Director’s Note (August 2016)

Dear PRCHN Friends,
First, I want to personally invite each of you to Food Access and Food Security among Cleveland’s Residents on September 14th, from 8:00-11:30 at the Tinkham Veale Center on our campus, where the focus will be Food Access and Food Security among Cleveland’s Residents. Together with our Network of Community Advisors, we will share the findings of numerous studies and projects conducted by the PRCHN and its many community partners. Read more about this and other PRCHN activities in the newsletter below. You can register for Food Access and Food Security here.

Second, as many of you know, Cleveland and the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center were honored a few weeks ago with a visit from Vice President Biden as part of the Cancer Moonshot Initiative to recognize our accomplishments in the field and challenge us to build upon our knowledge in cancer prevention.

We know that one of the most powerful prevention targets is tobacco use, and we also know from our most recent city-wide survey that nearly 40% of Cleveland adults use tobacco, twice the national average. And so we were pleased and proud to read the July 27, 2016, column in, by Dr. Stanton Gerson, the Director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, where he boldly announced the Cancer Center’s commitment to “cut the city [tobacco] rate in half–at least.”

We at the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods at CWRU (PRCHN) applaud this bold statement and today publicly announce our commitment to stand with the Cancer Center to do what it takes to tackle the tobacco epidemic affecting our community, especially our youth and the under-served.
As part of our PRCHN mission to reduce the burden of chronic disease in Cleveland’s under-served and disadvantaged neighborhoods, we have made tobacco prevention and cessation one of our responsive research “pillars.” Associate Directors Dr. Erika Trapl and Dr. Sue Flocke have made significant contributions toward changing the environment, affecting public policy, and testing new strategies to help move the needle on tobacco use and cessation among both youth and adults. Dr. Trapl’s research contributed to the city passing the Tobacco 21 law, now in effect, and helped elevate the issue of little cigar use among policymakers and the national tobacco control community. Dr. Flocke’s research focuses on assessing nicotine dependence among users of little cigars and working with community health centers to connect patients to the state Quitline counseling services. She also leads the PRCHN’s efforts on the national Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network to assess Federally Qualified Health Centers’ capacity for providing tobacco and lung cancer screening.
We are excited to join Dr. Gerson and the Cancer Center in this new initiative to cut the tobacco rate in half by offering our own resources, expertise, and passion for helping Clevelanders live healthier lives through the following activities:

* Conduct environmental surveillance for monitoring use and cessation efforts;* Share our surveillance data to inform local interventions and policies;* Conduct research to better understand what cessation supports are needed/work for those with the fewest resources;* Bridge the gap between community efforts and university-based efforts;* Engage in multi-partner collaboratives such as Healthy Cleveland and HIP-Cuyahoga to advance changes that support a tobacco-free Cleveland;* Provide the local evidence to support policy and environmental changes to reduce tobacco use.

The Case Comprehensive Cancer Center will bring the local health care centers to the table; the PRCHN stands ready to collaborate with them and sign on to the collective commitment to achieve this goal.
Our role in community initiatives makes the PRCHN uniquely positioned to bring a model of collective engagement together to address this challenge. It is a lofty goal, but not out of reach. Together, we can change lives.
You can read more about our tobacco research on the website: