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Northeast Ohio Medical University Board of Trustees Approves Campus-Wide, Tobacco-Free Policy

September 28, 2012 12:00 AM — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ROOTSTOWN, OHIO

Contact: Heather Bing, hbing@neomed.edu, 330.325.6675

At its meeting this morning, the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) Board of Trustees approved the implementation of a campus-wide, tobacco-free policy, effective Nov. 1.

The decision follows the Ohio Board of Regents recommendation for all of Ohio’s public institutions of higher education to establish tobacco-free campuses. NEOMED senior leadership engaged in numerous internal discussions, reviewed research, and considered an endorsement submitted by the NEOMED Student Council prior to drafting a recommendation for the University’s Board of Trustees consideration at its Sept. 28 meeting.

“As a public medical university with a mission to improve the quality of health care in the region, we took the recommendation of the Ohio Board of Regents very seriously and, upon the approval of our Board of Trustees, are moving forward with implementing a tobacco-free campus environment,” said Jay A. Gershen, D.D.S., Ph.D., president of NEOMED. “We are taking immediate steps to make everyone aware of the change in policy as well as remind students, faculty and staff of the smoking cessation assistance and nicotine replacement therapy we currently offer, and will continue to make available, at reduced or no cost.”

Designed to protect the health and safety of its students, faculty, staff and campus visitors, the policy designates the NEOMED campus as a smoke-free and tobacco-free environment. Under this policy, tobacco use is prohibited anywhere on campus. This includes inside and outside buildings located on University property, in parking areas, as well as in any vehicles or equipment located on campus, or anywhere on campus grounds.

Many areas of the NEOMED campus were already smoke-free in compliance with existing policies prohibiting smoking in public places and workplaces so employees, students and campus visitors are expected to comply with the new policy.

"As a health sciences university, we need to model excellence in our health policy standards," said Eric Kodish, M.D. ('86), chair of the NEOMED Board of Trustees and director of the Center for Ethics, Humanities and Spiritual Care and the F. J. O'Neill professor and chairman of the department of bioethics at the Cleveland Clinic. "By approving the resolution, the Board of Trustees makes it clear we expect to not only promote good health practices, but live them."

Northeast Ohio Medical University is a community-based, public medical university with a mission to improve the quality of health care in Northeast Ohio working in collaboration with its educational and clinical partners. With a focus on scientific and medical research, and the interprofessional training of health professionals that is unique to the state of Ohio, the University offers a doctor of medicine (M.D.) and a doctor of pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree, in addition to graduate-level coursework and research opportunities leading to master’s and doctoral degrees in other medical areas. Northeast Ohio Medical University is a founding member of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. Visit www.neomed.edu.

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