Gerber Memorial gets state grant to pilot extensive quit nicotine program
FREMONT– Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial has received a state grant to strengthen community and healthcare-related programs designed to help people quit tobacco and nicotine. The $52,000 Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Tobacco Control Program grant is effective Oct. 1 and allows Gerber Memorial to expand on its existing and acclaimed tobacco cessation efforts.
“Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial is grateful to the State of Michigan for providing resources that can help Newaygo County make even greater strides in our efforts to reduce tobacco and nicotine use in our community,” said Josh Gustafson, Gerber Memorial’s director of community health and wellness. “Thanks to this grant, our tobacco cessation program can expand and further strengthen valuable community partnerships that have been instrumental in our success. By September 2019, Newaygo County will be a leader in Spectrum Health’s efforts to help make Michigan tobacco and nicotine-free.”
Gerber Memorial’s community health team, with technical assistance from the MDHHS Tobacco Control Program staff, will use the grant funds to leverage current and proposed partnerships across the county in an effort to increase the number of adults and youth in the community who quit using commercial tobacco. They will do so by adopting and implementing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Clinical Practice Guideline for Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence. For Gerber Memorial, this means tobacco cessation interventions will be embedded into all avenues of routine clinical care. Through these changes, healthcare providers will consistently screen patients for tobacco use and intervene with patients who use tobacco, providing them with the support and resources they need to quit.
Gerber Memorial’s goals for the grant project include implementing a tobacco user screening to identify all tobacco users at every clinical visit, develop a process to ensure that tobacco treatment is fully integrated into care at the hospital and outpatient clinics, and decrease tobacco-related health conditions, diseases and deaths. Currently, 25.5 percent of Newaygo County adults use tobacco and nicotine products; the rate for youth is 8.3 percent. Gerber Memorial is aiming to reduce those rates to 23 percent and 7 percent respectively.
“In addition to the health systems focus, by September 2019 Gerber Memorial aims to increase the number of smoke-free parks in Newaygo County, certify additional staff as Tobacco Treatment Specialists, and offer five monthly tobacco education and cessation sessions throughout Newaygo County, with drop-in sessions included at Insight Pregnancy Services to target low-income pregnant women”, Gustafson said.
“The rural nature of Newaygo County and high rates of poverty create transportation barriers for a lot of people, so these funds will also allow us to bring tobacco cessation services to people where they live,” Gustafson said. “By increasing the availability of information and resources, more people can get access to the things they need to quit the use of tobacco and nicotine. And by offering these services in our clinics, at our hospital and out in the community, we hope to empower more people to begin their journey toward improved health and wellness.”
Gerber Memorial will monitor success through a range of activities, such as community surveys, the number of additional smoke-free policies implemented in Newaygo County, the frequency of health care providers asking about and assisting patients with quitting tobacco use, the proportion of people who’ve successfully quit tobacco with support from a healthcare provider, and the number of referrals to a local Tobacco Treatment Specialist or calls to the MI Tobacco Quit Line.