by 53 percent (N=156) of the initial sample. Analyses exploring the immediate effect (from pre- to post-program) found the program to have had a universally positive impact (p<.05) across knowledge, attitudes, and intended clinical practices regarding tobacco use and treatment. Regarding the program's durable effects (from pre-program to follow-up), statistically significant (p<.05) and positive effects were realized for most of the outcomes, including subjective knowledge, attitudes, and practices. It was concluded that the program serves as an effective introduction to the Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: Clinical Practice Guideline. Additional intervention might enhance the durability of the program's efficacy and promote more complete adoption of evidence-based tobacco cessation strategies by dental hygienists, leading to an even broader impact on cancer prevention and control of tobacco-related malignancy.

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