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From left, Yasmin Halim, consumer tobacco advocate; Wayne Holland UCNB'02, consumer tobacco advocate; Patricia Dooley Budsock, CHOICES program director; and Deidre Stenard, consumer tobacco advocate.

CVS Health Empowers CHOICES

CVS Health Empowers CHOICES

Donor: CVS Health 

CHOICES, part of Robert Wood Johnson Medical School’s Division of Addiction Psychiatry

$25,000 in 2016, and a total of $40,000 since 2015

What it supports:
CHOICES (Consumers Helping Others Improve their Condition by Ending Smoking) was created in 2005 to address smoking in people with mental illness. Studies estimate that individuals with mental illness purchase and consume nearly half of all the cigarettes sold in the United States, yet few programs exist to help them quit smoking. The consequences of these elevated smoking rates are considerable, with half of all deaths in people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or depression attributed to tobacco. 

The program’s three part-time consumer tobacco advocates travel throughout New Jersey to spread awareness of the dangers of smoking to people living with mental illness. The grant from CVS Health will fund an additional peer specialist for 18 months.   

Why it matters: The support from CVS Health will help CHOICES expand its ability to address tobacco use among mentally ill people in New Jersey. “We are thrilled that CVS Health chose to continue funding our efforts to reach smokers with mental illness,” says Jill Williams RWJMS'93, medical director and cofounder of CHOICES.

“By providing this additional funding, CVS Health is enabling CHOICES to significantly broaden its reach to smokers with mental illness throughout the state of New Jersey,” adds Patricia Dooley Budsock, program director.

Published January 2017

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