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NAATPN Strengthens its Legacy of Tobacco Prevention through New Partnership with the Robert Wood Joh

ATLANTA – NAATPN, Inc. will build upon its 20-year legacy of commercial tobacco-use prevention through a two year $1.5 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The RWJF project “Building Capacity to Reduce Tobacco Inequities in the South and Midwest” is designed to engage African Americans in the South and Midwest in local and regional tobacco-control advocacy efforts with an emphasis on policy and environmental changes. This opportunity will allow NAATPN to build capacity across the 13 states in tobacco nation further strengthening the organization’s national tobacco control network. Specifically, the funding stream will allow NAATPN to provide a series of trainings for existing or new local coalitions in each state to advocate for specific policies and interventions that promote health justice and are most impactful in addressing health disparities.

“Our end-game strategy for reducing tobacco-related death and illness hinges upon opportunities like this that allow us to focus on policies that promote health justice and develop African American advocates within our own communities,” said Delmonte Jefferson, executive director of NAATPN, Inc. “This is a chance for us to focus on a broad range of health, economic and social injustices that impact our communities. We are incredibly excited to drive this work forward.”

NAATPN has an extensive history of working with states to raise awareness of tobacco use and promote health equity. The organization is best known for its involvement in providing technical assistance and thought leadership for smoke-free movements in cities such as New Orleans and Atlanta as well as its decade-long battle to ban the sale of mentholated tobacco products. In addition, NAATPN spearheads a national faith-based observance day called No Menthol Sunday and is the facilitator of the biennial State of Black Health national conference. The RWJF project will bolster all of these efforts and expand the organization’s ability to provide technical assistance to marginalized communities within tobacco nation and neighboring states across the country.

“We are proud to announce the opening of a new Midwest office in Cleveland, OH,” said NAATPN’s director of operations Channte’ Keith. “Being on the ground in tobacco nation enhances our ability to build firm relationships and to network with local leaders. It also allows us to bring resources to disadvantaged communities to support their economic growth and development. We’re glad to be able to hire staff in the Cleveland area,” she said.

Kenneth Ray, a 20-year veteran of tobacco prevention and control advocacy, will lead the RWJF Building Capacity project for NAATPN. “We couldn’t have found a better person to manage this effort,” said Jefferson. “Kenneth’s experience in advocating for policy and system changes as a state tobacco control program manager as well as his passion for advancing health outcomes guarantees this project’s success,”.

NAATPN will strategically partner with national, regional and local advocacy organizations and community coalitions vested in eliminating tobacco-related health disparities to implement this initiative over the next two years.


About NAATPN, Inc.

NAATPN. Inc. is a national non-profit organization that facilitates public health programs and services that benefit communities and people of African descent. We are committed to addressing the social and economic injustices that have marginalized our communities and led to deep health disparities. NAATPN is fortified by a network of community organizations, grassroots organizers, faith leaders, legislators, clinical service providers, researchers and media professionals who use their expertise to inform our policy work and amplify our educational activities.