Thursday, January 19, 2017

Josiah Quincy Elementary School is among seven recipients of a $300K Tufts Medical Center grant  to combat smoking

Josiah Quincy Elementary School is among seven recipients of a $300K Tufts Medical Center grant  to combat smoking
BOSTON - Thursday, January 19, 2017 - The Josiah Quincy Elementary School of the Boston Public Schools (BPS) is among seven recipients of a $300K grant from Tufts Medical Center, aimed at educating the city's Asian community about tobacco, a deadly drug.

"Addressing matters of addiction is our responsibility as a city, and I thank Tufts Medical Center for supporting our work in Boston Public Schools, starting with some of our youngest students," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "The grant provided by Tufts will provide the Josiah Quincy Elementary School an opportunity to identify useful educational tools that will resonate with students."

Nationally, the Asian population is among the lowest when it comes to smoking - 7 percent of Asian adults in the United States smoked cigarettes in 2015 compared to 15.1 percent of U.S. adults overall. But according to the Boston Public Health Commission's Health of Boston report, the rate of smoking in Boston among Asians tallied 14.7 percent in 2013, the latest data available. The higher rate is in part due to the larger number of Vietnamese adults living here, one of the subgroups with a particularly high incidence of tobacco smoking.

"This generous contribution from Tufts Medical Center will help improve health and wellness outcomes for our children, and ultimately, our broader community," said BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang. "Integrating anti-tobacco lessons into our curriculum will engage students earlier on how they can proactively and positively take charge of their own lives and exercise self care."

"We're pretty convinced the incidence is higher in the Asian community than the general population in this area. You can see it when you walk around Chinatown," said Sherry Dong, Director of Community Health Improvement Programs at Tufts Medical Center. "Part of our mission at Tufts Medical Center is to help the community be healthier. We need to do what we can to provide education about the dangers of smoking in our Asian neighborhoods, and this year's awardees are going to help us do that."

Tufts Medical Center established the Asian Health Initiative (AHI) in 1994 to focus on health issues impacting the local Asian community. The recipients of the 2017-2019 grants will put into place a variety of programs and outreach including anti-smoking education for Asian youth - by youth, workshops for adults, and phone counseling to help smokers quit. They will also publish a new bi-lingual quit smoking directory.

"Having the opportunity to educate our young students about the dangers of Tobacco is a preventative intervention that adds to our school's vision of students becoming contributing global citizens," said Principal Cynthia Soo Hoo of the Josiah Quincy Elementary School.

Other grantees include:  Asian American Civic Association, Boston Asian: Youth Essential Services, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center, The Rose Kennedy Greenway and the The Wang YMCA of Chinatown.

"Nationwide, we are starting to see a decline in cigarette smoking in many ethnic groups, which is the result of decades of prevention messaging," said Deeb Salem, MD, Physician-in-Chief at Tufts Medical Center. "But Boston's Asian residents are largely immigrants from countries where smoking is commonplace. Many don't speak English and have never seen or read any messaging that suggests smoking causes cancer."

BPS adopted a comprehensive Tobacco-Free Environment Policy in 2012. The policy is part of a comprehensive Wellness Policy.

The policy prohibits students from possessing, using, consuming, displaying or selling any tobacco products or tobacco paraphernalia at any time on school property, at off-campus, school-sponsored events and extracurricular activities, within vehicles located on school property, and within 50 feet of school property.  Additionally staff and visitors are prohibited from using or consuming or displaying or promoting tobacco products.  The policy is motivated by the philosophy that every staff person, student, parent and visitor should have the right to breathe clean air in their school and work environment, and that BPS is acutely aware of the serious health risks associated with the use of tobacco products, both to users and non-users.

BPS strives to be one of the healthiest school districts in the country.  We know that healthy students are better learners and want to create safe, healthy and welcoming school environments that support the social, emotional and physical well-being of all our students.

The BPS Wellness Policy requires comprehensive health education, including tobacco prevention, for all students in grades K-12.

No comments: