$200,000 IN HEALTH GRANTS FOR RURAL COMMUNITIES Now AVAILABLE
Project ASIRT Looks to Reduce Tobacco-Use in Priority Populations
NEW ORLEANS- Addressing Systemic Inequities to Reduce Tobacco (ASIRT), a program of Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI) is seeking to engage local community leaders, organizations, and residents in Black, rural communities (Ferriday, Jonesville, Lake Providence, Tallulah, Bastrop, Delhi, Opelousas, Kentwood, St. Joseph, and Newellton) to work towards addressing systemic inequities that drive high rates of tobacco use. Partnership grants up to $20,000 will be awarded to community-based organizations (CBOs). Rural health clinics (RHCs) and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs)in priority communities can receive up to $10,000.
Tobacco use causes chronic diseases that plague Black, rural communities. The stress of overt and systemic racism and other social inequities exacerbates high rates of tobacco use and health disparities in these communities. Policy changes at local, state, and organizational/institutional levels can impact health outcomes and decrease tobacco usage. Beyond decreasing tobacco use, Project ASIRT aims to support communities in improving the quality of life for their residents through capacity building and resources to achieve other goals unique to each community.
Grants will be used to address systemic inequities that contribute to high rates of tobacco use and other conditions in Black communities, increase the use of cessation programs for those who want to quit smoking, and create and promote prevention strategies for those who are not tobacco users.
Applicants committed to addressing complex social factors, including but not limited to transportation barriers, food insecurity, and digital inequities, within their communities in order to improve health disparities, are encouraged to apply.
Applications are live and can be found at LPHI.org/ASIRT.
- November 10, 2022: RFA Release Date – The RFA will be made available on the LPHI website
- December 6, 2022: Online Informational Session
- Register in advance for this meeting: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEkcOisrz0qHd0OZYBjS4fXvAfDVI1lstYh
- December 21, 2022: Application Submission Deadline
- January 25, 2023: Award Notification – Applicants will be notified of funding decisions via email
- February 15, 2023: Contract Signing Deadline – Grant contracts must be signed and returned to LPHI by this date
- March 1, 2023: Project Period Begins
Please note: All deadlines and performance period may be adjusted/extended based on the needs of the project.
Project ASIRT is funded through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Building Capacity to Reduce Tobacco Inequities in the South and Midwest.
The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living’s Next Era program is now accepting applications. Youth leaders can earn $5,000 in grants to help support tobacco-free messaging among youth. In addition, students receive ongoing training on running campaigns, public speaking, leadership, and other skills to help them to develop professional life skills. Get more information and submit an application at WeAreNextEra.org.
It has become clear over the past few years that the public health landscape shifts and changes at an
ever-quickening pace. LPHI’s role is to be both responsive to the immediate public health needs of
Louisiana residents and to create an environment for long-term public health improvements. In order to
do so, LPHI has created a three-year strategic plan to outline and guide the public health impact of the
Priority Areas and Goals
Racial Justice and Health Equity
Make LPHI a model for racial justice and health equity.
Partnerships and Collaboration
Nurture and cultivate partnerships and collaborations to accelerate community impact.
Create a healthier Louisiana by applying our expertise, assets, and innovation.
A Thriving Organization
Build a thriving learning organization that embodies adaptability, equity, and lays a strong foundation for excellence.
- Kathleen B. Kennedy, Pharm.D., Immediate Past Board Chair, Louisiana Public Health Institute Board of Directors
(April 5, 2022) – The Louisiana Public Health Institute’s (LPHI) Geaux Talk program released a report titled Youth and Young Adult Health in Shreveport, Louisiana: 2021 Survey Results that outlines the state of health for Shreveport youth and young adults ages 15-24. Overall, survey respondents indicated that mental and sexual health are the biggest concern in the region. The report also looked at additional topics including violence, academic performance, emotional abuse and neglect, bullying, substance use, suicide, nutrition/obesity, and more.
