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NIH supports Emory tobacco control models in Eastern Europe

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Emory researchers Carla J. Berg, PhD, and Michelle C. Kegler, DrPh, both from the Rollins School of Public Health and Winship Cancer Institute, received a $1.5 million award from the National Institutes of Health's Fogarty International Center to establish tobacco control models in low- and middle-income countries. The models developed will incorporate local talents, resources and government public health agencies in interventions across the countries of Georgia and Armenia. 

Although Georgia and Armenia have among the highest rates of smoking prevalence and secondhand smoke exposure globally, this research team has documented that their residents also are receptive to smoke-free policies. The research team will build the capacity of both countries to impact local community-driven policy change aimed at reducing these smoking and exposure rates. 

"Our research efforts have the potential to impact not only tobacco control, but also a range of chronic diseases and risk factors," says Berg. "The U.S. has shown well-documented success in aligning local coalitions and we believe that these models can also be as effective in other countries." 

The Emory researchers will collaborate with researchers from the Georgia National Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Armenia National Institute of Health, and the American University of Armenia to develop the model and examine the impact and influence of local coalitions in promoting interventions for smoke-free policies and public health practices.

"The various activities planned will serve as a catalyst for future research," says Kegler. "Our partnerships in Georgia and Armenia and focus on the civil society will be instrumental in assessing and disseminating information to impact local, community-driven policy change."

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