Casa Grande Dispatch Article on Pinal County’s BTCD Award of Achievement

School Health Liaison Program wins state award

Casa Grande Dispatch Staff Reports- Published: Friday, November 11, 2011

The Arizona Department of Health Services Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease has presented the Pinal County School Health Liaison Program with its Award of Achievement.

The program works with schools to improve student health and prevent chronic diseases.

Heather Murphy, Pinal County communications director, said the School Health Liaison Program was created by Pinal County Public Health Director Thomas Schryer after funding for other prevention programs began tapering off two years ago.

Liaisons are each assigned to a small number of schools, where they work with administrators, staff, parents and students to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and risky lifestyle factors — like tobacco use, poor nutrition and alcohol and drug abuse — that contribute to the development of chronic diseases.

The liaisons also help create a “culture of health” in schools by providing daily health tips for morning announcements, classroom instruction, tools to help teachers integrate health messages into daily lesson plans, work-site wellness activities, information for parents and prevention programs for children.

Other counties receiving awards from the bureau were Mohave, Cochise, Maricopa and Yuma.

“These outstanding and often grassroots programs are to be congratulated and have contributed to the steady decrease in tobacco use in our state,” said Bureau Chief Wayne Tormala.

“Smoking prevalence is down to 15 percent in Arizona, compared to the nation’s 19 percent.”

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