In conjunction with the release of the report, Geaux Talk hosted an art contest asking Shreveport youth to submit pieces of art that demonstrate what health means to them. Submissions answered the question: “What is the greatest health issue facing young people today?” The third-place winner was Zara Linnear who submitted a piece called Behind Closed Depressed Doors. Jade Burris was second with a piece called Duality. First place went to Julianna for her piece called I want to, but I’m not Allowed.
“Young people in the Shreveport region deserve access to quality and comprehensive health services and education,” said Kristie Bardell, managing director at LPHI. “This report helped us identify the existing resources, gaps in services, major health concerns for this age group, the challenges in addressing health outcomes, and the opportunities for improving the overall health.”
The assessment, which used a mixed-methods approach to gather community input, was conducted amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated underlying mental health concerns and the effects of trauma on the mental well-being of young people. Mental health was mentioned as a top concern by every stakeholder type. Young people felt overwhelmingly as though there are not enough resources to support mental health and that there were few places to turn for services. Stigma also plays a large role in preventing youth from accessing services and information for both mental and sexual health.
Regarding sexual health, youth focus group participants, CBOs, and health service providers, in particular, felt that sexual health remained a taboo topic in the area and that there was a lack of sex education and resources. Between 2016 and 2018, young people under the age of 24 accounted for 71% of chlamydia diagnoses and 62% of gonorrhea diagnoses in the Shreveport area. The Louisiana Department of Health Public Health Region 7, where Caddo Parish is located, had the third-highest number and rate of chlamydia and gonorrhea diagnoses in Louisiana.
“Improving and supporting adolescent health requires understanding the social determinants of health for young people in the Caddo Parish area,” said Arien Ragster, Family Health senior program coordinator for LPHI. “By educating youth and young adults on these health factors, as well as programs and resources that are available in the community, we can begin to address some of these issues and improve adolescent health.”
Despite challenges, participants identified many opportunities for advancing the health of young people in the region. These include advancing technology, building community support and trust, and engaging parents. Each system plays a unique and integral role in working together to meet the needs of young people in the community. Those interested in joining a coalition to support this work should visit GeauxTalk.org and enter an email address in the “Get Involved” section on the homepage.
Diversity and Inclusion Statement
Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) characterizes diversity as representing the differences and similarities of all of us that include, for example, individual characteristics (e.g., disability, age, education level, poverty status, rural/urban setting, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation), values, beliefs, experiences and backgrounds. TFL characterizes inclusion as creating a work environment and programming in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully as their authentic self to TFL’s mission.
January 12, 2022 – Today, The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) and Well-Ahead Louisiana released the 2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data on adult tobacco use in Louisiana.
From 2019 to 2020, the percentage of Louisiana adults who smoke fell from 21.9 percent to 18.3 percent, a nearly four percent drop. Data shows the largest decreases in Louisiana adult smokers without a high school diploma (40.6 percent in 2019, 34.8 percent in 2020), in households earning below $50,000 (28.3 percent in 2019, 23.7 percent in 2020), in households earning below $15,000 (41.1 percent in 2019, 30.2 percent in 2020), Black men (28.1 percent in 2019, 21.4 percent in 2020), Black women (16.9 percent in 2019, 10.9 percent in 2020), and members of the LGBTQ+ community (28.7 percent in 2019, 23.0 percent in 2020). Additional data can be found here under the “Priority Populations” section.
“We are cautiously optimistic about the 2020 BRFSS data showing a decrease in the number of Louisiana adults who smoke,” said Dr. Earl Benjamin-Robinson, director of TFL. “We know that 2020 was an extremely stressful year for everyone and that cigarette sales increased but more information is needed to assess how stressors like the COVID pandemic and past hurricanes have affected Louisiana’s smoking prevalence. We continue to provide support services for those who want to quit and advocating for smoke-free ordinances to protect Louisianans from secondhand smoke.”
