he Louisiana Healthy Communities Coalition (LHCC), a statewide group that networks grassroots organizations to improve health across Louisiana, has named two new co-chairs: Jaime Cyprian and Michelle Kendall. Cyprian is a regional manager with the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL). Kendall is the policy coordinator at the Louisiana Cancer Prevention & Control Programs (LCP) at the LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health. Both women are passionate about fighting tobacco and obesity, two core causes of chronic disease, as well as creating environments that allow people to be healthy.
“Advocating for tobacco prevention and control policies goes hand in hand with addressing health inequities and the priorities of the LHCC,” said Cyprian. “I’m looking forward to working with Michelle to lead the LHCC and make lasting changes that create opportunities for communities throughout the state to become healthier.”
Kendall is equally excited about her new role. “We know the public health problems in our state are too big to tackle alone. The LHCC network is a group of real change-makers, all working to make us healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous. We don’t want Louisiana to be last, or almost dead last, when it comes to health in this country.”
Under the leadership of outgoing Chair Mikal “Mack” Giancola, who is also LCP’s Comprehensive Cancer Control Program Manager, LHCC has defined itself as a network for Louisiana’s local and regional health coalitions. The coalition provides statewide leadership, resources, and training, communications, mini-grants, and hosts an Annual Summit where participants can learn from national and state public health and policy leaders, as well as make connections that further their work in local communities. Most recently, LHCC issued a series of recommendations to the governor’s Health Equity Task Force, formed in the face of COVID-19 to examine the racial disparities amplified by the disease.
Giancola said he was honored to pass the LHCC leadership baton to Cyprian and Kendall, adding, “Both are leaders and public health specialists, dedicated to transforming communities around the state into healthier places. They really want everyone to be able to live their healthiest possible life.”
Cyprian has been a leader in the public health field for more than 15 years. As the TFL regional manager for Region 9/Florida Parishes, she has engaged and mobilized communities, leveraged partnerships, and worked with coalitions to educate people about the dangers of tobacco. These efforts have resulted in the passage and implementation of five comprehensive smoke-free ordinances that protect more than 40,000 Louisianans from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Cyprian also trains people in suicide prevention and verbal and physical de-escalation techniques. Her efforts earned her the 2015 Community Service Award from Crime Stoppers of Tangipahoa. Cyprian is currently pursuing her master’s degree in public health, learning Spanish, and balancing life with her husband, Andra, and their three children. She is also a fan of television game shows, even trying out with her loved ones for Family Feud.
Kendall, who recently received her master’s degree in public health from LSU Health New Orleans and joined LCP to lead and monitor cancer legislation, started her work in public health before receiving her degree. Kendall was, and is, an integral force in the drive to advance downtown Hammond, by working with its farmers market and other improvements. It is the kind of policy, systems, and environmental change that LHCC espouses in order to make lasting change, and one of the major reasons Kendall is so prepared to take on LHCC’s work, especially in obesity. A proponent of local, healthy food, Kendall creates dishes with those ingredients to share with her partner, Houston, and enjoys home renovation projects and walking in downtown Hammond with Pinto, her Blue Heeler/Australian Cattle dog.
To learn more about LHCC, go to https://healthylouisiana.org, where you can also see last June’s Annual Virtual Summit, sponsored by Louisiana Healthcare Connections, and other trainings.
About the Louisiana Healthy Communities Coalition (LHCC)
The Louisiana Healthy Communities Coalition (healthylouisiana.org) provides state-level support for locally driven efforts to fight tobacco and obesity. The Louisiana Cancer Prevention & Control Programs (LCP) and the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) provide statewide team funding. To learn more, go to healthylouisiana.org.
About the Louisiana Cancer Prevention & Control Programs (LCP)
The Louisiana Cancer Prevention & Control Programs eliminate suffering and death by focusing on cancers that can be prevented or detected early and cured, including breast, cervical and HPV-related, colorectal and lung and tobacco-related cancers. LCP is funded mainly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and housed at LSU Health New Orleans’ School of Public Health. To learn more go to louisianacancer.org.
About the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL)
The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) engages in local and statewide tobacco control policy efforts that focus on tobacco prevention and initiation among youth, eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke, promote cessation services, and identify and eliminate tobacco-related disparities. TFL is guided by best practices in tobacco control and envisions a healthier Louisiana by reducing the excessive burden of tobacco use on all Louisianans. TFL is a program under the Louisiana Public Health Institute and is funded by Louisiana Cancer Research Center. For more information visit www.tobaccofreeliving.org. To find out more about the dangers of secondhand smoke and show your support for a smoke-free Louisiana, visit www.healthierairforall.org. To learn more about quitting tobacco, visit www.quitwithusla.org.