Tobacco-related education in schools of pharmacy in the Middle East: A multinational cross-sectional study
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Background: Lack of adequate tobacco-related content in pharmacy curricula can interfere with pharmacist's ability to provide tobacco cessation interventions. This study aims to determine the extent of tobacco-related content in pharmacy schools' curricula across the Middle East region, instructional methods used, perceived adequacy and importance of tobacco education, and barriers for inclusion of tobacco-related content in pharmacy curricula. Methods: A web-based survey was sent to 120 schools of pharmacy in 13 Middle Eastern countries. Key faculty members were identified and sent an e-mail with an online link to the survey. Data were descriptively analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 22. Results: Of the 120 pharmacy schools contacted, 59 schools completed the survey (49.2% response rate). Of this, 44 (74.6%) reported including tobacco-related content in their undergraduate curricula. Nicotine pharmacology and principles of addiction (64.4%), pharmacologic aids for tobacco cessation (61%), and health effects of tobacco (61%) were the most commonly reported topics. The topics that were least perceived to be adequately covered were monitoring outcomes of tobacco cessation interventions (5.9%) and epidemiology of tobacco use (15.4%). The top barriers to inclusion of tobacco-related topics in the curriculum were lack of time (75.9%), lack of experiential training sites focusing on tobacco cessation interventions (72.2%), lack of faculty expertize (66%), and perceived lack of priority of tobacco related content in pharmacy schools (66%). Conclusions: The current findings suggest that more efforts should be geared towards increasing content for tobacco education in schools of pharmacy across the Middle East and towards overcoming the identified barriers. Implications: This study is the first to assess the extent of tobacco-related content in pharmacy schools curricula across the Middle East countries. If pharmacy students are expected to deliver effective tobacco cessation services when they graduate as pharmacists, then schools of pharmacy in the Middle East should consider providing adequate tobacco-related content and training in undergraduate curricula. Pharmacy schools have to work on circumventing the identified barriers including lack of time, lack of experiential training sites offering tobacco cessation interventions, shortage of faculty with relevant expertize and placing low priority on tobacco education in pharmacy schools. - The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. All rights reserved.
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