The BRFSS is a collaborative project between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and US states and territories. The survey is conducted each year via telephone and is designed to collect data on health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services.
“We applaud anyone who wants to quit tobacco in the new year, because we know it’s not easy, but we also know the health benefits are worth it,” said Jabari Sullen, Division Manager, Tobacco Control and Health Policy of Well-Ahead Louisiana, the chronic disease prevention and healthcare access arm of the Louisiana Department of Health. “By taking advantage of Quit With Us, Louisiana’s quit coaches and nicotine replacement therapy, you’ll start off on the right track and have tools to help you quit for good.”
Louisianans interested in quitting tobacco can visit www.QuitWithUsLa.org or call 1-800-Quit-Now to connect with a quit coach and create a personalized Quit Plan. Coaches are available 24/7, seven days a week. Quit With Us, Louisiana also provides counseling services over the phone, via text, through an app, or on the website chatbox. Quit Coaches can also provide cessation medication and make recommendations on what prescription medications participants can review with their doctor. Young adults and individuals seeking to quit vaping can get vaping-specific cessation assistance by texting “VAPEFREE” to 873373.
LPHI, in partnership with the Community Health Center Association of Mississippi, Louisiana Primary Care Association, and Mississippi Association of Community Mental Health Centers, is pleased to announce that we will be facilitating a community of practice (CoP) in 2022 that will focus on equitable access to telehealth services. The CoP will engage behavioral health and primary care organizations in Louisiana and Mississippi that collaborate with each other to provide care to underserved communities. This CoP is part of a larger initiative – The Delta Center: Advancing Equitable Care and Payment for Telehealth in Louisiana and Mississippi.
As temporary measures to enable telehealth during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency are in transition at the national and state levels, healthcare organizations must now determine if and how they will continue to use telehealth to reach and improve the health outcomes of the people they serve. The CoP is designed for organizations interested in growing and sustaining telehealth services in a way that complements in-person care delivery and provides equitable access.
Instructions on how to apply can be found in the “How to Apply” section below.
- Participants will increase their understanding of health equity, including how to apply the concept to their work and how health equity is related to health outcomes.
- Participants will increase the capacity of their organizations to effectively deliver telehealth beyond the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency period.
- Participants will improve access to telehealth services in an equitable manner that is aligned with the needs and circumstances of the population they serve.
CoP participants must apply as a team made up of one primary care organization and one behavioral health organization that serve the same community. There will be a total of 8 participant organizations in 4 teams: 2 in LA and 2 in MS.
This opportunity is open to organizations that have a federal or state designation that identifies them as a provider that serves underserved communities as part of the healthcare safety net. Designations may include but are not limited to Federally Qualified Health Center, Rural Health Clinic, Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic, Community Mental Health Center, Human Services Authority, and Local Governing Entity.
Time Commitment and Key Activities
The CoP will take place for 1 year, from March 2022 through February 2023.
We recommend that each organization identifies 1 – 2 staff members as “champions” to consistently participate in all CoP activities and lead dissemination and implementation efforts at their organizations. Other staff members may be engaged as needed for sessions and activities that apply to their specific area of work.
Anticipated time commitment (per person): 34 hours over one year
- 4 learning sessions: 90 minutes each (6 hours)
- 4 individual check-ins: 30 min each (2 hours)
- Complete 2 assessments: 1 hour each (2 hours)
- Dissemination and implementation within their organization: 2 hours/month (24 hours)
Each participant organization within the team will receive a stipend of up to $5,000 for the one-year community of practice.
How to Apply
The application template is available for download here. Instructions for submitting a completed application are included in the downloadable template.
An informational webinar about this opportunity was held on 1/21/22. A recording of the webinar is available here.
Applications will be accepted through 2/21/22. Notices of acceptance will be sent in March.
