When the Smoke Clears: Intersection… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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When the Smoke Clears: Intersection of Nicotine Addiction and Mental Health

August 18, 2022 | 5 PM ET

The tobacco industry is infamous for targeting its products to vulnerable populations, and people with mental health conditions are no exception. This has contributed to much higher smoking rates – and much lower quit rates – in this community. Today, mental health conditions are on the rise, particularly among youth. And the tobacco industry continues to find new ways to infiltrate and target these populations. In this installment of our Campaign for the Culture conversation series, a panel of mental health experts and tobacco control advocates explored these issues and what can be done. 

Featured Speakers

Dr. Jennifer Hawkins, Moderator
Global Strategist and Public Policy Leader

Dr. Jennifer Hawkins is a global strategist and leading public policy expert on marginalized persons and vulnerable populations around the world. She is an academically and professionally trained social scientist who has partnered with social service and health agencies, non- profit organizations, and notable human rights and civil society leaders. Currently, she leads the U.S. Government's implementation of the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 1325, which reaffirms women and girls’ equal participation and protection in global peace and security issues. Jennifer has served as a keynote speaker and lead facilitator on conflict, peace, security and vulnerable populations throughout her global travel. Jennifer holds a BS from Syracuse University, an MSW with a concentration in Children and Policy from Howard University, and a Doctorate in Social Work from the University of Southern California.

Agamroop Kaur
2022 Barrie Fiske National Youth Advocate of the Year
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
San Ramon, CA 

Agamroop Kaur started her tobacco control advocacy in middle school and made it her mission to educate her peers about the dangers of vaping and to stop the tobacco industry from targeting her generation. She has authored op-eds and produced a documentary on the youth e-cigarette epidemic titled "BIG Tobacco BIGGER Epidemic." She's also worked on successful campaigns in five California cities and Contra Costa County to end the sale of flavored e-cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products, expand smoke-free policies, and limit tobacco retailers in youth-centered areas.

After Agamroop's forceful testimony before the California Senate Health Committee in support of a bill to end the sale of flavored tobacco products statewide, Governor Gavin Newsom invited her to the bill signing ceremony. Agamroop has also served as both the Policy Committee Lead of the Stanford REACH Lab Youth Action Board and the Mental Health Subcommittee Lead of the California Youth Advocacy Network Youth Board of Directors.

Agamroop plans to continue her advocacy work as an incoming student at UCLA this fall while majoring in Cognitive Science.

Giana Darville
Trainer, Marketer, Activist
Truth Initiative
Washington, DC 

Giana Darville is an Oakwood University graduate from Memphis, Tennessee who is proud to serve as a Truth Activist, Trainer, and Marketer — leveraging her voice and perspective to engage key decision makers, train emerging activists, and drive informed conversation about social and public health topics on the ground and in the media. Giana continues to fight alongside Truth because she refuses to sit on the sidelines while Big Tobacco targets a new generation of vulnerable communities for profit. She aims to help her peers “know better and do better" by building authentic relationships, creating timely resources, and equipping youth leaders to tackle public health issues through inclusive activism. Giana is also a full-time corporate communications practitioner who has earned awards and recognition from The PR Council, The LAGRANT Foundation, The PRSA Foundation, and others for her contributions to enhancing diversity and inclusion in the field of public relations.

Catherine Bonniot
Deputy Director
Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California
San Francisco, CA 

Catherine Bonniot is the deputy director for the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center (SCLC) at the University of California, San Francisco. The SCLC aims to increase smoking cessation rates and increase the number of health professionals who help smokers quit. As deputy director, Bonniot works to assure the strategic goals and plans of the center are met. She is responsible for the center’s short‐ and long‐ term strategic planning; ensuring that SCLC is at the forefront of tobacco control and prevention messaging and strategies. As the deputy director, she creates optimal systems which cover a wide spectrum of areas, including public relations and marketing for the center; grantee management and partner collaborations. A specialist in results‐based accountability, a data‐driven decision‐making process designed to help communities and organizations move from talk to action, Bonniot has helped create a multitude of national, state and county cross‐sector partnerships focused on driving tobacco use prevalence down. Bonniot’s extensive background in tobacco control and prevention includes 20 years of professional nonprofit and for‐profit experience in marketing, social marketing and development, as well as service as co‐chair of a consortium of organizations that coordinated efforts to build public awareness of the 50th anniversary Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health, as Director of the SAMHSA National Center of Excellence for Tobacco Free Recovery and participation on the North American Quitline Consortium Advisory Board.

