"We are very excited to have Chris be a part of the team," said Dennis Weatherford, CEO of Putnam County Hospital. "It's great to know that the program will be able to continue with effective leadership. Chris brings a lot of qualities to the table that will be important as we work toward the goal of improving the overall health of the residents in the county. "
Most recently, Shuck worked as campaign manager for former State Rep. Nancy Michael of Greencastle. On top of his political experience, Shuck has worked with the public through volunteer activities and in a professional financial capacity.
"I'm very excited about this opportunity," Shuck said. "Greencastle is essentially the first town of its size to go smoke-free in Indiana. There is still a lot of work to be done, and the potential for Putnam County to be a leader in the reduction of tobacco use is very high."
Responsibilities of the program coordinator include working with patients at Putnam County Hospital as they try to quit using tobacco products, reaching out to mental health providers to educate their clients on the dangers of tobacco use, promoting youth cessation programs, partnering with the Coalition for Prevention, Intervention and Education (P.I.E.), teaching Tobacco Awareness Program (T.A.P.) and Tobacco Education Group (T.E.G.) classes, meeting with physicians as well as encouraging businesses to create smoke-free environments for their employees and visitors.
When asked about the controversy that surrounds the subject of tobacco cessation Shuck responded, "I think the misconception is that this program exists in order to force people to quit smoking. That simply isn't true. A lot of that is centered in public policy and the discussion in the Statehouse recently about the statewide smoking ban. This program exists to give people who want to quit using tobacco the resources to accomplish that goal."
The Putnam County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program is supported by a grant that is administered by the Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation (ITPC) organization at the state level. This year marks ITPC's 10th anniversary. Because of the program many people have access to the Indiana Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-QUITNOW. This is a free service provided to any Indiana resident. Phone calls to the Quitline are anonymous and provide counseling for those wishing to find healthy ways to quit using tobacco.
For more information on how to volunteer, or to get help quitting tobacco, persons may contact Shuck at 655-2697.