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SITKA - SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Tobacco Policy Coordinator Wilbur Brown Jr. will be honored with the Alaska Health Achievement Award during the Alaska Public Health Association's Award Luncheon on Dec. 5 at the Alaska Health Summit in Anchorage.
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In his work for SEARHC, Brown helped local officials draft tobacco-free laws that eventually were passed by voters in Klawock (this October) and in Sitka (October 2005). He worked with leaders of the Alaska Native Brotherhood/Alaska Native Sisterhood, SEARHC and other organizations to draft tobacco-free facility policies.
Brown also serves as a tobacco health educator, helping communities understand the dangers of secondhand smoke and tobacco. He serves as co-chairman of the Alaska Tobacco Control Alliance.
"Wilbur is an outstanding role model for facilitating policy change in the state of Alaska," SEARHC Tobacco Grant Manager Andrea Thomas said. "His work on policy in Southeast Alaska and as co-chair of ATCA has been instrumental in helping the state move forward in protecting all Alaskans from the dangers of secondhand smoke."
"I am honored and humbled that I was selected for this award," said Brown, who wanted to emphasize the team approach used by SEARHC's tobacco program. "I am happy to accept on behalf of all who are working to reduce the harmful effects of tobacco. By educating the community and motivating them to choose to go tobacco-free, we are taking a huge step in protecting the ones we love. It is important that we do what we can to protect our future. It is exciting that more and more communities are joining the fight against tobacco and the devastation it causes."
In addition to his own honor, Brown nominated another award to Dewey Skan, of Klawock. President of Alaska Native Brotherhood Grand Camp, Skan will receive the Alaska Community Service Award for Health for work he did with Brown in creating the ANB/ANS smoke-free facilities policy and for taking the tobacco-free message statewide to other Alaska Native groups.