Ventura County Public Health Programs To Share $1.2M in Tobacco Settlement Funds
Ventura County Public Health Director Paul Lorenz yesterday announced that 22 Ventura County organizations, including a bioterrorism awareness program and a cancer screening program for low-income women, will receive a total of $1.2 million in funds from the county's share of the national tobacco settlement, the Los Angeles Times reports. A citizens advisory group had recommended that the $1.2 million be given to community groups that "demonstrate emergency needs in certain areas, from communicable diseases to tobacco education." Each year, Ventura County receives $10 million from the settlement. This year, $36,000 will go to the Terrorism Working Group, an organization comprising law enforcement and public health representatives that devises ways to prepare the county for terrorism incidents. According to Sandi Wells, a spokesperson for the county Fire Department, the group will use $11,000 for a public information campaign and $25,000 for equipment. Currently, the group is working on a short video detailing the symptoms caused by biological agents and will distribute fliers and brochures on bioterrorism to city halls, hospitals and fire stations. Another $100,000 from the settlement funds will go to the Ventura County Medical Resource Foundation to expand its cervical cancer screening program. According to Paul Iannaccone, the foundation's executive director, the funding will "help fill a gap in services" for women who are uninsured or cannot afford Pap smears or other diagnostic tests. Other groups that will receive funding include free dental clinics, organizations that investigate elder abuse and school-based public health programs (Saillant, Los Angeles Times, 12/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.