Friday, November 2, 2012

Highlights from 1st Quarter 2012 – 2013

The 1st quarter of this fiscal year kicked off with the execution of a series of community-based events and activities. The Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office and Addiction Studies Program at UAPB leveraged numerous opportunities to speak directly to the target audience via mediums they most often frequent and attend. We’re off to a great start!

Ronnie Brewer Weekend
July 13th – 14th - In FY12, the UAPB/SOS team secured a partnership with Ronnie Brewer, former Arkansas Razorback and Chicago Bull, now New York Knicks player, as a spokesperson for MISRGO’s anti-tobacco outreach efforts. Through this partnership, MISRGO served as a sponsor for the Ronnie Brewer Foundation Weekend benefitting northwest Arkansas Boys’ and Girls’ clubs. The annual event, held in Fayetteville, AR, serves as an opportunity to give back to the local community and encourage healthy habits and physical activity among youth. The UAPB/SOS team educated the Fayetteville/Springdale community of UAPB’s Addiction Studies graduate program, tobacco cessation and prevention programming and grant funding from the Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office.  A series of notable part-ners/sponsors participated alongside the UAPB/SOS team including:
  1. Nickelodeon
  2. Staybridge Suites 
  3. GMC Superior Automotive Group 
  4. Dynasty Transportation
  5. And more! 
Additionally, the event was hosted by NBA champion and wellness advocate, John Salley.

July 28th - The 1st quarter also allowed the MISRGO team to participate in a new event – the First Annual Back to School Kids Fair. The Fair included free school supplies, backpacks, haircuts, immunizations, and physical examinations. It was an opportunity for the entire family and kids of all ages to enjoy games, face painting, jump zones, a balloon artist, vendors and much more!

For MISRGO, the Kids Fair was an avenue to educate parents and youth about Act 811 and the overall benefits of tobacco prevention and cessation with the help of two MISRGO sub-grantees (Women’s Council on African American Affairs and We Care of Pulaski County) and Arkansas State Trooper, Wanda James.

Kid's Fair
MISRGO served as a sponsor to the “Parent Corner” and had exclusivity for health-related communications. A total of 2,500 kids were served! The approximate ethnic breakdown of attendees was 5% Caucasian; 6% Hispanic; and 89% African American. MISRGO received a total of 14 fax back referral forms. Additionally, 21 people decided to live healthier, smoke-free lives for themselves and their loved ones by calling the Quit Line while on site at the Fair.

August 31st - MISRGO participated in the Delta Classic 4 Literacy “Old Skool” Concert once again this year. The event took place Friday, August 31st at the Statehouse Convention Center as part of the weekend-long activity line-up in support of the annual Delta Classic 4 Literacy football game. The Delta Classic 4 Literacy was designed to raise awareness about literacy improvement needs in the Delta region and raise money to fund literacy programs. Since 2006, $55,000 from the Delta Classic 4 Literacy has been donated to Arkansas Literacy Councils.

MISRGO served as a sponsor for this concert. This year’s concert attracted approximately 3,100 R&B music lovers from across the State of Arkansas.
Latino Leadership Networking Reception

September 13th – In support of the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas’ (CTFA) 10th Annual Striking Out Tobacco in Arkansas Conference, MISRGO assisted in the execution of the “Latino Leadership Networking Reception.” The reception took place directly following the Conference and attracted more than 40 public health advocates and anti-tobacco warriors across Arkansas’ Hispanic communities. MISRGO provided strategic event coordination and Public Relations support for this reception along with Maura Yancy of Hola! Arkansas.

Evergreen Baptist Church Tobacco Awareness Program Hosts Tobacco Education Event

Evergreen Baptist Church

The Evergreen Baptist Church Tobacco Awareness Program (EGBCTAP), in El Dorado, AR, presented their third “Think Like a Woman… Act Like a Lady” event.  Earlene Burns and Brenda Hegwood  joined forces with EGBCTAP to present an eventful conference with pledges taken to quit smoking; disallow smoking in cars and homes; and consider training for the 40 Days to Freedom classes.

