National Academy of Medicine

Public Health–Health Care Collaboration to Improve Smoking Cessation Rates Among Low Socioeconomic Status Patients in Denver: A Population Health Case Report

By Tracey A. Richers Maruyama, Theresa Mickiewicz, Ava Cannon, Teddy Montoya, Santos Diaz, Erica Berg, Daniel Kortsch, Ali Zirakzadeh, and Judith C. Shlay
May 06, 2016 | Discussion Paper

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable premature death and illness in Denver. Specifically, tobacco is a major contributor to four of the top 10 leading causes of death in Denver: cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, and influenza/pneumonia. Regarding exposure to secondhand smoke, the Denver Health website describes it as

a contributor to pediatric asthma, a major problem among Denver’s children. Because of the frequency of tobacco use, exposure to secondhand smoke, and the resulting serious health problems, decreasing tobacco use and exposure is the single most powerful tool to improve health in Denver.

Denver Health is a comprehensive, integrated health care system providing care for all, regardless of ability to pay, and it serves as a model for other safety-net institutions across the nation. Twenty-five percent of all Denver residents, or approximately 150,000 individuals, receive their health care at Denver Health, including one in three children in Denver who are cared for by Denver Health physicians. Denver Public Health (DPH) is part of the integrated Denver Health system, and stands at the forefront of public health activities in the City and County of Denver. The overarching mission of Denver Public Health is to promote, improve, and protect the health and well-being of the residents of the City and County of Denver and beyond. Like other urban core areas, Denver County has high numbers of people living in poverty, with low educational levels, from racial and ethnic minorities, and with limited English proficiency.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the authors’ organizations, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The paper is intended to help inform and stimulate discussion. It is not a report of the NAM or the National Academies. Copyright by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.