Why I work with NMACT
I attended a networking lunch a couple months ago. When I arrived at the networking lunch, I glanced around the banquet hall for a place to sit and found an open seat at a table of older gentlemen in suit jackets. After introducing myself, I learned that my luncheon neighbors included a retired aerospace engineer, a practicing hot air balloon pilot and a retired mechanical engineer.
I explained to them my work in commercial tobacco prevention and cessation services in Native American communities – and, perhaps more importantly to this story – how I got into this line of work.
To summarize a long story – I had just started working for Keres and was given the opportunity to support a tobacco prevention and cessation program under the guidance of my supervisor. What I lacked in experience, I made up in I-can-do-it-attitude with a commitment to myself to learn as much as I could with the opportunity I was given.
After explaining this story, the retired aerospace engineer looked at me and said, “When you believe in yourself enough to say, “I can do that,” then you have already conquered the toughest part of any job. You can do it and you will do it.”
For obvious reasons, partnership with NMACT means I gain access to a statewide group of people working in commercial tobacco prevention, cessation, and public health policy. It provides me with once-a-month training opportunities and up-to-date information on the impact of commercial tobacco in our State. By simply attending NMACT, I am more informed in my work and better equipped to connect Native American communities with resources in commercial tobacco control.
NMACT is an effective mechanism for information sharing and collective activism. It makes my work in commercial tobacco control more meaningful and impactful. It provides a place for emerging leaders and public health experts alike to engage in and support policy initiatives.
NMACT gives strength to the “I can do thats” in tobacco control efforts. And the more effective we can be as NMACT members, the more we can experience New Mexico children saying, “I can do that” because they aren’t limited by secondhand smoke-induced asthma, or Native American elders saying “I can do that” because they aren’t suffering from disease caused from commercial tobacco.
I work with NMACT because it empowers my “I can do that” and shines a brighter light on the future of commercial tobacco policy in New Mexico.