Anti-Tobacco Advocates Gather for 10th Annual Striking Out Tobacco Conference

Striking Out Tobacco Conference

More than 160 advocates from around the state celebrating public health successes from the past decade gathered for the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas’ 10th annual Striking Out Tobacco in Arkansas Conference in North Little Rock, September 13th, 2012.  Tobacco advocates learned best practices from some of the nation’s top tobacco control authorities. The Latino Networking Reception, sponsored by MISRGO at UAPB immediately followed at North Little’s Wyndham Riverfront Hotel.

Mississippi County Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas Participates in National Webinar

Elroy Brown speaks at webinar

Elroy Brown, of the Mississippi County Coalition For A Tobacco Free Arkansas participated in a nationwide webinar with national known speakers Amber Bullock of the American Legacy Foundation of Washington, D.C. , and Dr. Phillip Gardiner, a public Health activist, administrator, evaluator and researcher, of the University of California, office of the President. One of the goals of the Mississippi County Coalition For A Tobacco Free Arkansas is creating tobacco free environments. Employees who work in smoke-filled businesses suffer a 25-50 percent higher risk of heart attack and higher rate of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as increased acute respiratory disease and measurable decreases in lung function. For information on quitting tobacco call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit

Monday, May 14, 2012

Highlights from 3rd Quarter 2012

February 15 - This quarter afforded us the opportunity to educate our African American target audience via the UAMS Mid-South Black Expo.  The Black Expo took place at the Little Rock Metroplex Saturday, February 15.  The Expo takes place each year as a means to showcase minority-based companies and initiatives that directly target this portion of the population (i.e. the Minority Initiative of Stamp Out Smoking).

Our partnership with the Black Expo was non-traditional for this year as we sought opportunities to truly activate this event for our anti-tobacco messaging platform.  For this year's event, we were able to secure not only a traditional booth to distribute collateral information, but also two additional spaces within the venue.

One such space was utilized to consult individuals in the completion of the Fax Back Referral Forms.  The other space/room was utilized to activate on-site quit attempts via the "Quit to Call" mechanism.  We successfully secured fourteen Fax Back Referral Forms from this one-day event!  Approximately 3,300 people attended this event throughout the day.

February 17 - One of the final community-based events we successfully executed this quarter was the partnership with La Pantera radio station (local Hispanic radio station) in support of the highly-acclaimed Gerardo Ortiz Concert.  Gerardo is a sought-after Latin Music Award Chart "star" within the Hispanic community.  His concert took place at the Little Rock Metroplex.  The event drew nearly 2,000 Hispanics not only from Central Arkansas, but throughout the state.  There were approximately 1,600 tickets sold and 300 comp tickets.

The activation of this event included the raffling of a sombrero to a selected winner.  We utilized this raffle as a "draw" to the UAPB/SOS booth.  Once visitors stopped at our booth, we had the opportunity to deliver our anti-tobacco prevention and cessation messaging.  We also gathered more than 250 names and contact information from Hispanics entering the raffle.

9th Annual Saving the Lives of Arkansas Children - Hosted in Blytheville

The Mississippi County Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas hosted its 9th Annual Saving the Lives of Arkansas Children Health Celebration Banquet April 13 at 6:00 pm at the First Missionary Baptist Church. The church is located at 600 E. McHaney Street in Blytheville. The Keynote speaker of the banquet was Amber Bullock of the American Legacy Foundation, of Washington, D.C.

Amber E. Bullock is Executive Vice President, Program Development, for Legacy. Mrs. Bullock is a seasoned public health administrator and educator, with more than 30 years’ of experience working with various health professionals, researchers, clinicians, community-based organizations, and consumer groups on a range of behavioral risk factor public health issues.

Mrs. Bullock provides oversight and direction for the Foundation’s community technical assistance and training programs, priority population initiatives, youth activism programs, Legacy’s Partnership for Healthier Communities Initiative as well as grant and program dissemination tools and resources. Her special areas of interest include addressing tobacco related disparities, community capacity building and sustainability issues. During 2011, Mrs. Bullock served as guest co-editor of a special supplement of Health Promotion Practice which focuses on training and technical assistance lessons learned to sustain social norm issues in tobacco control.

Prior to joining Legacy, she served as Prospect Associates Ltd.’s Vice President of Public and Community Health Promotion and also as Director of the Coordinating Center for the National Cancer Institute’s American Stop Smoking Intervention Study (ASSIST) initiative. Over the course of her career, she has provided technical assistance and training and managerial direction on a diverse range of public health and social justice issues including women’s health, cardiovascular risk factors, multicultural competency, reproductive health, tobacco prevention, cessation programming and advocacy, youth/young adult health promotion, and HIV/AIDS. She previously served as Director of Education and Research for the American College Health Association, and worked early in her professional career for the American Heart Association, where she developed and managed a wide range of research administration, consumer health promotion, and professional education programs.

