ClearWay Minnesota recently approved a new project to help African American and American Indian communities access free support to quit smoking, called QUITPLAN Services Ambassadors. The Ambassador Project will provide in-person engagement with community members to increase use of the free cessation tools and coaching provided by QUITPLAN Services.
Funding for the QUITPLAN Services Ambassadors project was approved by the ClearWay Minnesota Board of Directors on July 19, 2017, to the Stairstep Foundation and the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches/Division of Indian Work.
“At ClearWay Minnesota, we’re committed to providing free support for all smokers who want to quit,” said David Willoughby, our Chief Executive Officer. “This Ambassador Project will help address commercial tobacco use among communities that have long been disproportionately targeted by the tobacco industry and have some of the highest cigarette-smoking rates.”
The Stairstep Foundation, formed in 1992, has worked to close health disparities in the African American community and improve access to affordable healthcare. The Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches/Division of Indian Work has a mission to empower urban American Indians through culturally-based education, counseling, advocacy and leadership development.
According to the latest Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey, 14.4 percent of the adult population in Minnesota smokes, but Minnesota’s diverse communities often smoke at higher rates and have greater disease burdens than the general population in Minnesota.
“Local organizations have the best knowledge and judgment about their communities’ needs,” said Willoughby. “These organizations have track records of improving the health and wellness of their communities, and we believe they will help even more people quit commercial tobacco with our help.”