The Smoking Project with Sean Rourke
Today marks the unveiling of an important collaboration between ourselves and the OHTN designed to bridge research and action, to improve the health and well-being of people living with HIV who smoke. Here Bob Leahy interviews OHTN head Sean Rourke.
Many people will know Dr. Sean Rourke, Scientific and Executive Director of the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN). He’s approachable, eloquent and clearly highly committed. You’ll get a sense of all that in the video which follows where he talks about The Smoking Project.
I don’t want to paraphrase what he says, but one of the frustrations of anyone involved in the research field must be the historic difficulty of turning research in to practice. “I think the OHTN’s role is to provide the evidence to make healthy choices” he says in the interview below, “not just to look at the problem but the solution.”
In the interview you’ll see that the OHTN, in collaboration with PositiveLite.com, is taking that evidence-based approach to health promotion one step further with The Smoking Project, announced today at the OHTN Research Conference. It comes from the recognition that people living with HIV have much higher smoking rates than in the general population, often for good reason, but the impact on PHA health, longevity and quality of life needs to be addressed. That's a wellness issue whose solution will, I think, comfortably fit in to the variety of other solutions to help people living with HIV live healthier and longer that we already provide. And an important one too. Many experts would say, in fact, that stopping smoking is the best thing someone living with HIV can do for their health, bar none.
So far, things like smoking cessation programs have not been widely offered or even referrals made, by organizations that serve people living with HIV, or to any great extent, by their doctors. The Smoking Project wants to change that, while coming from a place that recognizes that people living with HIV need solutions tailored to their history and their circumstances. That often includes support.
We here at PositievLite.com have aired more than a few articles on the issue of smoking and HIV in the last few months. We’re not anti-smoking zealots. Rather we recognized, after carefully reviewing the research, including the OHTN’s, that there is an unmet need here. So we decided some time ago to put a spotlight on an issue that hasn’t hereto been given the attention it deserves
But more than just highlighting the issue, we are delighted to be teaming up with the OHTN on this joint initiative. You’ll see both our logos on project material, and both Sean and I will be playing an active part in the project’s leadership.
That we are partners with the OHTN on this initiative marks, of course, a significant step in PositiveLite.com’s evolution, which makes us both happy and proud. Like the OHTN we are not just interested in identifying what are the unmet needs in the community we are so much part of, we want to be part of the solution too.
In any event, why talk more? As I said at the beginning, Sean is an eloquent speaker. I’ll let him tell you about The Smoking Project.