Center for Health Systems Improvement for a Tobacco-Free New York

Summary: This project helps health systems in New York State ensure that every clinical encounter includes routine assessment and evidence-based treatment of tobacco use.

Opportunity: New York State has made significant progress in reducing smoking rates, addressing tobacco use dependence, and promoting tobacco cessation. However, more than two million adults and 35,000 high school students in New York State still smoke, and tobacco addiction remains the leading preventable cause of death. An estimated 70 percent of current smokers want to quit and more than 50 percent attempt each year, but only 20 percent of attempts use evidence-based treatment methods. To improve the diagnosis of tobacco use disorder, treatment experts are moving toward a behavioral health–based “recovery” framework that focuses on addressing tobacco use as an addiction.

Initiative: As the Center for Health Systems Improvement, CAI serves as a resource hub to help organizations implement changes in health care systems. Through a range of capacity-building activities, including trainings, webinars, resource packets, and media campaigns, CAI supports organizations in their efforts to facilitate statewide and regional health systems changes in mental health and medical settings, specifically focusing on the promotion of evidence-based treatment services for tobacco use disorder. CAI provides trainings and technical assistance to the state’s Health Systems Improvement grantees. Additionally, CAI manages and facilitates statewide workgroups that address tobacco use treatment.

Impact: CAI has engaged more than 40 community stakeholders to provide leadership, plan, implement, and evaluate activities to address tobacco-related disparities. These stakeholders include the Erie County Department of Health, the Buffalo Public Schools and teachers’ union, community-based organizations, health and behavioral service providers, faith-based, cultural, and business leaders, housing authorities, families, and youth. CAI has developed and administered a needs assessment and disseminated tobacco treatment tools and resources. In the coming years, CAI will assemble a statewide stakeholder workgroup, as well as regional tobacco and health equity coalitions, to promote tobacco policy change.

Project funder and key partners:
This project is funded by the New York State Department of Health Bureau of Tobacco Control. Key partners include the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH), as well as key health systems and organizations in New York: North Country Healthy Heart Network, St. Peter’s Health Partners, American Lung Association, New York University, Northwell Health, St. Joseph’s Health, University of Rochester, HRI/Roswell Park-Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free Western NY, New York City Health and Hospitals, Center for Practice Innovation, Smoke-free NYC-Public Health Solutions, and Community Healthcare Association of New York State.

View a map of regional contractors (527 KB PDF).

Project website: tobaccofreeny.org

Project leadership: David Davis, Director of Tobacco Control Health Initiatives, Makeda James, Project Director Health Systems Improvement.

Contact: chsi.contact@caiglobal.org.