New Study

Disseminating and Implementing a Smoking Cessation Program for Pregnant and Postpartum Women. First Breath (FB) is a program administered by the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation (WWHF) to help pregnant women quit smoking. While FB is successful helping women quit during pregnancy, it is unable to provide support after a woman delivers. This is very unfortunate because about 85% of women relapse and resume smoking when they return home with their new infant. Recently, UW-CTRI partnered with WWHF on a new program, Striving to Quit (STQ), to address this gap in FB by extending the program to help the new mother stay quit after she returns home with her baby. STQ was conducted as a rigorous research study. Unknown is whether STQ will produce similarly positive outcomes when disseminated and implemented in more real-world contexts. This grant is designed to address these issues. Specifically, it will:

1. Evaluate STQ in more real-world settings.

2. See if STQ produces better outcomes than FB.

3. Identify barriers to expanding STQ throughout Wisconsin so more pregnant women who smoke can benefit.

WWHF and UW-CTRI will continue their productive partnership for this project. In addition, four key stakeholder groups will be involved throughout the project:

1. Most importantly, women enrolled in STQ will serve in focus groups that will provide candid guidance and feedback regarding smoking cessation education materials, challenges to maintaining smoke-free homes, perceptions of the intervention, unmet needs, and barriers to staying quit.

2. Discussion groups with current FB Providers will identify key clinical barriers to dissemination. This will be followed by a statewide survey to all FB Providers.

3. Health Educators who will deliver STQ will be observed to ensure that the program is delivered as designed. Results of interviews with these Health Educators will be used to develop statewide training materials.

4. Stakeholders who set state policies and payment structures will form a “Sustainability Planning Committee” because their decisions are key to securing sustained statewide financial support of STQ.


This project aims to have a substantial impact on the greatest preventable cause of poor birth outcomes in Wisconsin. Researchers expect the findings to inform public policies regarding the need to embrace smoking-cessation programs that begin during pregnancy and extend them into the postnatal period. October 2016-March 2018. $150,000. Funded by University of Wisconsin Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (UW-ICTR). Dr. Michael Fiore, PI. Lisette Kahlil, WWHF Community Partner Lead.


Engaging Stakeholders in Integration of Preventive Care and Health Promotion in Rheumatology Clinics. This research is part of a collaborative effort to identify interventions to help patients with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus to reduce their cardiovascular disease risk. UW-CTRI Associate Director of Research Dr. Megan Piper is part of the team led by Dr. Christie Bartels, which is funded by a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Award from the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR). Piper will collaborate to create a patient advisory board and a mixed patient-clinical advisory board. These boards will provide insight into important patient-centered health outcomes and develop a plan for implementing an intervention that can serve diverse, hard to reach patients who have rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. Researchers from the UW and the Medical College of Wisconsin will conduct focus groups with patients, including current and former smokers, to help fill the gap regarding the patient perspective on addressing rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, both in outcomes and care processes. The creation of advisory boards will define the patient centered outcomes, its measures and implementation strategies for a PCORI grant application submission.  Funded by UW ICTR. August 2016-July 2018. Dr. Megan Piper, co-investigator.