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Jefferson County 2008 Public Health Champions of the Year Announced

May 06, 2009
JEFFERSON COUNTY 2008 PUBLIC HEALTH CHAMPIONS OF THE YEAR ANNOUNCED Promoting Tobacco Free Workplaces Federal News Service 04/04/2009 * Exempla Lutheran Medical Center with Exempla Lutheran Medical Center Tobacco-free campus policies, along with local and state smoke-free laws, make a significant, positive impact on health in Jefferson County by reducing tobacco use and secondhand exposure. In July, 2008 the Exempla Lutheran Medical Center campus went 100% tobacco free. The policy applies to the entire campus including the hospital, 4 medical office buildings, 2 outlying medical care faculties and the 100 acres of corporately-owned land in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. Tobacco-use and secondhand smoke exposure continue to be among the top causes of preventable death and disease in Jefferson County and Exempla’s example sets an important standard. Exempla Lutheran’s Colleen Hatton, Brenda Crowe and Carol Salzmann as representatives of the Tobacco Free Campus Committee are 2008 Public Health Champions for making the dream of a tobacco free Exempla a reality. Exempla Lutheran’s journey to a tobacco free campus began in earnest in the fall of 2007 when employee Colleen Hatton partnered with the health department’s Tobacco Prevention Initiative and began work leading a committee to begin the process of a new tobacco free campus policy. Brenda Crowe, a respiratory therapist and director of Pulmonary Rehabilitation at Exempla was eager to see her dream come true and came on board. Brenda led the effort to educate medical care staff at the hospital in best practice strategies to address tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. Unlike other facilities implementing tobacco free policies, Exempla Lutheran is one of the only ones in Colorado that worked to assure that staff consistently counseled patients and their families in strategies to quit tobacco and avoid secondhand smoke in tandem with the policy change. As a leader and an administrator, Carol Salzmann handled some of the most challenging aspects of the policy planning and implementation efforts. Carol has made sure she and her colleagues are on the front line with enforcing the policy. On any given day, you may find Carol and other committee members, clearly and compassionately reminding visitors on the sprawling campus that the grounds are tobacco free. Exempla Lutheran’s Tobacco Free Campus Policy has raised the bar for other healthcare providers and major employers in our County and has become a model for other organizations going through a policy change process. Exempla Lutheran went out of their way to support employees who use tobacco prior to and during the policy change by offering information, education, programs, counseling support and nicotine replacement therapy onsite and during workshift hours. Many employees cut back and successfully quit over the nine-month policy preparation process’and many also had their stories highlighted in the employee newsletter. Exempla Lutheran’s Colleen Hatton, Brenda Crowe and Salzmann are 2008 Public Health Champions for their work preparing and serving their community while promoting tobacco free workplaces in Jefferson County.