In the foreground holding the check (L to R) Jenyfer Navichoque, Dr. Patrick ‘PJ’ Lynn, Atrium Health Floyd Family Medicine Resident, Maria Henriquez, Alexis Klima. In the background, Atrium Health Floyd Family Medicine Residents and Dr. Kelly Culbertson.
On May 2, Amerigroup presented the Rome/Northwest Tar Wars Strike Force with a check for $75,000 to expand its programming, curriculum, team training and staffing efforts to ensure that Rome-area youth understand the harm of vaping and using tobacco products. The money helps ensure more students learn about the health effects of tobacco, nicotine and vape use, the cost associated with using these products, and the advertising techniques used by the tobacco and vape industry to market their products to youth.
Vaping is a public health crisis among youth nationally and in Georgia, where 1 in 4 high school students report using e-cigarettes. According to the Georgia Department of Health, Northwest Georgia has a significantly higher smoking prevalence than the overall state average rate. To prevent 4th through 8th graders in Rome and surrounding counties of Floyd, Polk, and Chattooga from using tobacco and nicotine products, Rome/Northwest Tar Wars Strike Force, a local chapter of Tar Wars, provides local youth anti-tobacco and anti-vaping education, and prevention programming.
Since 2019, more than 6,500 students in Floyd County have participated in Tar Wars. Statewide, Tar Wars will impact at least 45,925 students in 117 schools across 22 counties in Georgia during the 2022-2023 school year.
“As a company committed to the health and wellness of our communities across Georgia, we want to do all that we can to combat the devastating impact of smoking,” said Mel Lindsey, President, Amerigroup Georgia. “By supporting local organizations that are working to reduce smoking rates and improve public health, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of our members and the communities we serve. We are honored to partner with the Rome Tar Wars Strike Force on this important work.”
Present to receive the Amerigroup funding on behalf of the Rome/Northwest Tar Wars Strike Force was Georgia Healthy Family Alliance Trustee, Patrick ‘PJ’ Lynn, MD. Dr. Lynn’s leadership of the Strike Force has been vital to Tar Wars’ successful implementation and funding support in the region.
“The rapid increase of e-cigarette usage among youth is a major public health crisis that requires robust programming and education so that young people understand the dangers and are equipped to seek out healthy alternatives to smoking,” said Patrick ‘PJ’ Lynn, MD. “Thanks to our partnership with Amerigroup, we can continue to promote healthy habits and lifestyles, and create a brighter, healthier future for Rome-area youth.”
About Tar Wars
Tar Wars tobacco and vape early education and prevention program is presented in collaboration with school districts across Georgia; and has impacted the lives of more than 10 million children worldwide since developed by family physicians in 1988. It’s an evidence-based, effective and interactive curriculum that has evolved to educate generations of Georgians. Traditionally beginning at the 4th and 5th grade level, students are educated on the health dangers and financial impact of tobacco, nicotine, and vape products. The program seeks to educate children before they are ever exposed to tobacco and vape to prevent tobacco, vaping associated lung injury, related illnesses and deaths. When youth never start smoking or vaping, they never have to quit. For more information about Georgia’s family physicians’ efforts to fight for healthy children, visit www.georgiahealthyfamilyalliance.org
About Amerigroup Community Care of Georgia
Amerigroup Community Care of Georgia helps improve healthcare access and quality for more than 600,000 low-income Georgians by developing innovative care management programs and services. Members are assured care that is not only accessible but also accountable, comprehensive, integrated, and patient-centered. Amerigroup Georgia provides ongoing community relations and outreach to encourage members to become active participants in their health care. Through health education programs, members are empowered to choose and sustain a healthy lifestyle. For more information about Amerigroup Community Care of Georgia, visit www.myamerigroup.com/ga