Mrs. Bullock received her public health master’s degree in community health education from San Jose State University, and her undergraduate degree in human development at California State University, Hayward. She is a chartered certified health education specialist as designated by The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.  The Mississippi County Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas was proud to have Mrs. Bullock serve as its event keynote speaker.

EGBCTAP Forms Partnership for Tobacco Control Education

The Evergreen Baptist Church Tobacco Awareness Program was honored to join forces with The Church Without Walls 2012 presented by New Dimensions Fellowship, Bishop Eddie Yarbrough, and Founder. The event, held April 17 through April 20 at Doe’s Laundromat in El Dorado, was designed to assist minorities, as well as others, in making better choices in health decisions, including tobacco facts and other issues that affect minorities. The following Sunday, the event continued at Evergreen Baptist Church and included worship, fellowship, food, and fun.

Success was achieved as follows: 100 gift packs of washing powder for machines were prepared by youth and adults; collaboration with 16 new churches who were not formerly coalition members who contributed quarters, washing powder, and bleach; 40 free dinners were given; 48 allowed us to help with clothing; 20 pledged to quit smoking with the assistance of EGBCTAP, local barbers donated free services for one per month cuts; 6 community service awards were presented; 55 prayer requests were honored and 5 participants prayed to receive Christ!

Collaborating partners included:

  • Morning Star #2
  • Fairview COGIC 
  •  Divine Faith Fellowship 
  • St. John Douglas Chapel
  • Power House 
  • St. James 
  • St. Vestal CME 
  • Evergreen Victory Church
  • New Eastside 
  • Faith-in-the-Word 
  • United Covenant 
  • New Life EGBCTAP
  • Abundant Life COGIC 
  • Immanuel 
  • Changing Lives COGIC 
  • Those with No Church Home
  • Friendship Outreach 
  • Salvation Army 
  • Union Mission 
  • Fries Barbers
... and many others!

New Hope Baptist Church Adopts a Smoke-Free Campus Policy

On Saturday, February 11, 2012, New Hope Baptist Church, 1851 Howard Street, Little Rock, Arkansas was draped with community and public health leaders, elected officials, such as state senator, Joyce Elliot and Little Rock Mayor, Mark Stodola, concerned citizens, and members of the New Hope Baptist Church demonstrating their support for a new 100% smoke-free church campus policy adopted by the leadership of this inner-city church. The public health awareness press conference informed those in attendance and the general public of the perils of smoking and the negative health impact tobacco use has on African-American communities. In the U.S., 20.6% of African-Americans smoke, but account for only 12% of the U.S. population. 45,000 African-Americans die annually from smoking related causes. Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both African American men and women and kills more African Americans than any other type of cancer.

Historically, the African-American Church has been a strong force within African-American communities. New Hope Baptist Church leadership team believes the church should serve as a role model by adopting a 100% smoke-free campus policy and by sending powerful smoke-free/tobacco-free messages to its church members and surrounding neighbors. The recently adopted smoke-free campus policy adopted by New Hope will restrict smoking on church grounds and at church sponsored events held elsewhere. According to Reverend Michael Perkins, Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church, “An effective way to reach and educate people with the highest risk of suffering the harms from smoking and other tobacco use is for the church to become actively engaged in tobacco prevention and education efforts and adopt smoke-free/tobacco-free policies.”

Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas (CTFA), the sponsor of the event, encourages other churches to adopt similar policies to protect their members and others from the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure which is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

Mississippi County Teen Summit - A Great Success!

Elroy Brown, chairman/coordinator of the Mississippi County Coalition For A Tobacco Free Arkansas recently spoke to more than 300 high school students at the Mississippi County Teen Summit held at Arkansas Northeasten College. Brown spoke about the dangers of secondhand smoke and the addiction to smokeless tobacco.  He shared that these addictions are just as strong as the addiction to cigarettes, if not worse. Brown said No Tobacco Is Safe Tobacco. Smokeless tobacco is far from being harmless and is not a healthy alternative to smoking. The Mississippi County Coalition For A Tobacco Free Arkansas is funded by the Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office, the Arkansas Department of Health Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program, and the Arkansas Cancer Coalition. For information on quitting tobacco, call 1-800-784-8669.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Stickyz Fingers Restaurant and Bar Goes Smoke-free

Smoke-free Restaurant Award presented to Stickyz Fingers by Katherine Donald
from The Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas, a MISRGO sub-grantee.

October 14, 2011, about twenty tobacco prevention advocates in Little Rock participated in Dine Out for Lunch Day at Stickyz Fingers to express appreciation for the restaurant’s recent adoption of a smoke-free workplace policy to protect the health of its workers and patrons.

Secondhand smoke exposure is the third leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. killing more than 53,000 non-smokers each year. In Arkansas, an estimated 510 non-smokers die, annually, from breathing secondhand smoke. The 2006 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report concluded that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that establishing smoke-free environments is the only proven way to prevent exposure.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that smoke-free restaurants can expect to save about $190 per 1000 square feet each year in lower cleaning and maintenance costs. [Michigan Department of Community Health, (2000)]. The EPA also estimates a saving of $4 billion to $8 billion per year in building operations and maintenance costs if comprehensive smoke-free indoor air policies are adopted nationwide. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Clean Indoor Air Regulation Fact-sheet. “National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. April 2001.)
Advocates celebrate new smoke-free policy

Join with the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas as it gives kudos to Stickyz Fingers for going smoke-free, and as it asks other restaurants and bars that currently allow smoking, to adopt a smoke-free workplace policy to protect the health of their workers. For more information, contact the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas at (501) 687-0345.

Highlights from 2nd Quarter 2011 – 2012

It’s hard to believe 2011 has come and gone. I guess this proves that time flys when you’re having fun – encouraging Arkansas’ minority communities to Stamp Out Smoking! This past quarter, your MISRGO team was busy encouraging the prevention and cessation of tobacco. Below is just a quick recap of our successes:

  • November 29th, your MISRGO team hosted an informative workshop entitled Outing Tobacco: Practices & Prevention in LGBT Communities. This free event focused on best practices and prevention strategies to de-market tobacco in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) community. More than 50 sub-grantees, community supporters and anti-tobacco advocates participated in this workshop!
  • December 10th, your MISRGO team launched the holiday season with participation in the 2011 – 2012 Jammers Charity Basketball Games. From December – May 2012, MISRGO will partner with Jammers to increase awareness of the ills of tobacco consumption, distribute educational materials, inform audiences about services accessible via the Quit Line and much more! Average attendance for the games is 500! We encourage each of you to come out and support your MISRGO team. Check us out in action at the following: 
      • Camden   Feb 10 
      • Stuttgart   Feb 18 
      • Hope   Mar 3 
      • Cotton Plant   Mar 10 
      • Fordyce   Mar 17 
      • Warren   Mar 31 
      • Russellville   Apr 14 
      • Hot Springs   Apr 28 
      • Monticello   May 5 
      • Dermott   May 19
MISRGO booth at December 17th Jammers game
in McGhee, Arkansas (Desha County)

Toni McCastle, Media Liaison, shares tobacco facts with December 10th
Jammers game attendees in Benton, Arkansas (Saline County)

Judge Frank Weaver and Madison County Health Coalition Collaborate for Great American Smokeout Day

Judge Frank Weaver partnered with the Madison County Health Coalition by signing a proclamation for November 17th, 2011 as the Great American Smokeout.  Millions of smokers have participated in the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout, a day on which they give up cigarettes for 24 hours - in hopes that they may quit for good.  If you choose to quit and decide you need help, call 1-800-Quit-Now (1-800-784-8669).

Headstart Students Learn that Tobacco is "Yucky"

Learning that Tobacco is bad for them!

November 15, 2011, headstart students colored the Act 811 activity book and learned that cigarettes are bad for them.  The little poems were read to them by the coordinator and all students chimed in saying that cigarettes are "YUCKY"!  Parents are signing the Smokefree Home/Car pledge and sign-in sheets will be picked up when finished.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

MISRGO Grantee Shares Major Accomploshment

Katherine Donald of the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas spearheads a system change for the Law Enforcement Training Academy in Camden.  Below Katherine shares her success with the team here at MISRGO: