I’m pleased to announce a couple of changes in our bureau structure that are designed to bring significant gains to our work:
Effective Monday, February 25th, Erica Ferguson will assume a key role on our tobacco team as the point person in addressing tobacco prevention and cessation in the LGBTQ community of Arizona. This is a significant shift for us, as we seek to reduce tobacco use for the more than 150,000 people in this community who currently use tobacco. Tobacco is the leading cause of chronic disease and death across all populations, and for every person that we can help quit tobacco, an additional 10 – 30 years of productive living can be realized. We are proud to bring Erica’s skills, networking, and commitment to this critical area.
Also, I’m pleased to announce that Ben Palmer, who has been serving as a point person in our overall marketing and communications work, will be fully dedicated to the tobacco team. It is important to note that Ben will continue to be available to all areas on an “as needed” basis, but that he will also be dedicating his time and talent to specific program areas in tobacco control.
Both of these moves are part of the larger effort to re-think our directions for the next five years in tobacco control. They have been made at least partially possible with the introductions of John Sapero, who will have a “hands-on” role with the PPGA group, and Chris Minnick, who starts next week as the communications director of the Division of Public Health – Prevention Services. As one of the bureaus with a larger marketing budget, Chris, who has been the communications director for the New Mexico State Health Dept., will be able to play a significant role in our marketing efforts.
Wayne Tormala, Chief
Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease