New Partnership Aims to Help Black Hawk County Residents Quit Tobacco
by Augusta Sires
Local non-profits collaborate to impact health of Black Hawk County residents
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare – Iowa and Pathways Behavioral Services are proud to announce a new partnership aimed to help Black Hawk County residents quit using tobacco products.
According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Black Hawk County’s adult smoking rate is higher than both the Iowa and national averages. Together, WFH-IA and Pathways want to lower this statistic by educating people on the dangers tied to using tobacco products, and providing current tobacco users with the tools to quit.
As part of the Accountable Care Act (ACA), hospitals and other health related organizations are working more closely to assess the health needs of the community, and find ways to work together to impact total population health. A major advantage of this partnership is the ability for both organizations to expand upon their tobacco education and prevention efforts, already in place.
“Individually, our organizations do a good job with smoking prevention and cessation efforts,” said Jackie Preston, Community Prevention Educator at Pathways Behavioral Services, and Black Hawk County Tobacco Free Coalition Coordinator. “But in today’s environment, we need to maximize resources through partnerships to help patients and residents change behaviors, and ultimately improve their overall health.”
WFH-IA and Pathways Behavioral Services will work jointly on several initiatives:
• Provide educational materials and broad distribution of Quit Kits through Covenant Clinic locations throughout Black Hawk County and other local organizations to reach thousands of county residents seeking assistance to stop tobacco use.
• Support of a peer-to-peer training program for teens titled Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU). Covenant Medical Center will be the site of this one-day training opportunity for area teenagers who want to help discourage smoking among youth at schools and in their communities.
• Funding for educational materials to advance the Smoke-free Multi-Unit Housing program to educate landlords and residents throughout Black Hawk County on the benefits of smoke-free housing.
• Joint attendance at community health events focused on improving the health habits of adults, college students, teens and elementary students to help improve the health behaviors of residents in our communities.
“As part of our mission, we have traditionally sought opportunities to support our community,” said Amy Hetherton, manager of customer and community relations for WFH-IA. “In light of the findings of the community health needs assessment, our efforts will be more focused, specifically on the health disparities in which we can make the strongest impact as a health care organization.”
To learn more about how you can quit using tobacco products, visit www.quitnow.net/iowa/ or for more information on programs listed as part of this partnership, call Jackie at Pathways at 319-235-6571.
Together with community partners, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare is focusing its efforts to improve the health of those most in need. By teaming with local organizations, we’re strengthening the resources we bring to help residents lead healthier, stronger, better lives; and advancing awareness and education of major health issues in our community.