Since 2007, the NYU College of Dentistry has been the home of the Manhattan Tobacco Cessation Program (MTCP), one of nineteen cessation centers funded by the New York State Tobacco Control Program. MTCP partners with Manhattan-based hospitals, healthcare organizations, and community clinics to provide training and technical assistance to healthcare providers in tobacco-related policies; implements documentation system changes for the screening and treatment of patients; and encourages healthcare professionals to utilize tobacco cessation tools like the New York State Quitline.
By working closely with Group Practice Directors (GPDs) at NYUCD, MTCP staff have established strong relationships with dental students, whom they have guided in writing letters to newspaper editors, communicating with New York State representatives, and visiting legislators in person to educate them about New York’s tobacco control efforts.
During the spring of 2010, third-year dental student Chintan Patel accompanied MTCP Program Coordinator Diana Zraik on a visit to New York Senator Tom Duane’s district office to inform the senator about the impact that budget cuts would have on smoking cessation resources available to New Yorkers. With assistance from local lobbying branches of the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, and the American Heart Association, the NYUCD/MTCP representatives were also able to illustrate how state tobacco control initiatives have played a vital role in the communities where they have been implemented.
Another student outreach initiative came in the form of a letter written by Dr. Corey Corpodian, Class of 2010, to New York State Senator Liz Krueger about MTCP’s role in training dental students on patient tobacco use and dependence. Dr. Corpodian wrote: "MTCP has been a great resource for dental students at New York University College of Dentistry. It has helped us by providing the training and education needed to treat patients interested in smoking cessation." He added that "With the help of MTCP, our patients can now lead healthier lives. I believe it is important to support this program, which has the potential to help many more patients."
Dr. Morey Gendler, Clinical Assistant Professor of Cariology and Comprehensive Care and a GPD, has been particularly supportive of the efforts of MTCP and NYUCD students to send the message that healthcare providers are integral to efforts to help patients quit smoking. When asked what the partnership with MTCP has brought to the NYUCD educational experience, Dr. Gendler said that it is now "integrated into the student’s education. Moreover, the value of these student-led legislative outreaches will have long-lasting effects on the community, as students leverage the skills they learn to educate their future patients about tobacco use."