WATSONVILLE – Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance, Inc. (PVPSA) has been awarded $850,000 to continue its work in limiting exposure to second hand smoke and reducing tobacco use by local residents. This past January, PVPSA submitted an application to The California Department of Public Health (CDPH), California Tobacco Control Program (CTCP) to pursue funding that would allow the agency to continue and expand its work in tobacco public health policy.
The current program of the agency focuses on providing information, guidance and support for Santa Cruz County behavioral health facilities and multi unit housing facilities who wish to develop tobacco free and smoke free policies for their sites. The agency also provides tobacco cessation resources and information for facility staff and residents, as well as training for cessation group facilitators.
A new project, dubbed “Project HEART,” or the Health Equity Achievements Related to Tobacco Project, will focus on reducing tobacco related health disparities in California’s priority population groups with high rates of tobacco use. This includes Latinos, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people, Veterans, people with substance abuse disorders or behavioral health issues, and people of low socioeconomic status, including the homeless. Current data from the CDPH reveals that in 2012, the smoking prevalence among these populations was disproportionally higher than the general population.
“We are very excited to continue to be of support to ensuring health and wellness for students and community members as it relates to tobacco prevention and intervention efforts. We are honored to be a partner in this statewide effort to advance health equity”, said Erica Padilla-Chavez, Chief Executive Officer of PVPSA.
The agency received confirmation of the grant award from CDPH on February 24 and is one of the 35 awards made statewide. This is a five-year grant for the period July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2020. Erica Padilla-Chavez, CEO for PVPSA, announced the grant award to members of the PVPSA Board of Directors who shared in the excitement of the good news. “Congratulations! [This is] wonderful for our students and the organization!“ said Dorma Baker, PVPSA Board President.