August 31, 2009

Institute for Global Tobacco Control graduates first class

The Institute for Global Tobacco Control has graduated its first class of 11 international students in its Global Tobacco Control Certificate Program, one of the first academic training programs of its kind worldwide.

The IGTC, located at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, launched the program in 2008 to provide international professionals and research scientists with formal academic training in global tobacco control. Completion of the program results in an official certificate and transcript with academic credit from the Bloomberg School of Public Health. The program is funded by the New York–based Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use.

“In order to slow and ultimately end the global burden of tobacco-related death and disease, public health professionals need to be equipped with the technical skills necessary to advance global tobacco control efforts,” said David R. Holtgrave, director of IGTC and professor and chair of the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health, Behavior and Society. “Our certificate program makes it possible for professionals from around the globe to receive this rigorous academic training.”

This year’s graduates included students from Nigeria, Uruguay, Guyana, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, China, Thailand and Poland. Many of the graduates serve as doctors, researchers, academic professors, chief medical officers and epidemiologists.

The one-year program has a comprehensive plan of study that includes Global Tobacco Control, Advanced Methods in Tobacco Control, Strategic Leadership Principles, Health Communications Programs and Principles of Epidemiology. Participants complete two eight-week online courses and travel to Baltimore for three courses at the Graduate Summer Institute of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. The program is geared toward professionals who will return to their countries and provide the technical expertise needed to guide national policy. Tuition, travel and expenses are covered by scholarship.

The certificate program is part of a broader effort by the IGTC to build tobacco control capacity in low- and middle-income countries. IGTC, founded a decade ago, is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. In 2006, under the Bloomberg Initiative, the IGTC was named to spearhead capacity-building activities in 15 priority countries, including China and India.