Marquette County Health Department Received 2012 Tobacco Control Coalition
Partner of the Year Award


On Thursday, December 6, 2012, Five Counties for Tobacco-Free Living Coalition Coordinator Sandy Bernier and Assistant Coordinator Julie Jorgensen presented the Marquette County Health Department with an award plaque, identifying Marquette County as the 2012 Tobacco Control Coalition Partner of the year at their County Board of Health meeting.

Sandy Bernier stated, “The award is well deserved as Marquette County has consistently identified tobacco prevention and control as a major public health issue and has actively worked to encourage youth advocacy activities by working with local school districts, has engaged local employers in tobacco prevention and control initiatives, and participated in all coalition activities. Its dedicated partners like Marquette County that makes the ‘Five Counties for Tobacco-Free Living’ a strong purposeful coalition.”

In 2009 the Department of Health Services Tobacco Prevention and Control Program released a competitive grant that would provide a multi-regional approach for tobacco prevention efforts statewide, in large part due to funding cuts to the program. Fond du Lac applied for and received the grant to work as the lead agency for the multi-jurisdictional coalition. Marquette County Health Department merged with Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Waushara, and Washington Counties to become “Five Counties for Tobacco-Free Living.” Prior to major funding cuts there were 42 community based tobacco prevention programs in the state of Wisconsin.

Currently only 15 multi-jurisdictional tobacco prevention and control coalitions are funded, with “Five Counties for Tobacco-Free Living being one of the 15.

Nathan Luedke, Director of the Health Department, stated, “This award demonstrates the hard work and comprehensive nature of our tobacco prevention programming.  Tobacco remains the number one of cause of preventable death, so it is important that we stay focused on this important issue.”

Marquette County has among the highest rates of lung cancer in Wisconsin, with the great majority being related to tobacco use.  The County has been working with Five Counties for Tobacco Free Living to develop strategies to reduce the use of tobacco and has implemented these strategies with the local Healthy Community Health Youth Coalition. 

“We were recognized as a result of level of service we provide in comparison to our minimal funding.  Being a good steward of this money relies on strong partnerships and dedicated individuals and we have been fortunate to have both,” said Luedke.