In an effort to promote health and wellness at the USC Health Sciences campus, several partners in the USC clinical enterprise went smoke free Oct. 1.
The initiative spans USC University Hospital, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital, Doheny Eye Institute, Doheny Vision Research Center, Healthcare Consultation Centers I and II and Parkview Medical Building.
Smoking is not allowed in any of these facilities, the parking structures or open spaces immediately surrounding these buildings. In addition, the designated smoking areas outside of USC University Hospital and USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital have been closed.
All other areas of the Health Sciences campus, including the Biggy Street parking structure, are not affected by this initiative.
“The decision to support a smoke-free environment was really unanimous within the USC academic medical enterprise,” said Sharon Lee, associate administrator of clinical ancillary services for the USC hospitals.
Lee led and managed efforts to get the smoke-free initiative successfully implemented. “We support medical research. We heal patients. We fight cancer. Going smoke free just makes sense with who we are as a health care entity.”
The idea to go smoke free had been on the hospitals’ radar for some time, but Lee got the ball rolling in February with the help of Michael McNulty, a USC occupational therapy doctoral resident with similar interests in getting such an initiative off the ground.
By April, the two had formed a committee of representatives from the hospitals, The Doctors of USC and other constituencies. What initially had begun as a hospitals-based initiative snowballed into something bigger and more far-reaching, with buy-in from several other partners in the clinical enterprise.
An aggressive plan then commenced to implement the smoke-free policy by Oct. 1, with a multifaceted campaign to inform employees, patients and visitors of the initiative. The campaign included signage and other materials distributed throughout the campus, as well as employee outreach and educational forums on smoking cessation resources offered by USC.
“We really have to recognize the tremendous effort of everyone involved in making this initiative happen,” said hospitals chief operating officer Scott Evans. “In particular, we must commend Sharon Lee’s single-handed administrative effort to get this project off the ground and to see it through. This was a complex initiative that required involvement from multiple parties, foresight and a lot of behind-the-scenes work. Sharon’s leadership played an integral role in the success of this project.”
The USC clinical enterprise joins countless other health care entities – including more than 2,100 hospitals throughout the country – that have adopted smoke-free policies. In fact, guidelines regulating smoking in other areas such as the restaurant and airline industries also have been widely adopted in recent years.
Officials involved in the initiative emphasized that this new policy does not require anyone to quit. It does, however, create an environment that serves the best interests of those visiting and working here, Lee said.