MTFC holds 1st coalition meeting

By Daniel Brunty

The Webster Progress Times


The Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition of Choctaw, Montgomery and Webster Counties’ new project manager, Keetha Mosley, has already begun laying the foundation of helping educate the communities of Webster County about the harmful effects of tobacco use.

Mosley, who recently became the project manager, has created a coalition of community members from all of Webster County that will meet once a quarter to share ideas and help further education and awareness regarding tobacco use. Mosley met with the coalition on Nov. 19 at the Central Service Grill in Eupora for its first meeting and luncheon.

The coalition, which is diverse in race, age and gender to reflect all members of the county, will allow cooperative work to achieve the goal of promoting and protecting the health of all Mississippians by reducing tobacco-related disease and death through education.

Members of the coalition include David Dabbs, pharmacy director at North Mississippi Medical Center-Eupora; Kelly Powell, school counselor, East Webster Elementary; Lydia Cain, director, Respiratory Rehab and Sleep, NMMC-Eupora; Lawrence Caradine, Eupora police officer; Daniel Brunty, reporter, The Webster Progress-Times; Stephanie Smith, respiratory therapist, Acute Care and Burn Rehab, NMMC-Eupora; Stephanie McIlwain, director of education, NMMC-Eupora; Stephanie Galloway, director of clinical quality, NMMC-Eupora; and Lauren Smith, school counselor, Eupora Elementary.

After a brief lunch and introductions by all of the coalition members, Mosley began the meeting with a brief overview of the Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition. She also delved into some of her responsibilities and requirements of her position to the group as well.

Mosley explained how she was in the process of reaching out to the different factions of the county that deal directly with the youth. She asked for the assistance of the group to try contact the county schools, churches and any other youth organizations.

Mosley would like to offer these organizations the chance to participate in “Programmatic Activities” that would allow the youth to be part of a team of their peers. The teams would be organized according to school grade, and they would be participate in an activity that’s purpose is to teach youth about the dangers of tobacco use and the importance of a tobacco-free lifestyle.

Mosley then opened up the floor in an open forum setting that allowed the group members to discuss various ideas of what they would like to see from the coalition. Some of the topics mentioned included ways of spreading the word about the coalition in the county, and asking the question would Webster County residents be open to making Eupora and other towns smoke-free.

The meeting ended with Mosley asking group members to reach out to their respective organizations in hopes of making the coalition’s education a part of their own. Those who are passionate about reducing the number of tobacco-related diseases and death and want to be a part of these efforts may contact Mosley at 662-283-9838 or to learn more.