• By Emily Blahnik

Global Bridges celebrates 10 years, builds tobacco awareness in Japan

October 11, 2019
Logo with the words Global Bridges Healthcare Alliance for Tobacco Dependence Treatement

Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the world. Yet smoking remains a public health problem in many countries. To combat nicotine dependence, Global Bridges, an international coalition of health care organizations and professionals, has steadily worked to bring policy change and educational resources to countries across the globe.

Now in its tenth year, Global Bridges will advance its mission of bringing international awareness to nicotine dependence when representatives meet with Japanese health care leaders at the International Society for the Prevention of Tobacco-Induced Disease in Tokyo Oct. 13–15. Mayo Clinic will be represented by J. Taylor Hays, M.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and Global Bridges, and Katie Kemper, executive director, Global Bridges.

Major conference themes will include smoke-free public places and support for tobacco cessation in Japan. This comes at an especially important time, as Japan is preparing for the Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo in August 2020. Japanese health officials are hoping to keep the event entirely tobacco-free. Unlike other developed countries, smoking in public places is allowed in much of Japan, making for a health challenge ahead of the Olympics.

Based at Mayo Clinic, Global Bridges is the only international network of health care professionals and organizations dedicated to advancing evidence-based treatment in tobacco cessation and tobacco control policy. Since its founding in 2010, Global Bridges has granted funds to tobacco cessation initiatives and trained health professionals in tobacco dependence.

Some notable milestones include:

  • Continued work on implementing Article 14 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which aims to reduce tobacco dependence around the world
  • Creating a coalition of more than 20,000 trainees representing 70 countries
  • Grant-funding for tobacco cessation programs in Africa, China, Europe, Japan, Latin America, and the Middle East
  • Providing assistance to over 17 million patients from 2010 to 2019

"We are proud to have brought together a global community of dedicated leaders who have improved the lives of millions of patients through the work of Global Bridges," says Kemper. "Health care professionals can and do make a significant impact by helping patients free themselves of this deadly addiction."

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About Global Bridges
Global Bridges connects and mobilizes an international network of health care professionals and organizations dedicated to advancing effective tobacco dependence treatment and advocating for proven tobacco control policies. Since its inception in 2010, Global Bridges grantees and partners have created culturally relevant training curricula based on established best practices and trained more than 20,000 health care professionals from 70 countries. In partnership with funders, such as Pfizer Global Medical Grants, Global Bridges offers competitive grant funding and guidance for evidence-based training. The Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and the American Cancer Society, founding partners of Global Bridges, provide programmatic support.

About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to innovation in clinical practice, education and research, and providing compassion, expertise and answers to everyone who needs healing. Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network for additional Mayo Clinic news and An Inside Look at Mayo Clinic for more information about Mayo.

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