[ INSIDE HAWAII INC. ]
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Jean Evans, the new chief operating officer of the American Lung Association of Hawaii, foreground, posed Thursday with co-workers in the association's offices at 245 N. Kukui St. From left behind her, Debbie Ramirez, Heather Manning, Claudia Clement, Bert Kobayashi, Kary Garnica and Roxanne Aguinaldo.
Evans takes reins at lung association
The new COO and future CEO brings to bear her background in public health
Question: What brought you to the lung association from Alu Like's early childhood section?
Answer: My background is public health and maternal and child health. I was more interested in moving back toward a public health focus.
In early childhood, one of the major issues is dealing with asthma. It is an interest of mine.
New job: Evans has been named chief operating officer of the American Lung Association of Hawaii, replacing CEO Mary Miller, who is retiring at the end of next month. Evans will become acting CEO when Miller retires.
Old job: She previously was director of Alu Like Inc.'s Hookahua early childhood department and was manager of community and outreach education for Kapiolani Health.
Born and raised: Portland, Ore. She has lived in Hawaii since 1970.
Asthma was pretty prevalent in the Hawaiian community and in Hawaii in general. So this really offers an opportunity to use my background in maternal child health ... to build on a lot of the great work that the American Lung Association of Hawaii has been doing in the area of health promotion.
Q: What are your goals for the association?
A: I certainly want to expand our reach to more people in Hawaii than we've done before especially the ones who haven't heard our messages ... that could be rural populations, populations that are at higher health risk. I'd like to do some more of that.
Q: How big is your budget?
A: Our operating budget is approximately $1.4 million and our advertising budget is $25,000, and that came from a specific grant from the Building Industry Labor Association, and we used that for asthma. The tobacco trust fund grant this current year is $270,000 and that's for three grants.
Q: How many employees?
A: Thirteen to 15, including part time.
Q: Are fewer people smoking in Hawaii?
A: It's gone down. Middle-school students in 2000, 13 percent of those smoked, but by 2003 it was down to only 5 percent, so that's really good news. And adults in 2000 was 21 percent and in 2003 it went down to 17 percent. It is a good trend and all our programs and everyone else's are working together to make a real difference there.
Q: What's your view on the new wide-ranging tobacco ban now pending before Lingle?
A: We're happy about that. We're really excited about that. We've worked with many of our partners on policy and that is a next step.
Decades ago, offices were filled with smokers, and over the years we've been lucky to get success in regulating secondhand smoke in offices, restaurants, other places -- and this expands this to almost all public places, including correctional facilities, including no smoking within 20 feet of a nonsmoking area.
Secondhand smoke is one of the major problems with health in the nation, the world, and Hawaii specifically. Childhood asthma is related a little more to secondhand smoke than vog on the Big Island.
Q: What else do you do?
A: We help people living with lung diseases, too, especially in the children's area. We have an asthma sports day camp coming up this summer, on Maui, the Big Island, Oahu and Kauai in June and July.
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