The Council for Tobacco Treatment Training Programs is recognizing programs who excel in meeting the highest training standards in preparing and developing professional Tobacco Treatment Specialists. One program will be chosen each month for the award, and will be highlighted with a citation, as well as recognition on the Council's website.

Program Name: University of Kansas Tobacco Treatment Specialist Training

Contact email:

How long has the program been operating?
The University of Kansas Tobacco Treatment Specialist Training was accredited by CTTTP in December 2020. Our road to accreditation was an incremental process. We received three years of funding from the Kansas Health Foundation in 2016 to develop capacity for tobacco treatment in behavioral health settings in Kansas. We partnered with the University of Massachusetts Center for Tobacco Treatment Research and Training to deliver the accredited UMASS curriculum from 2016-2019. As part of a second phase of funding from the Kansas Health Foundation, we developed our own TTS curriculum with input from numerous stakeholders and consultants.  In 2020, we conducted a pilot training using the KU TTS curriculum and applied for accreditation.

Number of specialists who have completed the program? 171 , with a mix of persons accredited under the UMASS program curriculum (143) and the KU TTS (28).

What have specialists who have completed your program stated in evaluations?
Our KU TTS graduates were asked to list up to three things they liked best about the program:

  • I liked the flow of the information. I feel that the course had a strong overview of tobacco and then led in to the important aspects of treating tobacco. One module would build on the next.
  • Course was divided up in a way that made learning and retaining very easy and user-friendly, especially being able to quiz as we advanced through the sections/modules.
  • Being able to participate in this training when it was convenient for my schedule was helpful.
  • Enjoyed the online training being spread out over a month instead of all condensed in one week.  Great, knowledgeable instructors.  Covered many current topics.
  • You all were very responsive to email questions. Thank you.  LOVE the self-pace.
  • This was a very educational course. I came in not expecting too much (as my employer wanted me to complete), but I am coming out with a huge wealth of knowledge that is going to be so impactful to my population.
  • I'm thankful that I was accepted and received a scholarship to be a part of this program.
  • The pace of the materials.  The wealth of information provided.  The ability to practice putting it all together.
  • 1. Knowledge of the instructors  2.Extensive amount of detailed info provided with resources  3. Combo of asynchronous learning on blackboard and one live training. This made the training much more accessible.

How do you tailor your program to keep learners engaged with the content and materials?
We designed the program to include short learning modules so that the content can be digested in smaller amounts. This allows frequent breaks from the content. Quizzes after each module and exams after each section  helps reinforce learning and engagement. Practical homework assignments foster application of knowledge and promote immediate practice of skills. Videos interspersed within the asynchronous content provide variety.

Describe your program outcomes in one word. Outstanding.

What do TTS participants report gaining from the program?
Our graduates say that this is a positive learning experience that provides both practical knowledge and skills. Some learners feel that they still have a lot to learn (and practice) after completing the program, but note that this training provides a strong foundation for immediately providing evidence-based treatment in their communities. One trainee recently emailed that our TTS training was "the most thorough training I have ever attended during my career. It provides evidence-based information and I would love to continue on this journey." She has since reported passing her NCTTP exam and credits the program.

What makes your program stand apart? What is unique about it?

We have a hybrid,  self-directed learning approach where the majority of the content is asynchronous, self-paced, and completed over an eight week period. It culminates in a Skills Building and Demonstration Day (currently virtual) where trainees come together with instructors to practice skills in both small and large group format.

In our training, we appeal to the minds and hearts of our trainees. We focus not only on developing skills for treating tobacco, but also on developing know-how and passion to help learners become tobacco treatment champions at their organization. We provide education and tools for systems change and help learners work through how to structure a tobacco treatment program based on their unique situation.

Is your program accomplishing its intended results?
Our trainees have reported being highly satisfied with the curriculum, training format, instructors, and level of learning achieved. Trainees complete exams after every content section, as well as a final practical-based exam after all course content is completed. In addition to achieving high scores on the section exams, trainees do very well on the final exam.

Name one challenge your program encountered and overcame.
Most programs have probably encountered similar challenges with the pandemic. Our course was designed to be online from the beginning, but due to COVID-19 restrictions we switched our final training day, which would have been in person, to a virtual format. We adapted a rubric used for rating online courses and use this as part of our course evaluation. Trainees rated most aspects of our program as excellent (average rating above 4.5/5.0, where 5.0 is excellent). However, one item received lower ratings: creating a learning community. We continue to work on implementing strategies to engage our current and past trainees, including an upcoming initiative to create a strong community of practice for our graduates.

What else should we know?
We plan to continue to be innovative, as well as create unique learning opportunities  for our trainees.

Thank you for your continued excellence!