Leadership Academies for Wellness and Smoking Cessation
SAMHSA Leadership Academy State Activities
NORTH CAROLINA LEADERSHIP ACADEMY FOR WELLNESS AND SMOKING CESSATION
North Carolina was the fifth state to hold a Leadership Academy on Wellness and Smoking Cession. On the evening of August 17th and all day August 18, 2011, forty-two leaders in public health, behavioral health, and tobacco control came together for a first-ever North Carolina initiative focused on reducing smoking prevalence among people with behavioral health disorders.
Steve Jordan, MA, Director, Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, and J. Luckey Welsh, FACHE, Director, Division of State Operated Healthcare Facilities welcomed participants to the summit. Mr. Jordan stated, “It is a golden opportunity for us, North Carolina, to lead with an action plan. When the opportunity came for us to determine if we wanted to be part of the Leadership Academy, I said, ‘Yes.’” He added, “We have to work with the providers, families and patients to provide better interventions and change the culture. Together, we can eliminate the isolation of people with mental illness that contributes to smoking.”
Mr. Welsh stated, “I hope that we will put together an action plan that we can implement in our community and facility settings across the state. We can do it. On that note, let’s get to work!”
Flo Stein, MPH, Chief, Community Policy Management Section, NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, DHHS, also spoke to summit attendees. She added, “Thank you all for being here. I just got back from the SAMHSA Advisory Council Meeting, and a lot of people asked about North Carolina. They asked how we can do the things we do. It’s because we have excellent leaders. There are many of you in the room who are pioneers.”
Participants represented federal, state, and local agencies, including mental health, addictions, consumer, community services, non-profit, academic, quitline, and chronic disease prevention organizations. Themes that emerged from the groups’ interest in being at the summit included data, youth, action plan for change, training and education, networking, policy and systems changes, and consumer-focused strategies.
Partners adopted the baseline measure of 19.8% smoking rate among North Carolina general population 49.0% of adult mental health clients; and 63.0% of adult substance abuse clients.
The partners adopted the target to reduce smoking prevalence among the general population to 16%; adult mental health clients to 39%; and adult substance abuse clients to 50%, each by end-of-year 2016. The term “16% by 2016” was coined by participants as a slogan for the target measure.
North Carolina is the fifth state selected to hold Leadership Academies. The Academies are made possible by SAMHSA and the SCLC. The goals of the Academies are to reduce smoking and nicotine addiction among behavioral health consumers and staff, to stimulate cooperation and collaboration among the fields of public health, including tobacco control and prevention, mental health, addiction treatment and prevention.