The Iowa Department of Public Health’s tobacco prevention division is starting a project that will target specific groups to try and help them stop smoking. The department’s Sieglinde Prior says the statewide program is called the Priority Population Network. She says a priority population is a group that is affected healthwise in a disproportionately bad way.
Prior says they’ve identified five groups that qualify as priority populations: Hispanics/Latinos; African Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgenders. Prior says they don’t have a lot of information on the people classified in these five groups because their populations in Iowa are so low. But she says they do have nationwide indications and through different sources about problems such as cancer and diabetes that make these populations "important."
Prior says the program is seeking out organizations that deal with these groups and use the organizations to help in the tobacco prevention efforts. Prior says they want to open it up and help the organizations that directly serve these populations get state grants. She says they hope to have the organizations identified by July.
Prior says they will then work toward developing a strategic plan, as they don’t know what the people in these groups know about tobacco. So, she says they’ll do a lot of assessment and planning. Prior says they have $500,000 set aside for the Priority Population Network. Interest groups can contact the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Division of Tobacco Use Prevention and Control.