December 2, 2021 – The Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI) has proudly served the residents of Louisiana for nearly 25 years. It has become clear over the past few years that the public health landscape shifts and changes at an ever-quickening pace. LPHI’s role is to be both responsive to the immediate public health needs of Louisiana residents and to create an environment for long-term public health improvements. In order to do so, LPHI has created a three-year strategic plan to outline and guide the public health impact of the organization.
“I want Louisiana to be the healthiest state in the Nation,” said LPHI CEO Shelina Davis. “I know that is not something that will happen quickly, but it is something that we all must begin to strive for. It is through that lens that we acknowledge the critical need for having a solid strategic plan to guide our path forward.”
The guiding elements of the strategic plan include an updated mission statement, vision statement, and set of values, along with four new Priority Areas: Racial Justice and Health Equity, Partnerships and Collaboration, A Healthier Louisiana, and A Thriving Organization.
“For years, LPHI has spoken out about the many factors that contribute to health, with a strong focus on the negative impacts of racism and inequity,” said Linda Usdin, LPHI board chair. “Undergoing the strategic planning process at this moment ensures that we are resolute in addressing the challenges we face and increase the impact of public health practices and guidelines.”
By implementing this plan, LPHI will be able to increase the impact of public health practices and guidelines and grow the scope and number of organizational partners. Each priority area is supported by a goal that provides overall direction. A Year One Action Plan has been developed for each of the priority areas, which highlights specific strategies that LPHI is committed to achieving in the first year of the plan’s implementation. The action plan will be updated annually to provide direction for the year.
Tulane University and LPHI partnered with stakeholders to address engagement in research on COVID-19 among communities who have been historically underrepresented as researchers and participants. The project introduced tools and mindsets designed to address disparities in health research by engaging in equity-centered work. Through a process of co-design, the team produced a toolkit to guide investigators and stakeholders in identifying research topics that are important to people on health issues that significantly impact their lives. The work on this equity-centered design toolkit was funded by a Eugene Washington Engagement Award from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).
The full toolkit is available here.
November 9, 2021 – The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) and Well-Ahead Louisiana are calling on youth to quit vaping and offering them a new tool to help.
Live Vape Free is a free texting program for Louisiana teens ages 13 to 17 who use e-cigarettes or vapes. The interactive program teaches skills that teens can use to quit vaping for good.
“We’ve learned that rates of depression and anxiety in children and adolescents have doubled since the start of the pandemic[i],” said Dr. Earl Benjamin-Robinson, director of TFL. “While teens may be turning to vapes to help with their mental state, another study has shown that sustained use of e-cigarettes actually increases the rates of depressive symptoms in youth[ii].”
“This, along with the physical harm vaping causes, makes it more important than ever that teens know about the cessation resources available to them.”
The rate of e-cigarette use among Louisiana teens has tripled since 2015, according to the Louisiana Youth Tobacco Survey.[iii] Live Vape Free is part of cessation services offered through the Louisiana Tobacco Quitline.
“Teenagers always seem to be on their phones, so we wanted to offer this support to meet them where they are,” explained Well-Ahead Louisiana Director Melissa Martin. “Quitting a tobacco product isn’t easy for anyone, but we must provide the tools to help our residents – even our youth – try.”
The support provided through Live Vape Free is text-message based and offers interactive coaching specifically geared towards teens. Participants have access to a Quit Coach at any time who can provide additional education, tools, and guidance to help them along their quit journey. Features include videos, quizzes, self-assessments, podcasts, and help for a teen to find their “why.”
Any teen in Louisiana ages 13 to 17 can enroll by texting “VAPEFREE” to 873373 and answering a few quick questions to get started.
The Louisiana Tobacco Quitline is a 24-hour, confidential, free tobacco cessation helpline that links people who are ready to quit using tobacco with trained tobacco cessation specialists who help create an individualized plan to quit. The Quitline can provide Louisiana residents free counseling and nicotine replacement therapies to help them quit tobacco for good.
