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Two American Cancer Society interns begin work on UMFK campus

February 4, 2005


The University of Maine at Fort Kent will be able to move forward with their goal of improving campus health as it pertains to tobacco use thanks to the help of The American Cancer Society's Smoke Free New England Campus Initiative.

Caroline Williams, assistant director of residential life and wellness, was notified that UMFK has been allocated two interns through Doug Dieckmann, American Cancer Society's community executive for cancer control in the Houlton office.

"These two interns, one a nonsmoker and one an ex-smoker, mean that we have two additional minds looking at ways to improve the air on this campus, and that we have two people to help make the transition that much easier," said Williams,

Tina Caron and Larry Nadeau both of Fort Kent, students in the nursing program at UMFK were interviewed by the ACS and have been hired to work as interns with Williams and Jenny Radsma, associate professor of nursing on implementing the relatively new UMFK Tobacco Use Policy.

The interns will be working this semester to make the campus a healthier place by reducing tobacco use through current resources available on campus, drawing attention to the current smoking policy, creating new programs to raise the awareness of the health issues of tobacco use, and assisting in the implementation of smoke-free dorms.

Nadeau, a senior at UMFK is married with three step-children and three biological children, the youngest of which was born three weeks ago. Nadeau feels strongly about the increase of cancer cases worldwide.

"I am very pleased to be a part of such a project as the American Cancer Society because I have personally lost several relatives to cancer including an aunt, uncle and my mother-in-law," said Nadeau.

"Several years ago I participated in a Cancer Walk for Life in Michigan. It was very moving and yet hopeful at the same time. It is my personal opinion that, with the many different types of cancer, the increase in cancer deaths, and the emotional cost to families all over the world, cancer should be the government's number one health priority as far as education and funding for a cure," added Nadeau.

Caron, a junior in the nursing program is a single mother of two children and has returned to UMFK to pursue her nursing career, which was put on hold while raising her family. She is currently working part-time at Northern Maine Medical Center as a certified nurse's aide.

"I look forward to working with Doug Deickman of ACS and Caro Williams on implementing standards for a tobacco free campus," said Caron. "We as nursing students are aware of the dangers tobacco poses to each and every one of us. We, therefore, want to make sure that while we are in this learning environment that exposure to tobacco smoke will not have to be one of our concerns," added Caron.

A variety of activities have been discussed and the final activities will be designed by the Tobacco Use on Campus Committee, committee chair Scott Voisine, director of student services and the two interns and supervised by Williams in her role as wellness coordinator.

The interns will also be responsible for keeping Dieckmann of ACS informed of their progress through written reports.

"We really lucked out in getting the interns, as the relatively new Tobacco Use Policy is still in the implementation stage, and as we head directly to smoke free dorms next semester," said Williams. "This is a changing time in tobacco use, not only on our campus but in the state, country, and the world."