Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal spoke at the Tobacco Free Leadership Summit hosted in NVCC’s Founders Hall on January 4. The event was organized by international student organization, HOSA. HOSA is a program for students enrolled in health science education and biomedical science programs or those who have interests in pursuing careers in health professions. This year, 200 high school students from representing cities and towns from across Connecticut such as New Britain, Bridgeport, Danbury, Wallingford, Waterbury, and West Haven participated in the summit. The Summit provided a platform for students around the state to learn about local, state, and national tobacco-free advocacy efforts, trends in youth-led initiatives to promote tobacco free communities, and state and local legislative agendas that promote tobacco free policies in local communities through highly engaging and interactive workshops. The summit was open to all interested middle and high school students at no charge.
Senator Blumenthal spoke about his work in fighting “big tobacco,” while he was Connecticut’s Attorney General. He also cautioned attendees about the hidden dangers of e-cigarettes, vaping devices, and smokeless tobacco and the increasing rate of use of among high school students prompted largely from targeted marketing efforts to children and teens from the producers of these products. “As the health occupations students of America you know that the future of our health system is prevention,” Blumenthal told students. “Prevention should be given much more emphasis because it could save lives and save money and there is no better illustration of it than tobacco, where the number one cause of preventable deaths can be addressed.”
An international student organization, HOSA, provides a unique program of leadership development, motivation, and recognition and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Health Science Education (HSE) Division of ACTE. HOSA's two-fold mission is to promote career opportunities in the health care industry and to enhance the delivery of quality health care to all people. HOSA's goal is to encourage all health science instructors and students to join and be actively involved in the HSE-HOSA Partnership.
NVCC’s Assistant Director of Admissions Scott Farrell, who has been involved with Connecticut HOSA for a decade and is on its advisory board said, “the leadership, public speaking, and organizational skills that students learn through participating in events such as today’s Summit are invaluable as students go onto college and become part of the workforce.”
NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. said, “We are always happy to have the Honorable Senator Richard Blumenthal and our colleagues from HOSA at NVCC, in particular, on the occasion of this event as we are a smoke-free campus. Our faculty in the Respiratory Care program, as well as faculty and staff across both of our campuses, have benefitted from the smoking cessation initiative championed by our own Professor Susan Anderson as we educate ourselves and our students about the benefits of a tobacco-free lifestyle.”