About Us

The Tobacco Education & Prevention Coalition for Porter County (TEPCPC) is dedicated to saving lives by reducing tobacco use and eliminating health disparities related to tobacco use through protecting residents from secondhand smoke; prevention and reducing youth tobacco use and access to tobacco products; and improving cessation services to assist smokers in quitting. Our mission is to promote tobacco control initiatives for the purpose of reducing tobacco use by our citizens through education.

Our Main Goals:

  • Decrease Porter County youth tobacco use rates
  • Decrease the proportion of Porter County citizens exposed to secondhand smoke
  • Decrease Porter County adult smoking rates

Partnering Coalition members can benefit from materials, educational programs, and ongoing training provided by TEPCPC.

The Tobacco Education & Prevention Coalition for Porter County offers tobacco prevention and cessation educational programs and services with an emphasis on:
  • Middle & High School – trainings & informational sessions for students, staff & parents.
  • Porter County VOICE – County-wide youth empowerment movement for 13 to 18-year-olds. 
  • Support community efforts to counter tobacco point-of-sale strategies.
  • Tobacco-Free Worksites for employers & employees.
    • Support employers to create a healthier workforce by providing employer-sponsored cessation resources to their employees.
    • Support community efforts to protect the community from exposures to secondhand smoke by supporting local smoke-free air ordinances for worksites.
  • Multi-Unit Housing outreach, assistance & smoke-free policy development & implementation.
  • Indiana Tobacco Quitline (ITQL) – 1-800-QUIT-NOW
    • Promote the Indiana Tobacco Quitline (1-800- QUIT NOW) throughout the community
    • Work with healthcare providers and employers to ensure they advise and refer patients and employees to the ITQL resources.
    • Work with organizations to provide education and prevention resources to address the burden of tobacco on employers.
  • Coalition Building – TEPC monthly meetings are held with representatives from a variety of sectors throughout the Porter County community. Members actively participate in efforts to support and implement Coalition goals to promote tobacco-free communities.
  • Priority Populations – work with community organizations to reduce tobacco use among those groups most impacted by tobacco.  

Staff

Carolyn (Carrie) J. Higgins, M.S., RCHES ®

Program Director
Tobacco Education & Prevention Coalition for Porter County
Valparaiso University

Emily Carpenter, MPA

Youth Facilitator & Outreach Specialist
Porter County VOICE

Executive Committee Members

Capt. E.J. (Joe) Hall, Chair

Captain of Support Services
Valparaiso Police Department

Photo of Donald Spears

Donald Spears

Professor & Chair
Health and Human Services Dept.
Ivy Tech Community College

Photo of Denise Carpenter

Denise Carpenter

Communication and Engagement Manager
NorthShore Health Centers

Todd Willis

Director of Prevention and Education
Porter-Starke Services, Inc.

Katherine Byerly

Outreach and Enrollment Manager
HealthLinc