The University of Missouri School of Medicine’s Kevin Everett, PhD, will coordinate a new project that helps the state’s colleges and health systems lead the way in reducing problems caused by tobacco use and vaping.
“The state of Missouri has some of the highest rates of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory problems related to our high tobacco use,” Everett said. “So our whole state needs to address this issue more systematically. That’s what I like about this plan. It brings together colleges and health systems from across Missouri for the purpose of learning from national experts who’ve had success with interventions that reduce tobacco use and vaping. The initiative is modeled after the successful Texas Eliminate Tobacco Use Initiative started five years ago by MD Anderson Cancer Center. “The process fosters a healthy spirit of collaboration, innovation, and competition for participating institutions”, according to Everett.
The Missouri Foundation for Health (MFFH) has awarded Everett a $461,843 grant for the three-year project. The project is receiving collaborative guidance from MD Anderson Cancer Center leaders, as well as support from numerous national and state organizations with expertise addressing problems caused by tobacco use and vaping. Participating institutions, which include the University of Missouri and MU Health Care, will meet at annual summits to learn and receive technical assistance to carry out action plans involving effective communication, compliance and education interventions.
Everett, an associate professor of family and community medicine, cited the 255,000 students who enroll in Missouri’s colleges each year and the 1.8 million hospital admissions in 2018 as the reasons those institutions are targeted for this effort.
“Health care systems and college campuses are embedded in communities and play a vital role for the health of the community,” Everett said. “College campuses are where we train the next generation and this work will lead to healthier environments where young people live, learn and work. With this plan, we can impact a lot of people.”
The MFFH is an independent philanthropic foundation created in 2000 to generate and accelerate positive changes in the health of Missourians.
The three-year grant runs until January 2023 and the first Midwest Eliminate Tobacco Use Summit will be May 21-22, 2020, at the University of Missouri.