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Grant Aims to Reduce Smoking in Covington, Gallatin County

A new grant awarded to the NKY BUILD Partnership aims to reduce smoking rates in the City of Covington and Gallatin County.

The BUILD Health Challenge is a national program that puts multi-sector community partnerships at the foundation of improving health for everyone, according to a news release. The project will focus on reducing tobacco use through innovative data sharing and creative engagement strategies that serve the urban community of Covington and the rural community of Gallatin County.

The NKY BUILD Partnership is one of 19 communities selected to participate.

BUILD selected the NKY BUILD Partnership because of its Bold, Upstream, Integrated, Local, and Data-driven (BUILD) ideas to improve the health of its residents, a news release said.

NKY BUILD Grant Partnership is comprised of the Northern Kentucky Regional Alliance, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, the Northern Kentucky Health Department, Three Rivers District Health Department, and the Center for Great Neighborhoods. These organizations will work together, with guidance from BUILD advisors, to identify and implement innovative solutions to community challenges. Matching funds from St. Elizabeth Healthcare, combined with BUILD’s $231,056 two-year grant, will further extend the partnership’s capacity to help reduce smoking rates in Covington and Gallatin County.

Both Covington (38 percent) and Gallatin County (25 percent) are well above the national average adult smoking rate of 16.8 percent. This grant will work towards decreasing smoking rates by 2 percent in Covington and 1 percent in Gallatin County by August of 2019. Multiple strategies will be used to help smokers in these target areas quit. Local residents will have a chance to provide input as the community strategies are developed.

“St. Elizabeth Healthcare has been committed to the health and well-being of the Northern Kentucky community for over 155 years and will continue that commitment through this project. Kentucky is ranked number one in both smoking rates and cancer deaths in the nation, and with both Covington and Gallatin County being part of our service area, we want to do everything possible to change these rankings,” said Sarah Giolando, St. Elizabeth Healthcare Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer. “We are honored to be a partner in this endeavor to reduce smoking rates, improve organizational data sharing to direct combined health initiatives and strategy, and help lead tobacco-free policies, which will help lead Northern Kentucky to becoming one of the healthiest communities in America.”

“Every community faces its own set of challenges and opportunities when it comes to improving the health of its residents,” said Emily Yu, executive director of the BUILD Health Challenge. “With this award, we hope to catalyze the work of Reducing Tobacco Use through innovative data sharing and creative engagement strategies while bringing together, residents and organizations from across sectors to address the root causes of health issues in Covington and Gallatin County—ultimately transforming how we think about health in America.”

-Staff report

Image via Wiki Commons