University of Texas System hosts 3rd Annual Eliminate Tobacco Use Summit

HOUSTON – The University of Texas System hosted its 3rd Annual Eliminate Tobacco Use Summit April 24-25 in Houston, at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

This year’s summit included more than 130 attendees from 24 universities in Texas as well as participants from Louisiana, Virginia, California and 16 partner organizations. 

The summit featured keynote addresses from Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and Corinne Graffunder, DrPH, Director of the Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“We are committed to doing the long-term, hard work of reducing the harm that tobacco does to Texas and Texans,” said David Lakey, M.D., Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer for The University of Texas System. “The Summit was an opportunity to recognize our successes, reflect on the remaining challenges, strengthen existing collaborations, and forge new one.” 

The Summit was designed to facilitate sharing of best practices across institutions, and in particular to help improve the quality of, and access to, cessation and prevention services on campuses. 

Efforts from past summits helped facilitate the implementation of tobacco-free policies at all 14 UT institutions, making UT System the largest single employer in Texas to prohibit tobacco use in the workplace.

“In the past year we have gone tobacco free as a System,” said Ernest Hawk, M.D., Vice President and Division Head of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences at MD Anderson. “The policies are only a first step, however. We are committed to translating them into real health benefits for our people. We are also committed to partnering with others, across the state and beyond our borders, to reduce the health toll of tobacco use.” 
The Summit is part of the Eliminate Tobacco Use Initiative, launched in 2015 to reduce the health toll of tobacco use in Texas. The initiative was created by Lakey and Hawk, along with the EndTobacco® Program, part of MD Anderson’s cancer prevention and control platform, and the Office of Health Affairs at UT System. The initiative is supported by philanthropic contributions to the platform, part of MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program™, from the Lyda Hill Foundation.

In addition to talks from UT System researchers and staff, the Summit featured presentations by Jennifer Herriott, Assistant Director at the San Antonio Metropolitan Health Department; David Balis, Director of Inpatient and Outpatient Smoking Cessation Programs at Parkland Hospital; Brad Stewart, Associate Director of Campus Recreation at Texas Christian University; and Marisa Greenberg, Research Associate with the Truth Initiative®.

About The University of Texas System
Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking basic, applied and clinical research, and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. With 14 institutions and a projected enrollment of more than 234,000 students, the UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates approximately two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public institutions in Texas. The UT System’s operating budget for FY 2018 is $18.3 billion, funded in part by $3.6 billion in sponsored programs from federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 20,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and nearly 80,000 health care professionals, researchers, student advisors and support staff, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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