• By Kelley Luckstein

Global Bridges Healthcare Alliance Announces $2.3 Million Targeting Tobacco Use

September 3, 2014

Fist smashing cigarettesGlobal Bridges Healthcare Alliance for Tobacco Dependence Treatment, hosted at Mayo Clinic, and Pfizer Independent Grants for Learning & Change (IGLC) today announced $2.3 million in grant awards to support tobacco dependence treatment in low- and middle-income countries.Logo of Global Bridges with wording and globe

These grants represent the first major funding in the area of tobacco dependence treatment in low- and middle-income countries, a need outlined in Article 14 of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. These projects will provide much-needed support in countries where progress in other aspects of tobacco control, such as smoke-free policies and tobacco taxation, has generated an increase in demand for quitting assistance.

Pfizer’s IGLC team, which is responsible for the company’s independent education support programs, received more than 100 proposals representing 64 countries. A Global Bridges expert review panel selected 20 project teams, representing all six WHO regions, to develop and conduct tobacco dependence treatment training programs for health care professionals, and tobacco policy advocacy led by health care professionals.  The list of award recipients and their projects is available here.

Journalists: Broadcast quality video of the experts are available in the downloads.

Grants Plant Seeds for Growth

Global Bridges Chair and Director of the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center Taylor Hays, M.D., sees the grants as just the beginning. “These grants are seeds that are being planted in countries where there are no or little resources to do this type of work. Our hope is that it will grow from there.”

The expansion of capacity building for tobacco dependence treatment in Latin America is one example of planned growth resulting from the grants.  Many Latin American countries have implemented national smoke-free legislation, increased tobacco taxes and/or graphic warnings on tobacco packages.  However, according to Beatriz Champagne, executive director of the InterAmerican Heart Foundation, which will receive funding to continue its work in the region through the new program, “There have been few resources to help the millions of smokers, young and old, to quit and lead lives free of tobacco. Now, thanks to encouragement and resources provided by Mayo Clinic and Pfizer’s IGLC, the capacity building efforts in Latin America will continue to grow and expand.”

Richard Hurt, M.D., emeritus director of the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center, says the work that Global Bridges is doing in tobacco dependence treatment is part of a comprehensive tobacco control strategy that is necessary to reduce premature death, illness and economic loss.

“As tobacco use reduction measures, such as taxation, targeted media campaigns, and smoke-free policies, increase the demand for treatment services, it is imperative that help is available to those who want to quit,” says Dr. Hurt.

WHO estimates that tobacco use will kill 1 billion people this century — with low- and middle-income nations affected disproportionately — unless immediate, decisive action is taken. Since its inception in 2010, Global Bridges has created training curricula based on established best practices and trained more than 3,300 health care professionals from 66 countries. A multilingual website (www.globalbridges.org) has helped to facilitate collaboration worldwide. Learning from the new projects will be available to all network members through the website.

According to John Seffrin, Ph.D., CEO of the American Cancer Society, one of Global Bridges’ founding partners, “The grant awards being announced today will further our overall goal of eliminating tobacco use as the most preventable cause of death and disease in the world.”

To learn more about Global Bridges or join the Global Bridges community, visit www.globalbridges.org.

To learn more about Pfizer IGLC, visit www.pfizer.com/independentgrants.


About Mayo Clinic
Recognizing 150 years of serving humanity in 2014, Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit 150years.mayoclinic.orgwww.mayoclinic.org and newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org.

About Global Bridges
Global Bridges is a worldwide science-based initiative to help healthcare providers unite to treat tobacco dependence while implementing effective tobacco control policies.

Kelley Luckstein, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, newsbureau@mayo.edu