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MedEdPORTAL. 2019 Aug 23;15:10831. doi: 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.10831.

Motivational Interviewing: A High-Yield Interactive Session for Medical Trainees and Professionals to Help Tobacco Users Quit.

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Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University.
Director, Adolescent Health Promotion, American Academy of Pediatrics.
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine.
Professor, Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School.
Professor, Pediatrics, MassGeneral Hospital for Children.
Director of Translational Research, American Academy of Pediatrics Julius B. Richmond Center of Excellence.
Director of Pediatric Research, Tobacco Research and Treatment Center, Massachusetts General Hospital.



Motivational interviewing (MI) is a collaborative patient-focused counseling technique that is effective in promoting smoking cessation but is not consistently taught/practiced in training.


This training session was implemented in a pediatric residency training program and also given four times to pediatric practitioners as part of a 2-day tobacco training sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Pediatric residents (N = 33) participated in a 1-hour interactive session focused on addressing tobacco. Knowledge was assessed with pre- and 6-month postsurveys. Retention of skills was evaluated between 6 and 9 months posttraining by resident performance on two scenarios with standardized patients, which was scored utilizing the Behavior Change Counseling Index (BECCI), by two MI-trained physicians. AAP trainees (N = 115) participated in tobacco trainings with a session dedicated to MI; sessions were evaluated by pre- and posttests.


Residents who completed the session (n = 12) performed significantly better on eight of 10 items of the BECCI and on the overall BECCI score (p < .001) compared with those who had not completed the session (n = 12). Feedback on AAP training sessions (N = 115) indicated that practitioners felt able to perform MI and incorporate MI into practice. The percentage of trainees who felt comfortable counseling about tobacco doubled from pre- to posttraining.


A hands-on MI training session provided pediatric residents and practicing clinicians with knowledge and skills to address tobacco use with patients/families. The session is easily incorporated into different training environments.


Motivational Interviewing; Pediatrics; Preventive Medicine; Tobacco; Tobacco Smoke Exposure

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