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Dr. Erika Trapl Wins OPHA Public Health Policy Award
 Dr. Trapl (second from left), and all of the 2016 OPHA award winners.

PRCHN Associate Director Erika Trapl, PhD, has been awarded the Ohio Public Health Association (OPHA) Public Health Policy Award. Each year the Ohio Public Health Association presents a series of awards that recognize excellence among our members and partners and highlight outstanding achievement in public health. The Public Health Policy Award is given to an individual, group, agency, or organization that contributed significantly to public health through the crafting and/or promotion of public health policy during the previous year. Dr. Trapl received her award at the Annual OPHA Celebrate Public Health Awards Dinner on Tuesday, May 10, 2016.

Rachael Sommer, Program Manager of the Healthy Cleveland Initiative; PRCHN Affiliated Faculty Dr. Scott Frank; and PRCHN Associate Director Erika Trapl, PhD

Dr. Trapl was nominated for the award by Rachael Sommer, Program Manager of the Healthy Cleveland Initiative within the Cleveland Department of Public Health. Her nomination read in part:

“I am writing you today to nominate Dr. Erika Trapl, Associate Director at the Prevention Research Center at Case Western University for the 2016 OPHA Public Health Policy Award. I have worked with Dr. Trapl for the last five years as part of our Healthy Cleveland Initiative in Cleveland. She and her team at the Case Western Reserve University Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods have been invaluable in providing expertise in research as it relates to improving health of our citizens in Cleveland.

I have been particularly impressed by her contributions to our recent policy adoption of Tobacco 21 and the introduction of a law that would restrict flavored tobacco sales in the City of Cleveland. The Tobacco 21 law regulates that for the City of Cleveland, retailers will no longer be able to sell tobacco to youth under the age of 21. I first become aware of the health impacts of these laws in February 2015 and shared our initiative’s interest in potentially pursuing these policy changes by partnering with our local Councilmembers. Dr. Trapl quickly shared her current research on tobacco use in Cleveland (a dismal rate of 36%) and began connecting me to national research and contacts who could help inform this process. Working with Dr. Trapl and our local Council, we were able to introduce both pieces of legislation in June of 2015.

Following introduction of this legislation, Erika continued to provide valuable insight, create solid arguments in favor of the pieces of legislation, and provide local data to our team demonstrating the current use of all types of tobacco amongst our youth and adult population in Cleveland. Dr. Trapl was instrumental in preparing for our public hearings on the topic, providing sound testimony as to the evidence and potential impact in Cleveland. There were a total of three public hearings on the legislation, and we believe Dr. Trapl’s presence and availability to respond to Council concerns and questions played a significant role in the determination to formalize the Tobacco 21 legislation into Cleveland law. Although the flavored tobacco piece is still being considered, Dr. Trapl has continued to avail herself as needed to support and provide context for our Councilmembers when they are ready to make their decision.

Moving forward, Dr. Trapl has committed to assist our Department of Public Health and the Healthy Cleveland initiative in the realm of tobacco prevention/cessation by leading our ‘Breathe Free’ committee as co-chair. This committee focuses on clean air standards for our citizens utilizing a socio-ecological model to create interventions at every level of change, including the policy level. She continues to contribute thoughtful ideas, methods of evaluation, and strategies for promoting and integrating this policy into our community.”

The PRCHN’s faculty, staff, and students all wish Dr. Trapl hearty congratulations on receiving the OPHA Public Health Policy Award. Some highlights of Dr. Trapl's tobacco-related research:
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