Health advocate Dianne Coleman from the Three Rivers District Health Department (TRDHD) was honored as the 2013 David B. Stevens M.D. Smoke-free Advocate of the Year at the annual Spring Conference hosted by University of Kentucky’s Center for Smoke-free Policy on April 18 at Baptist Health in Lexington. The advocate of the year is recognized for excellence in promoting secondhand smoke education and smoke-free policy.
Coleman is a community health educator for Gallatin County and is employed by the Three Rivers District Health Department (TRDHD). She is a two time recipient of the TRDHD Employee Spirit of Public Health Award, due to her positive attitude, willingness to assist co-workers and her involvement in the community.
Due in large part to Coleman’s efforts, TRDHD was one of the first 11 public health departments to achieve national accreditation status from the Public Health Accreditation Board. She also led the effort for TRDHD to apply for and receive a National Association of County and City Health Officials grant (ACHIEVE – Action Communities for Health, Innovation, and Environmental Change) aimed at improving tobacco control policy in all four counties of the TRDHD service area.
Coleman was also instrumental in the development of a partnership with the second largest industry in the Three Rivers service area. Due to her advocacy, Gallatin Steel was one of the first industries in the area to go tobacco-free. Since then, the partnership between Gallatin Steel and the TRDHD has been an invaluable impetus for other parts of the community to go smoke-free. Most recently, the Gallatin County School Board passed a tobacco-free policy that will be effective at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.
Coleman’s current efforts are focused on seeking grant money that can be used to develop regulations for all county and city parks to go smoke-free. She has already garnered tremendous support, including the support of the county Judge-Executive. She is also working to implement a Cooper Clayton Smoking Cessation class at her local high school for students who wish to stop using tobacco.
Coleman is an exemplary advocate for local smoke-free policy. Her leadership has fueled the enthusiasm and commitment of her co-workers, key stakeholders, and community members to become stronger advocates for smoke-free policy in their respective counties.
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