OHA and Children’s Hospital at OU present at national conference

Posted on: 3/1/19

Left to right are Kelly Willingham, OHA, Folake Adedeji, OHA, Eric Finley, OHA, and Cheri Tennery, The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center.
OHA’s health improvement initiatives team, a grant program of TSET, and Cheri Tennery, special programs coordinator, The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center, presented a poster session at the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) in San Francisco on Feb. 22.

With representatives from across 40 countries and key stakeholders such as the American Cancer Society, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, and American Legacy Foundation, SRNT is the leading society in the generation and dissemination of new knowledge concerning nicotine in all its manifestations.

Despite the well documented risk of smoking while pregnant, Oklahoma mothers continue to smoke at a rate that is 54 percent higher than the national average. In order to help combat this health crisis, OHA’s Hospitals Helping Patients Quit (HHPQ) program has had a multi-year partnership with The Children’s Hospital to ensure that comprehensive cessation support services are provided to caregivers of patients there. This poster compared tobacco use and Helpline referral rates between caregivers of newborns in the NICU with congenital heart disease with the rates of all other caregivers of patients in the NICU at the hospital. The study observed that caregivers of children with congenital heart disease in the NICU were more likely to smoke and less willing to enroll in Helpline cessation services than all other caregivers in the NICU. These findings demonstrate the need for a tobacco cessation support program and additional research to better understand the needs of this population of caregivers.

Despite the differences between the two study populations, efforts to provide comprehensive cessation services to caregivers of children with congenital heart disease has been a public health success at The Children’s Hospital. In 2018, 65 caregivers from the NICU and Children’s Heart Center clinic were provided with cessation support and 38 percent of those caregivers accepted a referral to the Helpline, which well exceeds the national average of 18 percent for general admissions according to Joint Commission data.

HHPQ is funded through a grant from the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET). Since 2010, HHPQ has partnered with more than 50 hospitals and dozens of clinics, improving the health and quality of life for thousands of Oklahomans. If your pediatrics department or clinic would like help in setting up a comprehensive tobacco cessation program for caregivers, please contact Kelly Willingham, kwillingham@okoha.com, (405) 427-9537. 

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