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Transforming Health Systems Key to Success

New York, NY – New York State is determined to reduce tobacco use below ten percent by 2020.  The State’s current rate stands at 14.5 percent. 1 To accomplish this, improvements are being made to health care delivery, assuring those New Yorkers still using tobacco at high rates are connected to the resources they need. The goal is for every health care visit to be seen as an opportunity to provide tobacco dependence treatment.

The only way that New York State will achieve its vision for 2020 is by decreasing tobacco use among those populations disproportionately impacted. Public health specialists from Buffalo to Long Island, with funding from the New York State Department of Health Bureau of Tobacco Control, are partnering with community health centers and mental health treatment facilities serving populations for which tobacco prevalence rates have not declined. Supporting these regional contractors in their work is the Center of Excellence for Health Systems Improvement (COE for HSI) for a Tobacco-Free New York.

 “We’re working very hard to engage health systems that deliver care to the most vulnerable New Yorkers, helping them implement sustainable systems that promote tobacco dependence screening and treatment as part of every patient appointment,” said Elizabeth Jones, Director of the COE for HSI, a project of CAI.  “Transforming the health care system is the key that will get us closer to eliminating tobacco-related illness and death.”

According to the Bureau of Tobacco Control, 27.5 percent of New York adults with less than a high school education and 26.8 percent of those with an income less than $15,000 per year use tobacco. Tobacco prevalence is even higher among New York adults who report poor mental health, with one-third (33.7 percent) of this population using tobacco, a rate more than double that of the general adult population. 2

For more information about the work of the COE for HSI, visit

About CAI: CAI is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of underserved populations worldwide. For 36 years CAI has provided customized capacity building services to health and human service organizations in over 27 countries and in all 50 states. Offering over 1,500 training programs annually, CAI’s passionate staff works to fulfill its mission: to use the transformative power of education and research to foster a more aware, healthy, compassionate and equitable world. For more information about CAI, visit our website:

About the Center of Excellence for Health Systems Improvement: With funding from the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Tobacco Control, CAI serves as the Center of Excellence for Health Systems Improvement (COE for HSI) for a Tobacco-Free New York. The COE for HSI promotes large-scale systems and policy changes to support the universal provision of evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment services. The COE for HSI aims to support 10 regional contractors throughout New York State working with health care systems and organizations that serve those populations for which tobacco use prevalence rates have not decreased in recent years - adults with low incomes, less than a high school diploma, and/or serious mental illness. Focused on providing capacity-building assistance services around topics like how to engage and obtain buy-in from leadership to implement the kinds of systems-level changes that will result in identification and intervention with every tobacco user who seeks care, the COE for HSI also will offer materials and resources to support contractors in their regional work. For more information, click here to visit the project website.


“Leading the Way for Tobacco Control:  New York’s 2020 Vision”, Dr. Harlan Juster, New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Tobacco Control, Contractor Webinar, August 27, 2015

2 New York State Department of Health. (2015). Bureau of Tobacco Control StatShot, Vol. 8, No. 2/Feb 2015. Retrieved from