Jennifer Leigh Kinder
 Director of Philanthropy
 CVS Health
 West Warwick, RI 

Jennifer is a strategic philanthropy professional with a history of connecting company purpose to broad-scale community impact. In her current role as Lead Director of Philanthropy at CVS Health, she creates impactful charitable giving strategies and initiatives, engages the country’s leading nonprofit organizations to drive change, and connects stakeholders to collaborate on addressing the most pressing community health needs. She was a lead architect in the company’s youth tobacco and vaping prevention portfolio, Be The First, and also manages the CVS Health Foundation’s mental health portfolio of grants. Advancing health equity and improving health outcomes for underserved communities has always been a thread in Jennifer’s career. Before joining CVS Health in 2012, Jennifer worked in the nonprofit sector, moving the needle on key issues ranging from economic inequality and poverty to affordable housing and youth health and wellness.

Elizabeth Cook
Senior Director, Social-Emotional Health
Alliance for a Healthier Generation
Madison, Wisconsin 

Elizabeth Cook leads content and strategy for Healthier Generation’s social-emotional health portfolio. A life-long educator and school psychologist, Elizabeth has supported educators, youth, and families at the local, state, and national levels. Elizabeth intentionally strives to gain as many perspectives as possible through work and service. Throughout her career, she’s been — among other things — a paraeducator, an Autism consultant for summer camps, a classroom SEL instructor, a psychologist, a state agency leader, a national content expert and, most recently, a school board member.

Tamanna Patel
Director, Practice Improvement
National Council for Mental Wellbeing
Atlanta, Georgia 

Tamanna Patel, MPH, is Director of Practice Improvement at the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. She serves as a program director on a variety of national health equity initiatives focused on the intersection of public health and behavioral health (mental health, addiction, and recovery), including the National Behavioral Health Network for Tobacco and Cancer Control.

Ms. Patel previously served as Senior Research Associate at Georgia Health Policy Center, overseeing and providing training and technical assistance (TTA) to rural, frontier and tribal communities nationally addressing community-identified health issues through programming. Her TTA experience also includes assisting developing collaboratives in identifying strategies to meaningfully engage those with lived experience in their work. Patel’s portfolio of work has risen to providing expertise to federal and statewide funders and initiatives by translating key insights and learnings from the field to inform policy, program and research. Patel brings over 14 years of experience to her work, including applying an adaptive approach while addressing complex issues, partnership development, developing tools and frameworks while applying adult learning principles and supporting others in the design of their initiatives from a continuous learning and equity perspective.

Dr. Nadia Richardson
Founder and Executive Director
No More Martyrs
Helena, Alabama 

Dr. Nadia Richardson is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) consultant, speaker, mental health advocate and educator. She has over 20 years of experience as a diversity trainer, mental health nonprofit founder/leader and university instructor. In the field of diversity, equity and inclusion, Dr. Richardson has developed a signature program that equips clients to move beyond diversity toward an action-oriented understanding of cultural competence, responsiveness, identity and implicit bias.

Alexandrea J. Shields
 U.S. Communications and Social Media Associate
 Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
 Lanham, Maryland 

Alexandrea Shields is a Towson University graduate from Lanham, Maryland who recently received her Master of Arts in Political Communication from American University. During her undergraduate career, she, and a group of passionate mental health advocates on campus, created an organization called Bettering Black Minds. The purpose of the organization is to create a safe space for Black students to dismantle stigmas surrounding mental health in the Black community and discuss a variety of topics related to health and wellness. Now, Alexandrea works at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids managing various media and social media related projects that aim to spotlight youth audiences in the fight to take down Big Tobacco.