NARAP and Pullman Regional Hospital help patients quit smoking through unique partnership

Nov 20, 2014

Today marks the 2014 American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout and in addition to having their emergency needs met, the National Alliance of Research Associates Program (NARAP) announces that more than one-third of current tobacco users in a national, multi-center study had value-added to their visit to the emergency department from a referral to their state Quitline’s free, tobacco cessation treatment programs.  The results are in the October 2014 digital edition of Addictive Behavior.

Utilizing pre-health professional (“pre-med”) students as Research Associates (RAs) to enroll 19,149 non-critical patients and their visitors in the research at 10 emergency departments across the U.S., the National Alliance of Research Associates Programs (NARAP) and its Affiliate hospitals conducted this newly announced research. Pullman Regional Hospital is one of the participating hospitals with 14 pre-health students from Washington State University currently serving as NARAP Research Associates in the Emergency Department. This prospective interventional study is believed to be the 4th largest ever conducted in the U.S.  The RAs volunteered one four-hour shift per week in the emergency department and there was no cost to the participants and little or no cost for the hospitals.

“This work demonstrates how RAs can enroll unprecedented numbers of participants in large-scale, national, multi-center research in the emergency department as a cost-effective place for public health screening and prevention, without burdening the doctors and nurses who are focused on their patients’ emergency needs,” said Keith Bradley, MD, CEO of NARAP.  “This study shows that future health professionals can make the inevitable wait time in an emergency department visit valuable for the primary healthcare needs of the more than half the U.S. population receiving care there every year.” 

Among the study participants, 16,704 said they used tobacco products for more than thirty days over their lifetime, with 2,151 requesting help in stopping their addiction or maintaining their abstinence.  Thirty-six percent of those using tobacco products within the preceding month left the emergency department with a Quitline referral facilitated by a RA.

“NARAP engages vast numbers of pre-health professional students as RAs in the controlled environment of research, giving them incomparable clinical opportunities unique to the emergency department while teaching them fundamentals for interacting with patients.  It’s a win-win for everybody,” said Dr. Bradley.

In December 2014, NARAP will conclude a study on cervical and breast cancer screening, the second in its series of studies on the emergency department as a platform for public health research.  The third such study, this one on colon-rectal cancer screening will begin in 2015.

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