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July 1, 2009

Johns Hopkins Institute for Global Tobacco Control Graduates First Class of Tobacco Control Technical Experts

The Institute for Global Tobacco Control (IGTC) 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, PhD, 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, Viet Nam, China, Thailand and Poland. Many of the graduates serve as doctors, researchers, academic professors, chief medical officers and epidemiologists.

The one-year program includes a comprehensive plan of study: Global Tobacco Control, Advanced Methods in Tobacco Control, Strategic Leadership Principles, Health Communications Programs and Principles of Epidemiology. As part of the program, participants complete two, eight-week online courses as well as 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 was a very fruitful experience for me,” said Shaojun Ma, a research fellow at the Peking Union Medical College in China. “I feel as though I was there just yesterday. Everyone I met—and the things I learned—will remain with me forever.”

“The program offers a free exchange of ideas and excellent case studies,” said Ann-Michele Gundlach, EdD, MS, assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, who taught a course in the program.

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 (WHO) 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.

Public Affairs media contact for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons at 410-955-7619 or tmparson@jhsph.edu.