About Us

Tobacco use is a major risk factor for multiple cancers, heart disease, stroke and lung disease. Approximately 28,000 adults die of a smoking-attributable illness annually in Texas, which is more than the total deaths from AIDS, heroin, cocaine, alcohol, car accidents, fire and murder.

In 2015, to address this challenge statewide, Dr. David Lakey of The University of Texas System (UT System) and Dr. Ernest Hawk, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson), along with the EndTobacco® Program team at MD Anderson and the Office of Health Affairs at UT System, created the Eliminate Tobacco Use Initiative. The aim of the initiative was to first tackle tobacco use among UT institutions to more effectively lead larger statewide and national tobacco control efforts.

A collaborative consisting of all 14 UT academic and health institutions was formed to implement this initiative. Since its inception, it has worked closely with key tobacco control partners, including the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the Truth Initiative, Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, and Smoke Free Texas. Currently, there are more than 207,912 staff, students and dependents covered under the UT System’s Select Medical plan who are influenced by the Eliminate Tobacco Use Initiative.


Letter from Dr. David Lakey & Dr. Ernest Hawk

Dear Colleagues,

The Eliminate Tobacco Use initiative grew out of a desire to lead and influence statewide and national tobacco control efforts. The purpose of this website is to describe the accomplishments and impact of the initiative, to highlight innovative strategies that can be shared among institutions of higher education to accelerate tobacco control efforts state-wide and nationally, and to provide resources to aid in those efforts.

The human suffering and financial costs due to the continued use of tobacco are undeniable. Yet, according to the latest statistics, 4.69 million Texas residents continue to smoke or use other forms of tobacco.

We applaud all the dedicated professionals in Texas and beyond who are working together with national, state and community partners to eliminate tobacco use. Thank you for fostering respectful, healthy and tobacco-free environments, and for your commitment to improving the health and well-being of all.

 
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David Lakey, MD

Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, The University of Texas System

 
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Ernest Hawk, MD, MPH

Vice President, Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


Our Team

Program Leaders

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Jennifer Cofer, MPH, CHES
Director, EndTobacco Program 
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
endtobacco@mdanderson.org

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Alex Hurst, MHA
Program Manager, EndTobacco Program
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
endtobacco@mdanderson.org

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Tiffany Winter, MPH
Program Coordinator,
EndTobacco Program
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
TNWinter@mdanderson.org

 

Collaborators

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Daniel Oppenheimer, MFA
Senior Lead for Population Health Communications
The University of Texas System
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler

doppenheimer@utsystem.edu

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Michael Mackert, PhD 
Director, Center for Health Communication
Moody College of Communication | Dell Medical School
The University of Texas at Austin
 
mackert@utexas.edu

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Mohamad “Em” Karmifar, MFA
Web Designer
UT Health Science Center at Tyler
Affiliate of The University of Texas System

mkarimifar@utsystem.edu

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Jessica Hughes Wagner, MPH, MCHES
Assistant Director, Center for Health Communication
Moody College of Communication | Dell Medical School
The University of Texas at Austin 

jessica.wagner@austin.utexas.edu

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Nagla Elerian, MS
Director of Population Health Strategic Initiatives
The University of Texas System
nelerian@utsystem.edu

Dasha Rakasovic
Senior Graphic Designer, Center for Health Communication
Moody College of Communication | Dell Medical School
The University of Texas at Austin 

dasha.rakasovic@austin.utexas.edu


STEERING COMMITTEE

2019-2020 Members

Corey J. Benson, M.Ed. 
The University of Texas Permian Basin
Associate Dean of Students
Division of Student Affairs and Leadership

Paul M. Cinciripini, PhD
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Chair, Department of Behavioral Sciences
Director, Tobacco Treatment Program

Jennifer Cofer, MPH, CHES
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Director, EndTobacco® Program and Cancer Prevention Policy

Eunice Currie
The University of Texas at Arlington
Assistant Vice President, Human Resources

Nagla Elerian, MS
The University of Texas System
Director, Population Health Strategic Initiatives

Christy Gipson PhD, RN, CNE
The University of Texas at Tyler
Assistant Professor

Maria Grabowski, MSN, RN, OCN
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Program Manager of Public Education and Community Outreach

Ernest Hawk, MD, MPH
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Vice President and Division Head
Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences

Alex Hurst, MHA
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Program Manager, EndTobacco® Program

Shelley Karn, EdD
The University of Texas Austin
Program Director, Tobacco Research & Evaluation Team

David Lakey, MD
The University of Texas System Administration
Chief Medical Officer and Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs

Daniela Lerma
The University of Texas at El Paso
Manager, Wellness Program

Paul McGaha, DO, MPH
The University of Texas Health Science Center Tyler
Deputy Director of the Northeast Texas Center for Rural Community Health
Associate Professor for Community Health and Preventive Medicine

Nosse Ovienmhada
The University of Texas at Austin
Work-Life & Wellness Manager

Kristee Phelps, MS
The University of Texas at San Antonio
Director, Environmental Health Safety and Risk Management

Amelie Ramirez, DrPH
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Interim Chair, Dept of Epidemiology & Biostatistics
Associate Director, Cancer Prevention and Health Disparities

Eric Solberg, MA
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Vice President, Academic and Research Affairs,
Associate Faculty, McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics

Douglas Stoves, PhD
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Associate Dean for Student Rights and Responsibilities

Taylor Tran, RD, LD
The University of Texas at Dallas
Employee Health Program Manager

Tiffany Winter, MPH
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Program Coordinator, EndTobacco® Program