Evaluation of a Train-the-Trainer Program to Build Capacity for Training Tobacco Treatment Specialists

Nicotine Tob Res. 2019 Oct 26;21(11):1480-1487. doi: 10.1093/ntr/nty125.


Introduction: Tobacco-treatment specialists (TTSs) and high-quality TTS training programs are needed to improve access to evidence-based tobacco-dependence treatment. To meet this demand, the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Medical School developed the Train-the-Trainer in Tobacco Treatment (T4) program to build a cadre of trainers to deliver the accredited UMass TTS training programs. This paper reports on the feasibility and quality of TTS trainings led by Certified UMass TTS Trainers (Trainer-led) compared with trainings led by UMass staff (On-site).

Methods: Data were collected between September 2014 and June 2017. Feasibility included the number of Trainers, Trainer-led programs, and participants. Quality compared participant exam results and evaluations of the two training program types.

Results: Fifty-three Trainers were certified during 2014-2017, and conducted 26 TTS trainings with 351 participants. There were no significant differences in participant mean exam scores [On-site = 86.33 (SD = 7.83); Trainer-led = 86.15 (SD = 8.47)], and a similar percentage of participants obtained a passing score on the exam (On-site 94.4%, Trainer-led 94.0%). There were no significant differences in increased self-efficacy in delivering effective tobacco-treatment services [On-site = 2.92, Trainer-led = 2.93; p = .52 (3-point Likert scale, 1 = not at all, 3 = a great deal)] or in overall satisfaction with the training [On-site = 3.84; Trainer-led = 3.81; p = .072 (4-point Likert scale, 1 = very dissatisfied, 4 = very satisfied)].

Conclusions: The Trainer-led model expanded the number of UMass-trained TTSs with equivalent participant knowledge and perceived improvement in ability to deliver effective tobacco-dependence treatment compared with the gold-standard training model. It offers a potentially more accessible option for training TTSs compared with the On-site model.

Implications: Train-the-Trainer in Tobacco Treatment (T4) has increased the capacity to deliver high-quality training to healthcare providers who might not otherwise have access to an accredited TTS training program. Certified Trainers effectively identified potential participants and delivered training that was equivalent in quality to the standard UMass TTS Core Training program. There were no significant differences between the training models in two critical measures: (1) participant exam scores and (2) participants' rating of improvement in their ability to deliver effective tobacco-dependence treatment. Organizations can now choose from two equally effective models for delivering TTS training based on their unique needs and training populations.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Capacity Building*
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Program Evaluation
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / prevention & control*