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FirstHealth Community Health Services Presents at National Tobacco Control Conference

| Date Posted: 5/29/2012

PINEHURST – Sallie Beth Johnson and Cindy Laton, FirstHealth Community Health Services health educators, recently presented at The Health Education Council and Break Free Alliance’s third national tobacco control conference titled Promising Practices to Eliminate Tobacco-Related Disparities: The Power of Communities. 

Sallie Beth Johnson
Sallie Beth Johnson

Cindy Laton
Cindy Laton

The conference, which took place April 17 and 18 in New Orleans, La., focused on innovative practice-based models to address tobacco- and chronic disease-related health disparities among low socioeconomic status and other disparate communities.

FirstHealth Community Health Services was invited to share its local work in two of the conference’s oral presentations.

During her presentation, Johnson discussed FirstHealth’s successful partnerships with compensatory education, vocational rehabilitation and group homes to help individuals with intellectual disabilities get active, eat healthy and quit tobacco.

“I provided examples of how we have modified our healthy eating and physical activity behavior change programs with tools such as step-by-step photo recipes and adaptive physical activities,” says Johnson.  “I also discussed the importance of working with partner sites to adopt healthy policies and create supportive environments such as tobacco-free zones.”

Laton presented cessation case studies consisting of systems changes in clinical, occupational and community settings to reach low socioeconomic populations.

“As the first health system in the state to go tobacco free, FirstHealth has a long history of tobacco cessation services,” says Laton.  “What started out as tobacco cessation for our employees has expanded to reach tobacco-users in various areas.”

In an effort to better reach low socioeconomic tobacco users, FirstHealth has expanded tobacco cessation to free care clinics, in-patient consultations and services offered in non-traditional sites such as workplaces, churches and Head Start centers.

Contributing authors to Laton’s presentation were FirstHealth tobacco treatment specialists Lynn Antil, Amy Hamilton-Forester, Sallie Beth Johnson and Melissa Kuhn and health programs manager Linda Harte.

For more information about FirstHealth Community Health Services programs to get active, eat healthy and quit tobacco, visit

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