Ford School assists American Heart Association of Southeastern Michigan on ‘Tobacco in Schools’ policies

July 12, 2021

Two Ford School student fellows have been selected to work with the American Heart Association (AHA) of Metro Detroit to identify best practices for reducing tobacco usage among high school student populations. AHA, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, has partnered with the Ford School of Public Policy to assist in the research and development of Michigan’s ‘Tobacco in Schools’ policies. 

Brenna Goss (BA ‘22) and Arron McDonald (BA ‘22) have been selected as U-M student Tobacco in School Elimination fellows and are working together to examine best practices and current research to identify ways to reduce tobacco use among student populations. Goss and McDonald work under the direct supervision of DeAndre’ J. Calvert, Community Engagement Manager at the Ford School’s Program in Practical Policy Engagement’s (P3E) and AHA’s Community Impact Director Michael Randall. 

Randall says, “The partnership with the Ford School is invaluable to our efforts to ensure public schools in Michigan are supporting students suffering from tobacco and vaping addiction. Brenna and Arron bring a fresh perspective to our work and have been essential to our strategy as it relates to engaging schools and providing policy recommendations. I look forward to continuing this partnership for many years to come.”

Goss and McDonald have been encouraged to identify policies that use a non-punitive, more lenient approach for punishing students related to tobacco-related offenses. Beyond crafting policy recommendations, they also will attend monthly Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Tobacco Elimination Task Force meetings. 

Calvert notes the win-win nature of the partnership. “Our partnership with Michael Randall and the American Heart Association through the Practical Community Learning Project Fellowship has allowed students to apply their classroom learning to real-world community and statewide public policy challenges. The fellows have developed new perspectives through engagement while making an impact on the community!”

The partnership between AHA and the Ford School has been made possible by a CVS Foundation-funded grant to AHA aimed at working to eliminate tobacco use in public high schools throughout the state of Michigan. 

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century.    

This press release was prepared with the American Heart Association of Metro Detroit.