Rising & Resilient: Transforming the… | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Rising & Resilient: Transforming the Generational Impact of Big Tobacco on Black Lives

Originally aired February 21, 2024

This installment of our Campaign for the Culture conversation series was presented in partnership with The National Black Nurses Association (NBNA).

Due to heavy tobacco industry targeting – particularly with menthol cigarettes – Black Americans suffer disproportionate health burdens related to tobacco use. Generations of families have dealt with the grave consequences of smoking, which is the number one cause of preventable death in the Black community and claims 45,000 Black lives each year.

During this virtual event, we brought together a panel of healthcare professionals, community activists, faith leaders and youth advocates for an important, timely discussion about the multigenerational mental and physical health concerns of Black families – and the role that tobacco use plays.

Featured Speakers

Dr. Sheldon D. Fields, PhD, RN, FAAN (Moderator) 
National Black Nurses Association (NBNA)

Dr. Sheldon Fields is a Research Professor and inaugural Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion in the Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing at Penn State University. He is also founder and CEO of The S.D.F Group LLC, a health innovation consulting company. He has over 30 years of experience in the healthcare sector as an educator, researcher, clinician, administrator, consultant, policy specialist and entrepreneur. Dr. Fields is a well-known and respected HIV/AIDS prevention research scientist with a significant focus on young men of color. He worked for over a decade as a primary care provider in a federally qualified health center with historically underserved and disenfranchised populations. During the historic U.S. healthcare reform debates and passage of the Affordable Care Act, Dr. Fields served as a policy adviser to then Senator Barbara Mikulski on the Senate HELP committee. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and the National Academies of Practice.

Dr. Enid Neptune, MD
American Thoracic Society
Board of Directors

Dr. Enid Neptune is a Pulmonary Specialist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. She is an internationally renowned expert on cigarette smoke-induced lung injury and the pulmonary manifestations of genetic matrix disorders. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the American Thoracic Society, where she has been intimately involved in tobacco control efforts. In addition, Dr. Neptune is the co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program in California. She also serves on the Professional Advisory Board of the Marfan Foundation, the Board of Scientific Counselors of the NIH Clinical Center, and the Scientific Advisory Board of both the American Lung Association and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Minou Jones, CPS-M, ICRC
Making it Count

Minou Jones is the Founder and CEO of Making It Count Community Development Corporation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase equity and bring positive change to underserved communities through programs and services. The organization is currently spearheading efforts to reduce tobacco-related health disparities in Michigan. Mrs. Jones also serves as Chair of the Detroit Wayne Oakland Tobacco Coalition and is a board member of Tobacco Free Michigan. An internationally certified prevention specialist and alumni of Wayne State and Davenport Universities, she is passionate about helping people of color build healthier communities. In 2023, she was awarded the Health and Racial Equity Partner award by the National Network of Public Health Institutes. Mrs. Jones previously served as CEO of the Black Caucus Foundation of Michigan – and has over 20 years of experience in community development and public health.

DJ Yearwood
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
2023 Barrie Fiske National Youth Advocate of the Year

DJ Yearwood, a distinguished youth advocate from Kansas City, Missouri, shines as a beacon of transformative leadership. He recently worked with state lawmakers to allocate $2.9 million toward Missouri’s tobacco prevention program, the largest investment in tobacco prevention in the state’s history. And as the lead defense attorney for the Jackson County Youth Court, he closely supports young people affected by the tobacco industry's harmful impacts. DJ also passionately advocates for addressing broader public health challenges facing youth. He founded the Missouri Youth Advocacy Collective, formerly known as the Youth Empowerment Initiative, to amplify youth voices and empower them as agents of change. He travels throughout Missouri and beyond, sharing his expertise and training youth advocates to tackle public health issues with confidence.

Elder Kirsten John Foy
The Arc of Justice
President and CEO

Elder Kirsten John Foy is a prominent figure in civil rights activism who has made significant contributions to police accountability and economic justice legislation. He founded The Arc of Justice, a national civil and human rights organization, and initiated The Justice ClapBack, a multiplatform advocacy space. Until October 2018, he served as the Northeast Regional Director for the National Action Network, focusing on issues such as gun violence, education and healthcare. He also worked as a labor movement advisor and held positions in New York City and State governments, advocating for civil liberties and community empowerment. Kirsten is an Ordained Elder in the Pentecostal Church and resides in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, with his wife and three children.

Dr. Monica Wilson, PhD
Parents Against Vaping E-Cigarettes (PAVe)
Director of California Education and Advocacy

Dr. Monica Wilson is a dedicated parent and passionate advocate committed to safeguarding children and youth from the harmful effects of vaping and e-cigarettes. With a background in Psychology and Public Health, Dr. Wilson has been actively involved in raising awareness about the dangers associated with these addictive products. She works tirelessly to educate parents, schools, and communities about the risks of underage vaping and advocates for policies aimed at restricting access to vaping products among young people. Dr. Wilson's advocacy efforts are driven by her unwavering commitment to protecting the health and well-being of future generations.