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NKY BUILD Grant Partnership Aims to Help Curb Tobacco Use in Covington and Gallatin County

Quit for Good, is the message going out to residents of Covington and Gallatin County as a unique partnership between the BUILD Health Challenge - a national program that utilizes community partnerships to improve health - and local entities including the Northern Kentucky Regional Alliance, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Interact for Health, the Northern Kentucky Health Department, Three Rivers District Health Department, and The Center for Great Neighborhoods was launched today to help reduce smoking rates in these two areas of northern Kentucky. 


Kentucky has the highest smoking rates of any state in the country, with more than 24% of adults in the state reporting that they use tobacco, compared to 13.9% nationwide. These numbers have prompted a local group to apply for a grant from the BUILD Health Challenge. The project announced today will incorporate more than $500,000 of funding: $250,000 from the BUILD program which was supported by Interact for Health, as well as $250,000 in matching funds from St. Elizabeth Healthcare, whose stated vision is to “lead northern Kentucky to become one of the healthiest communities in America”. 


“Kentucky leads the nation in lung cancer deaths, and smoking related illnesses cost the Commonwealth more than $2 billion annually,” said Karen Finan, President and CEO of the Northern Kentucky Regional Alliance, the local organization that applied for the grant. “We brought together a strong, collaborative group of community partners to make this possible, and the commitment from St. Elizabeth provides a wide range of resources to help us launch and sustain this program.”


The Quit for Good program provides a two-week supply of nicotine patches to residents and workers in Covington and Gallatin County. Available from participating local pharmacies, the patches help aide those who are trying to quit smoking. In addition to the nicotine patches, pharmacists at participating pharmacies can help those interested in quitting smoking connect with other cessation resources. An official launch of the Quit for Good campaign was held this morning at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Covington. 


Representatives of the NKY BUILD Grant Partnership that spoke included Karen Finan, President & CEO – Northern Kentucky Regional Alliance; Garren Colvin, CEO – St. Elizabeth Healthcare; Lynne Saddler, MD., District Director of Health – Northern Kentucky Health Department; Kate Keller, VP Strategy & Policy – Interact for Health; and Dan Petronio, Associate Director – Center for Great Neighborhoods. 


“We view this as one of the most important collaborative efforts ever to benefit the overall health of Northern Kentuckians, and we are proud to be a part of this partnership,” Dr. Saddler said. “We are hopeful that when we look back 12 months from now, that we see this as the start toward a healthier Northern Kentucky.”


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