June 7, 2021 – Valparaiso, Indiana – Valparaiso University received a $277,000 community-based partnership grant for 2021–2023 from the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Commission at the Indiana Department of Health.

This funding allows Valpo’s College of Nursing and Health Professions to continue implementing initiatives to meet the overall priorities of the Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition for Porter County (TEPCPC). TEPCPC’s main objectives are to decrease youth tobacco use rates, the number of citizens exposed to secondhand smoke and the adult smoking rate.

“It is the sustained work of dedicated, visionary and committed groups that moves the needle in changing threats to health,” said Karen Allen, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions. “We are excited about the faith shown in us by the Indiana Department of Health in continuing this grant, and we look forward to the great outcomes ahead. As we move ahead, we believe that young people and adults alike will be beneficiaries of this program.”

Valpo’s collaboration with the TEPCPC extends throughout Porter County through community education programs, access to free educational resources and support for smoke-free ordinances and policies. During the spring 2021 semester, Valparaiso University student interns participated in a virtual community conversation focusing on vaping, vaping prevention education and smoke-free air policy efforts.

Valpo’s role in tobacco education and prevention began in 2000 under a funded project with Ball State University called Smokefree Indiana. The Valparaiso University Student Nurses Association compiled data for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Survey and implemented on-campus awareness initiatives directed toward the reduction of smoking among young adults and the promotion of a smoke-free campus. These early efforts laid the foundation for the eventual adoption of a smoke-free campus by Valpo in 2008.

“This grant allows us to collaborate with students, educators, health care providers, business professionals, retirees and anyone else who has a genuine interest in helping us accomplish our goals to make Porter County a healthier community to work, play and live,” said Carrie Higgins, M.S., RCHES, program director of TEPCPC.

All community members are welcome and encouraged to join the Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition for Porter County. More information on joining TEPCPC is available at valpo.edu/tepc.