Helping colleges quit tobacco

Helping colleges quit tobacco
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At Healthy Communities News, we spotlight the people and places that are tackling local health challenges in impactful ways. The University of San Francisco (USF) is one of over 200 colleges and universities adopting policies to eliminate tobacco from their campuses as part of the CVS Health Foundation Tobacco-Free Campus Initiative. It’s a part of the $50 million commitment to help deliver the first tobacco-free generation launched by CVS Health soon after it quit selling tobacco products five years ago. We visited USF to see what a tobacco-free campus looks like and sat down with students, staff and our partner at the American Cancer Society for their thoughts on going 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free.


Students talk tobacco: Getting real with Temple University and Truth Initiative

With 99 percent of smokers beginning by the age of 26, college is a critical time to prevent the start of life-long addiction to nicotine and tobacco. Temple University in Philadelphia went smoke- and tobacco-free in July of 2019. We sat down with a group of their students for a candid conversation on how the program is going in its early days. We also chatted with Robin Koval, CEO and president of Truth Initiative, a national public health organization focused on youth tobacco prevention known for its edgy, award-winning “Truth” campaign.

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Cutting hair and hypertension at Nashville barbershops

Cutting hair and hypertension at Nashville barbershops
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In Nashville, Tennessee, there’s a low-slung brick building nestled among fast food shops and a gas station on Clarksville Pike. It’s proudly painted red, white, and blue — a comfortable, well-worn spot that’s become a cultural hub for generations of African-American customers.

Barbershops are not just places to get a shave and a haircut. For African-American communities, they can also become havens for much-needed health care services. High rates of hypertension in this community are compounded by the fact that African-American men often aren’t receiving regular medical care.

To address this, a group of partners, including Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Nashville Health, and CVS Health, are placing pharmacists inside Nashville barbershops to test patrons for high blood pressure and recommend treatments.

Listen to this episode’s podcast for a deeper dive.

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New Orleans was hit hard by COVID-19

New Orleans was hit hard by COVID-19
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New Orleans was hit hard by COVID-19: music, tourism, and residents alike. We spoke with Dr. Meghan Maslanka (Physician, LSU Medical Center) who worked alongside local officials, like Congressman Cedric Richmond, to retrofit the New Orleans Convention Center as a backup medical monitoring facility to relieve a potential overflow of patients at the city’s hospitals. We also spoke to Leslie Sparks, Shardae Pierre, Kevin Storm, Michael Ogbonna, and Katelyn Schehr from the pharmacy side, who provided support at the Convention Center.


Teaming up to fight the pandemic in New Orleans

New Orleans is no stranger to adversity, and relies on its deep community roots to unite residents as they band together to respond to the pandemic. In this month’s podcast episode, we spoke to Danielle Taylor, a CVS Pharmacy District Leader and both of her parents, Jessie and Thais Ardouin, who were hospitalized at the same time with COVID-19. We also hear from Reinaldo Martinez, a CVS store manager, who is coping with loss in his family and leaning on his love of New Orleans, his coworkers, and staying busy with work to cope.

Several employees and volunteers stand outside of the Canal Street CVS Pharmacy wearing masks, prepared to help those affected by COVID-19.
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Testing Atlanta’s Westside

Testing Atlanta’s Westside
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Atlanta’s Westside has a long history of civil rights activism. The neighborhood was home to leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Julian Bond. Systemic racism has marginalized communities throughout the United States. The consequences can be measured in the health outcomes of people who live in moderate to high need areas like Vine City, where the life expectancy is 13 years shorter than communities only 20 miles away. CVS Health is working to close that gap, alongside the staff at Good Samaritan, a local health center that is now providing free COVID-19 testing to those in the community who need it most.


The importance of testing, the power of community

In the podcast, we explore these topics even more deeply with Breanna Lathrop. We also caught up with Dr. Bill Warren, the visionary who founded Good Samaritan some 21-and-a-half years ago. John Ahmann is the president of the Westside Future Fund and an Atlanta native who brings an historical perspective to the discussion before closing the loop with Makeda Johnson, director and founder of the Sisters Action Team, who draws from her faith and the power of collective action over individualism in supporting her community.

Several people walking into a CVS Health community test center in Atlanta, Georgia.
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ADA turns 30: Abilities in Abundance

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David L. Casey (Vice President for Workforce Strategies & Chief Diversity Officer at CVS Health) kicks off this episode with some remarkably personal stories about his family and military history, both of which fuel David’s commitment to the Abilities in Abundance program. 

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which is more important now than ever before. Recent national unemployment rates for individuals with disabilities is more than double that of abled people, so we thought it was a perfect opportunity to highlight ways people with untapped talents can thrive — even in challenging times like these.

We also connected Duane Rohr, an advisor in CVS Health’s Workforce Initiatives department and Renee Smith, a graduate of the Abilities in Abundance program and colleague at one of our CVS Pharmacy locations in Baltimore, Maryland. 

A very special thanks to Dana, Stacey Butler, The Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Rehabilitation Services and the local Workforce & Technology Center. Thank you for the wonderful and inspiring work that you do.

Image credit: ADA National Network (adata.org)

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