Last updated on February 2019

Testing an Organizational Change Model to Address Smoking in Mental Healthcare


Brief description of study

Despite an overall reduction in US smoking rates from >50% in the 1960s to about 20% by 2000, the rate of smoking among persons with a serious mental illness (SMI) remains 2-3 times greater than in the general population. Further, even the recent small decline in smoking rates that has been reported in the general population in the past decade has not occurred among smokers with an SMI. In fact, 44% of all the cigarettes consumed in the US are by individuals with a psychiatric disorder and the primary cause of death among Americans with an SMI is a tobacco-related disease.

This cluster randomized trial will be conducted in 14 Philadelphia community mental health clinics (CMHCs). Clinics will be randomized to either Addressing Tobacco Through Organizational Change model (ATTOC) or Usual Care (UC) treatment groups. The investigators hypothesize that 1) at the end of the intervention and at a 3-month follow-up, rates of adherence to guidelines for treating TUD will be greater among clinic personnel that receive the ATTOC intervention vs. clinic personnel in usual care; 2) at the end of the intervention and at a 3-month follow-up, rates of client smoking cessation will be significantly greater in clinics that receive the ATTOC intervention than among clients treated with usual care; and 3) using non-inferiority testing, at the end of the intervention and at a 3-month follow-up, there will be no significant degradation in mental health functioning or QOL among clients who receive care at clinics that received the ATTOC intervention than among clients treated with usual care.

Detailed Study Description

Despite an overall reduction in US smoking rates from >50% in the 1960s to about 20% by 2000, the rate of smoking among persons with a serious mental illness (SMI) remains 2-3 times greater than in the general population. Transforming the mental healthcare system to integrate and adhere to evidence-based guidelines for the provision of tobacco use disorder (TUD) treatment is a priority of the National Institute of Mental Health and is a critical component of a national effort to meet Healthy People 2020 target goals for tobacco use (www.healthypeople.gov).

The Addressing Tobacco Through Organizational Change (ATTOC) model is a systems-level intervention to address systemic and cultural barriers that undermine assessment and treatment of TUD. In this innovative way, ATTOC assumes that effective organizational change requires more than clinic personnel training; it also requires the application of organizational theory to address attitudinal and system barriers and promote a culture in which tobacco use is not accepted or supported and that TUD treatment is integrated into standard practice. Consistent with organizational theory, ATTOC is implemented in 3 phases: preparing for, implementing, and sustaining change. By addressing cultural barriers and strengthening the care system (e.g., integrated treatment), ATTOC intends to have sustained benefits beyond the intervention.

This cluster-randomized trial will be conducted with 14 Philadelphia CMHCs, 7 randomized to ATTOC and 7 to usual care (UC). Following randomization, study staff will visit sites to recruit clinic personnel and clients over a 4 to 6 week period. Those eligible will complete informed consent and HIPAA forms and a baseline assessment to establish pre-intervention levels on all measures (baseline). After 4-6 weeks, the ATTOC intervention will be implemented over 9 months, from Week 1 to Week 36 (with UC at the control sites). Two mid-intervention assessments (Weeks 12 and 24) will allow for performance feedback and mediational analyses. Week 36 (end-of-treatment; EOT) and 52 (3-months post-EOT) assessments will allow for evaluation of changes on outcomes between groups over time. All measures will be conducted at the respective CMHC (or over the phone if necessary) and 7-day point prevalence smoking cessation will be verified using a breath carbon monoxide (CO) monitor (abstinence = < 8ppm).

This will be the first controlled, randomized trial to evaluate the effects of the ATTOC model on clinician adherence to treatment guidelines, client smoking, and client mental health and QOL. If this approach is shown to be effective and safe, it can serve as a model for the nation's community mental healthcare infrastructure, representing a powerful initiative to address tobacco use in an under-served sub-group of smokers, and support efforts to attain the Healthy People 2020 goals regarding tobacco use.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02849652

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University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA United States
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Recruitment Status: Open


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