UOG Community Outreach Program Aims to Build Capacity Among Chuukese Youth


Guam – In an effort to reduce tobacco use disparities among Micronesian youth, fifteen Chuukese youth successfully completed the Brief Tobacco Intervention (BTI) Skills Certification Training held on December 7, 2013. 

The training was funded by the Guam Cancer Trust Fund and a community partnership initiative between the UOG Can cer Research Center U54 Pilot Program 2 (Community Outreach), and the University of Guam Chuukese Student Organization, the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center Prevention and Training Branch, and the Department of Public Health and Social Services Tobacco Control Program. The co-Principal Investigators for U54 Pilot Program 2 are Drs. Neal Palafox (University of Hawai’i Cancer Center) and Annette M. David (UOG).  

[ Brief Tobacco Intervention Skills Training Participants; Top Row (L-R): Jesse Puana, Hage-Ae Paul, Jefferson Kachuo, Jake Alafanso;
Row 2 (L-R): K.S Alafanso, Ryan Kusto, Stephenie Singenes, Annette Hallers, Gloryann Sikau, Deborah Haimin; Row 3 (L-R): Elua Mori, Yolanda Lucena Arechy, Diana Uruman; Bottom Row (L-R): Peter Cruz (Instructor), Juanito ‘Junjie’ Zuasula (Facilitator), Great Orichiro, Murrianne Jorrine Setik, Deeanne Masaichy Bernard, Angelina Mummert (Facilitator), and Dr. Annette David (Instructor).]

The Basic Tobacco Intervention (BTI) Skills Training Certification Program provides the skills necessary for those trained to conduct brief tobacco interventions with individuals dependent on tobacco and to assist them in quitting their tobacco use.  The trainees have learned the skills to assess an individual’s readiness to quit using tobacco and to provide appropriate materials and referrals to aid that individual.  The BTI Program was adapted for use on Guam from the Arizona Department of Health Services, Tobacco Education and Prevention Program, which has been extensively tested and implemented across the state of Arizona.

This training was conducted as part of a project supported by the Guam Cancer Trust Fund and the National Cancer Institute funded, U54 minority institute partnership cancer research grant between the University of Guam Cancer Research Center and the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, entitled, “Community Outreach to Reduce Tobacco Use Disparities Among Pacific Islander Youth on Guam.”

The lead trainers were Dr. Annette David (UOG Cancer Research Center) and Mr. Peter Cruz (Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center, supported by facilitators, Angelina Mummert (UOG Cancer Research Center) and Mr. Juanito ‘Junjie’ Zuasula.

Smoking prevalence among youth has been declining in the US mainland and on Guam.  However, Guam rates have declined less rapidly than the US median.  According to the Guam Substance Abuse Epidemiological Profile, tobacco consumption among adults and youth remains high on Guam.  Statistics show that 1of 4 adults and nearly the same number of youth currently smoke on Guam.  Youth have reported smoking as early as middle school. Adult smoking rates on Guam (25.8%) are significantly higher than in the United States (18%).  In 2011, 21.9% of Guam youth were current smokers, compared to only 15.4% of US youth.  Chewing tobacco with betel nut continues to be a growing concern.

Recent data supports the need for youth tobacco cessation services on Guam.  The BTI training addresses this need by building capacity of trained youth providers on Guam. Trained youth are able to provide peer-to-peer brief tobacco cessation intervention at their schools and within their social settings.

For more information about this training or other trainings, contact the Prevention & Training Branch of the Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse at 477-9079 ~ 83 or visit www.peaceguam.org.  You can also contact the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program of the Department of Public Health and Social Services at 735-7334.