A program of the Louisiana Public Health Institute, TFL engages in local and statewide tobacco control policy efforts that focus on preventing tobacco use, eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke, promoting cessation services, and identifying and eliminating tobacco-related disparities. For more information, visit www.tobaccofreeliving.org.
Well-Ahead Louisiana is the chronic disease prevention and healthcare access arm of the state Department of Health. Well-Ahead connects communities to tools and resources that help improve the health of Louisiana’s residents where they live, work, learn and play. For more information, visit www.wellaheadla.com.
(October 27, 2021) – Geaux Talk, a program of the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI), is focused on increasing access to health services and information for young people. In advance of releasing a report looking at the strengths, challenges, and opportunities impacting youth and young adult health in the Shreveport area, youth between the ages of 13 and 21 are invited to submit pieces of art that demonstrate what health means to them. Submissions should answer the question: “What is the greatest health issue facing young people today?”
To enter, send a registration form and a quality scan or a digital photograph (PDF/JPG files only) of visual art to firstname.lastname@example.org. First place will win $400, second place will win $200, and third place will receive $100.
Geaux Talk (and Create!) About Your Health Art Contest
December 10, 2021
First week in January
Shreveport area residents
The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco Free Living (TFL) and the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI) are disheartened by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) decision to approve the electronic cigarette created by tobacco company R.J. Reynolds. While we appreciate that the FDA is continuing to ensure all new tobacco products undergo the agency’s robust, scientific premarket evaluation, the fact that an e-cigarette product gained approval is concerning.
E-cigarettes have gained popularity with youth since their inception, creating a new generation of smokers who would not have previously used commercial tobacco. Previous data indicates e-cigarettes is the most common tobacco product used among all middle and high school students across most racial and ethnic groups; three in 10 LGBTQ+ youth currently vape with more than half of them having tried e-cigarettes.
Another concerning factor is that the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey found that approximately 10 percent of high school students who used vape products identified the R.J. Reynold product as the brand they use. With limited access to other e-cigarette products, we worry that young smokers will specifically seek out this product. We urge the FDA to monitor the sales of this product and continue the ban on all flavored tobacco products to prevent the initiation of tobacco use among young people.
While the product has been promoted as a cessation device, it has not been approved by the FDA for cessation. TFL offers cessation support for those interested in starting their quit journey through the Quit With Us, LA program. Support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 1-800-Quit-Now (1-800-784-8669) or visiting QuitWithUsLA.org.
Earl N. Benjamin-Robinson, DrHSc, CPH
Tobacco Control & Prevention and
Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco Free Living
September 23, 2021 –The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living’s youth initiative program, Next Era, is currently offering youth organizations and schools in Louisiana the opportunity to apply for a Community Advocacy Grant of up to $3,500. The submission deadline is Friday, October 8 at 4 p.m. The Scope of Work and application for the grant is available on the Next Era Website.
Next Era is a youth movement empowering high school teens to work toward meaningful change in their communities. Next Era currently focuses on organizations/schools that work with high school-aged teens (grades 9th-12th). The overall goal of the Next Era program is to reduce youth tobacco use rates in Louisiana.
“The Next Era students are offered opportunities to advocate for healthy change in their schools and local communities,” said Kenyatta Royal, youth programs and policy manager for The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco Free Living. “Students meet with elected officials, support policy change, and work with other students throughout the state, to create everlasting change in tobacco use.”
In addition to helping create a healthier Louisiana, Next Era students develop leadership, public speaking, professionalism, teamwork, and project management skills, that will help them build in school and throughout their futures after high school. This award provides support for (but not limited to) training, orientation, community presentations, youth education work, a Take Down Tobacco Day event, various community events, media campaigns, compensating Youth Advisory Board Members.
Applications must be completed by an Adult Coordinator. The Adult Coordinator will be responsible for facilitating the formation of a Next Era team. Next Era teams consist of youth 14-18 years old.