BOH wins grant, will promote smoke-free housing

by Karina Coombs

Health Agent Linda Fantasia submitted a wellness grant application to the state for $6,800 and learned on February 4 that Carlisle had received the grant. The Board of Health (BOH) discussed the grant at its meeting on January 29.

The BOH would like to create a community-based program to aid in the development of smoke-free housing within Carlisle. With an initial focus on the town’s growing number of senior living multi-unit apartments and condominiums, the funding would “be used to increase the availability of multi-unit tobacco-free housing for seniors, and eventually all residents, by organizing and educating stakeholders on the impacts of tobacco exposure and options for tobacco bans,” writes Fantasia in her application.

In addition, the BOH would like to educate individuals about existing smoking cessation programs and the fire and injury risk of smoking near oxygen equipment. The project has letters of support from both Fire Department Chief David Flannery and Council on Aging (COA) Director David Klein. Fantasia noted that the Carlisle Village Court senior housing went smoke-free as of January 1.

The BOH will use the grant funds to hire an outside consultant to look at the issue and report back before the board determines which route would serve the public best.

Medical students’ public health projects

The University of Massachusetts Medical School 2012 clerkship submitted an abstract to the American Public Health Association conference regarding Carlisle’s Lyme disease project. Part of the work involved administration of a survey of residents’ experiences. The national conference will be held in Boston in November. The medical school would like to have another population health clerkship in 2014 within Carlisle, examining statistics for injury and death in relation to smoking and oxygen devices. The projects are part of the university’s second-year program in medical school and graduate nursing. “It is a great way of bringing future clinicians into the community to experience public health at the local level,” says Fantasia. Carlisle has a student’s time for a two-week period and retains ownership of those data gathered. The town provides a workspace within Town Hall and supervision.

Sharps containers

Fantasia also reported that the BOH recently used funds from the Public Education Warrant Article FY13 to purchase 25 sharps containers for residents to use when disposing of needles as hazardous waste. The containers will be available for purchase in the BOH office within Town Hall. Each container will be $4. The next town collection for sharps and other hazardous waste will be on May 4. ∆