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March 11, 2015

New Vision Students Work Together to Find Solution for Tobacco Usage in Oswego County

The Center for Instruction, Technology and Innovation New Vision students are working together to find a solution for the high percentage of residents using tobacco products in Oswego County.

According to the most recent Oswego County Community Health Assessment, “The County has the highest adult smoking rate and obesity rate among all its neighboring counties.”

With the thought that prevention is the best medicine, New Vision students decided to investigate the percentages of tobacco use in Oswego County Schools. Working in groups from multiple districts, individuals implemented student surveys in their home districts. They were shocked to see many students in middle school and even elementary school using tobacco products.

One of the questions on the survey was, “What health risks are associated with using tobacco products?” Among the 69 surveys Alecia Ascenzi distributed, the most popular answers were cancer, lung disease and yellowing teeth. Very few individuals indicated addiction as a risk.

“With 216 deaths per 100,000 population, the county leads the cancer mortality rate in the state,” reads the Oswego County Community Health Assessment. “On average, each week 13 people are diagnosed with cancer and five people die from cancer in the county.”

Recognizing a need for a change, New Vision students are hard at work analyzing the data from their administered surveys and formulating a potential solution.

Group projects will be presented to a panel of community members who will select one idea from each class to be implemented in the community. The panel includes Susan Callaway, RN CDE (Oswego Health), Jiancheng Huang, Oswego County Public Health Director, and Julie Reid, RN (NOCHSI). New Vision Allied Health Instructor Kimberly Wright said that the students have put a lot of hard work into this project.

“They are recognizing the public health needs of their community and coming up with innovative ideas to proactively address the problem of tobacco usage among adolescents,” said Wright. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to engage with professionals who work to improve the health of the county.”

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