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HYSQ – Phase III: Program Sustainability

Phase III of the Helping Young Smokers Quit initiative began in 2006. The design was developed with 3 primary considerations:

  1. Discussion among experts in youth tobacco cessation and the HYSQ investigators; and
  2. The importance of utilizing all the information gathered in HYSQ Phase I.

The essential question to be answered following the Phase I national survey of youth tobacco cessation programs was, “How many of the programs found in Phase I are operating three years later?” If a program was found to be in operation:

  • What are the factors associated with sustainability?
  • What is the average number of years that surviving programs have been in operation?
  • Do the surviving programs change over time?

Although substantial resources are spent to implement community-based health programs, they often do not continue beyond initial funding. Identifying factors that create supportive infrastructure for sustainability is vital to ensuring that best treatment practices are available for youth smokers who want to quit. In order to answer the sustainability question, HYSQ outlined two major aims:

  1. Document and describe programs that sustained or discontinued since Phase I data collection ended in the summer of 2003.
  2. Identify and characterize any youth smoking cessation programs that emerged in the three years following Phase I.

Data Collection

Phase III protocols and instruments were designed to recontact all 756 programs screened as eligible in Phase I by using the contact information collected at that time. The snowball sampling protocol used in Phase I was also implemented to identify programs that had emerged over the three year period. Two telephone surveys were developed to collect data on program characteristics and key sustainability constructs:

  • The sustainability survey was conducted with program administrators of surviving and emergent programs.
  • The discontinuation survey was conducted with a knowledgeable organizational representative of programs no longer in operation.

Based on an extensive literature review and the program characteristics data collected during Phase I, five primary constructs of sustainability were identified:

  1. Organizational Alignment/Integration: organizational support and initiative in offering the program
  2. Resources: financial and human resources
  3. Standard Operating Procedures: policies and procedures for personnel who are responsible for the program
  4. Demand: efforts to create demand through marketing, and factors associated with enrollment and retention
  5. Local Ownership: evidence of local ownership for the program including the involvement of key constituencies in program selection, support, and delivery

Presentations and publications of the Phase III data are included in the Publications section of this Web site as they become available.


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The Helping Young Smokers Quit National Program Office has closed. Helping Young Smokers Quit was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) from 2001 through 2010. Program direction was provided by the Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago. The contents of this Web site are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NCI, CDC or RWJF. © 2010.