The purpose of the Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office (MISRGO) is to change society’s norms regarding tobacco consumption and continue educating Arkansans about the dangers of tobacco products as the single most preventable cause of death and disease. The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) participates in the mission combating tobacco usage in the state of Arkansas; focusing its efforts on communities of color. UAPB’s Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office (MISRGO) provides administrative oversight and program direction for a portion of the 15% (set-a-side) of the tobacco settlement monies from the Arkansas Department of Health Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program (Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act of 2000- (ACA § 19-12-113(b)). To date, the MISRGO has awarded eighty organizations with over $11 million dollars for tobacco prevention in minority communities. The tobacco prevention and education program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff follows the Centers for Disease Control’s Best Practices for a comprehensive tobacco control program. The goals of the Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office are:
- Preventing the initiation of tobacco usage among youth
- Promoting cessation among youth and adults
- Eliminating exposure to second hand smoke (SHS)
- Identifying and eliminating disparities related to tobacco use
The staff of the Minority Initiative are Dr. Calvin Johnson-Program Director, Dr. Marian S. Evans-Lee-Coordinator, Carmelo Abraham-Project Specialist-Accountant, Ruthie Johnson-Project Specialist-Program Monitor, Connie Robinson-Administrative Specialist, and Patricia Edwards Program Specialist-Outreach. Additionally, MISRGO has two individuals to help fulfill its mission. Those individuals are Sha’Ray Morris-clerical support and Manny Sepulveda-technical assistance. The staff remains very positive about the accomplishments of the program. The areas of focus for MISRGO are:
- Request for Proposals
- Mini Grant Program Support
- Capacity Building Workshops
- Community Resource
- Clearing the Air in Communities of Color Conference
- Media Campaign
- Program Oversight
A few of our key accomplishments include:
- From 2010-2013, facilitated through sub-grantee efforts, 18 cities established smoke-free parks.
- Facilitated, through sub-grantee efforts, passage of Act 811 of 2011, protection of children under age 14 from secondhand smoke while in vehicles.
- Facilitated, through sub-grantee efforts, inclusion of Act 811 in the Arkansas driver’s education manual.
- The annual Clearing the Air in Communities of Color Conferences have educated 4,000+ individuals.
- Through the Request for Proposals process, 80+ community organizations have received funding for tobacco use prevention and cessation.
- Facilitated the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to become the first university to implement a tobacco free campus policy. All Arkansas state funded universities have followed suit.
- Instrumental in obtaining 27 tobacco-free polices for faith-based institutions throughout southeast Arkansas.