Florida AHEC Network Tobacco Program

Originated as
Partners In Prevention of Substance Abuse (PIPSA)
For students of Health Professions and in Middle School

The Florida AHEC Tobacco Program, led by Florida's Area Health Education Centers Program at the University of Florida, and implemented at the University of Miami, University of South Florida, Nova SouthEastern University and Florida State University, originated from the 1997 University of Florida's Partners in Prevention of Substance Abuse (PIPSA) Project. The original UF project also created the PIPSA Coalition, now led by former funding partner Corner Drug Store. West Florida AHEC sponsors Northwest Florida State College to participate in the statewide effort; Gulfcoast South AHEC also sponsors Manatee Community College and Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Health professional students, faced with the prospect of teaching middle school students, learn about tobacco in a meaningful mode, utilizing the PIPSA Tobacco curriculum. Middle school students are particularly receptive to these young adult role models and the message they bring.

Target Populations:

I. Health professions students are one target group because they need more education and practice to deal with patients who have substance abuse issues.

II. Middle school students are the other target group. Their risk to begin ATOD abuse is high due to their vulnerability coupled with suspicion of adults.

The appeal of a health-professions student as a role model for the middle school student is apparent. Conversely, professional students will be motivated to learn thoroughly and in ways that may affect their personal and professional behaviors.

Program Description at UF:

I. Afternoons of Learning using large-group lectures and small groups were coordinated for 500-650 HSC students (1st-year Medical, 1st-year Dental, 4th-year Nursing and 5th-year Pharmacy) each year since 1998. Participants use the PIPSA Tobacco Curriculum ~1 week in advance. An opening lecture discusses the importance of substance abuse diagnosis/management, addiction, adolescent development, and middle school classroom management strategies.

The small interdisciplinary groups then go through PIPSA Workbooks which guide them to process and exchange information about tobacco and how to work with middle school students.

1. Applied Learning Day the community outreach component, reinforces the learning by sending HSC students in groups of 2-4 to teach area middle school students about ATOD abuse. "Promoting Health in our Middle Schools" <Videos> helps prepare HSC students for the visits. Their teaching kits include a discussion-trigger videotape and other classroom teaching aids. Since 1998, UF health professions students have visited a range of 12,000-17,000 middle school students in 125+ classrooms/year in 9-11 counties yearly; cumulative contacts exceed 135,000 middle school students in the UF area, and @300,000 across Florida. Teachers who would like supplemental substance abuse Team Packs may contact the Center for Precollegiate Education and Training (CPET).

II. Evaluation: Gratifying cognitive gain and limited behavioral change by health professional students is documented. Middle-school host-teacher satisfaction surveys were very positive; limited data suggests middle school student tobacco use is decreasing.

For additional information or questions about PIPSA, contact:
University of Florida AHEC Program Office
Phone: (352) 273- 8530 Fax: (352) 392-1022

Sponsored By:

The Florida AHEC Network
The Florida Department of Health
University of Florida
Area Health Education Center
College of Dentistry
College of Medicine
College of Nursing
College of Pharmacy


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