Tar Wars program presented at Prairie Elementary
Dr Haley Minnehan, Debbie Christopherson, RN, and Jeanette Gorman, Community Relations Coordinator, St. Mary’s Hospital and Clinics, presented the Tar Wars anti-tobacco program to fifth and sixth graders last week at Prairie Middle School.  Dr. Haley Minnehan, center with glasses, conducts the Tar Wars program.
The program, sponsored by the American and Idaho Association of Family Physicians, is designed to discourage students from using tobacco products.   
“There are both long term and short term effects from tobacco use,” said Dr. Minnehan, who then asked the students to list examples of both.  They named bad breath, yellow teeth, burned clothing, and the cost for some of the short term effects and cancer, emphysema, wrinkled skin and heart problems for long term effects.  Dr. Minnehan also helped the students figure out they would be spending as much as $28 a week and over $50,000 if they smoked for a life time
The students also view a video and watch a demonstration using the Smoky Sue doll from the American Cancer Society that demonstrates the amount of tar that accumulates in a person’s lungs from just one cigarette.
“Six thousand kids start smoking each year,” Gorman told the students.  “In the same hour we’ve been here talking to you, the tobacco companies have just spent one million dollars in advertising.  Since we don’t have one million dollars to try and convince kids NOT  to smoke we’re asking you to make posters to advertise the advantages of NOT using tobacco.” 
The posters will be displayed in the school hallways to discourage other students from smoking and chewing.  The winning poster from each class will be sent to the statewide contest with that winner being entered in the national contest in Washington, DC.  
Health providers from SMHC and Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics have volunteered their time this year to conduct the TAR WARS program in 12 fifth grade classrooms in Cottonwood, Kooskia, Kamiah, Nezperce, Orofino, Pierce and Weippe.  

National award received
Clearwater Valley Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital joined with the Idaho State Library, the Clearwater Memorial Public Library, Orofino, and the Prairie-River Library District to receive an outreach award through the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Pacific Northwest Region.  The $23,602 National Library of Medicine subcontract will help fund their Health Information On-line Project.
Plans on how to use the award funding are discussed. “The goal of our project is to increase access to health information for people in this area by educating them about credible internet based resources and how to easily find them,” said Pam McBride, SMHC/CVHC Grants Coordinator.  “We will also extend that information and make it available for people, statewide, through the state library.”
 According to McBride, both hospitals will upgrade their websites to include links to a variety of consumer health information sources, including MEDLINEPlus.  The project partners will also train local library staff in Clearwater, Lewis and Idaho counties to assist people in using computers to research online health resources.  
“By the end of the 18 month project we hope most people in this area will be aware of each hospital’s webpage address.  They can go there to find links to other health sources.  Sometimes the internet can be complicated, but our aim is to provide a ‘one stop shop’ to begin,” said Jeanette Gorman, CVHC/SMHC Community Relations Coordinator and Project Coordinator.  “More and more people are getting computers and those that don’t can certainly use those available at each local library.  With trained library staff every person can be helped to find the answers to the health questions they have.”
The funds will also be used to create two displays which will be circulated to local libraries and libraries around the state.  Each display will provide specific directions on how to access up-to-date consumer health information written in layperson’s language from the National Library of Medicine, as well as links to full magazine articles, reference books, and other information provided by the Idaho State Library’s on-line subscription service.  The local display will also provide information about the hospitals’ websites.
“We’re excited about partnering with the hospitals and the Idaho State Library to promote use of the internet so people will feel comfortable doing online health research,” said Connie Pentzer, Director, Prairie-River Library District.  “Our librarians are anxious to help our patrons in this important area.”
The Prairie-River Library District includes libraries in Craigmont, Culdesac, Kamiah, Lapwai, Kooskia, Peck, Winchester and Nezperce.
“Health care is really changing in a variety of ways,” said Gorman.  “People are forming partnerships with their health providers and making joint decisions about what is best.  Patients are seeking information from a variety of sources so they can make more well informed decisions.  They are also more health conscious and try to learn what they can do to maintain their good health.”
The MEDLINEPlus website with consumer information is www.medlineplus.gov

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522



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503 King St.
P.O. Box 157
Cottonwood, ID 83522-0157
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