Meet Our Steering Committee
Missouri Eliminate Tobacco Use Initiative Steering Committee 2021 –2022
|Eli Bohnert, BS
Ohio State University, Masters in Public Health Student
Eli graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a B.A. in Communication Studies and a B.S. in Political Science and is currently pursuing a Masters of Public Health from The Ohio State University. During his undergraduate education, Eli served as Senator and later Vice President of Southeast Missouri State’s Student Government as well as completing a yearlong fellowship with the Truth Initiative. Eli became involved in tobacco control through Tobacco Free Missouri Youth in high school and has worked with the American Heart Association and the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation in passing tobacco control policies around the country. Eli’s current research interests include tobacco use among youth, the effectiveness of graphic warning labels on tobacco packaging, and sexual minority populations and tobacco use.
|Jamie Baker, BS
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Community Policy Specialist
Jamie Baker received her BA in Psychology from the University of MO-Columbia. Ms. Baker was most recently a Tobacco Prevention and Control Specialist with the MO Department of Health and Senior Services. She retired from this position on June 1st, 2022. Jamie has worked in tobacco prevention and control since 1996 starting with the ASSIST project and coordinating tobacco use prevention efforts in the northwestern region of MO. During her tenure in tobacco control she has provided both leadership and technical assistance to community coalitions; coordinated interventions that involved multiple public health, community, voluntary and business partners. Through her guidance and technical assistance, she has assisted multiple communities pass comprehensive smoke free community ordinances and youth access ordinances. She has also worked with public and private K-12 school districts as well as colleges and universities to create and implement Tobacco Free Campus Policies. She has been successful in fundraising acquiring grant funding to ensure the sustainability of tobacco control efforts in the northwest Missouri region.
|Dwana (Dee) Calhoun, MS MPH
SelfMade Health Network, Director
As Director, Dee is responsible for the oversight, leadership and coordination of all activities undertaken by the SelfMade Health Network.
|Jim Brawner, BSE, MEd, NCTTP
Cox Health, Community Educator and Chair of Cessation Programs
Jim Brawner is the Community Educator for CoxHealth Medical System in Southwest Missouri. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Jim is a Mayo Clinic Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist as well as a University of Massachusetts Medical School Trainer of Tobacco Treatment Specialists. He holds a certificate in tobacco treatment from the National Association for Addiction Professionals and a certificate in tobacco treatment in oncology from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
His former experience as an instructor, coach, and principal, along with 20 years of experience in marriage and family conferences, gives him a knowledge of practical helps for overcoming addictions. Most of his clients are low income, homeless, and/or in recovery populations.
|Cammie Connor, PhD, LPC
Harris-Stowe State University, Director of Counseling Services and Prevention
Dr. Cammie E. Connor is a Mental Health Professional at Harris-Stowe State University working as the Director of Counseling Services and Prevention. She holds a PhD in Higher Education Administration, an MS in Marriage and Family Therapy and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. Dr. Connor has over 15 years of experience presenting professional developments, trainings, and facilitating workshops geared towards family engagement, trauma informed care and intergenerational cycles of trauma. Dr. Connor has an authentic outlook designed to facilitate and support personal and developmental change. As an educator and therapist, she believes, personal well-being is a function of knowing who we are – through the role of accepting life transitions that will offer fulfillment so individuals can experience positive change in the interruption of intergenerational transmission of trauma or other life stressors.
|Ginny Chadwick, MA MPH
Missouri Eliminate Tobacco Use Initiative, Program Coordinator
Ginny Chadwick MPH MA is the Program Coordinator for the Midwest Eliminate Tobacco Use Initiative at the University of Missouri. Chadwick formerly served as the Project Coordinator for the University of Missouri’s Tobacco Free Campus Initiative, Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Sciences and as the Western Regional Director for the Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation where she worked at local, state and federal level and abroad to help build coalitions, identify legislative champions and successfully pass tobacco age restriction policy. Chadwick holds masters’ degrees in journalism and public health, has co-authored several academic journal articles on tobacco control and has presented her work at countless conferences and in legislative sessions.
|Jennifer Cofer, BS, MPH
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Director of the EndTobacco® Program and Cancer Prevention Policy
Jennifer is the Director of the EndTobacco® Program and Cancer Prevention Policy at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Employing 20-plus years of experience in public health and tobacco control, she collaborates with internal and external partners to promote evidence-based cancer prevention and tobacco control initiatives through policy, prevention and cessation. Jennifer holds a bachelor’s in health education and a Master of Public Health, both from the University of Southern Mississippi; and is currently enrolled in the doctoral program at UT Health School of Public Health. She is a certified health education specialist.
|Kevin Everett, PhD
University of Missouri, Family and Community Medicine Associate Professor
Trained as a clinical psychologist, Dr Everett has long-standing interests in behavior change and has developed interventions effective at reducing health risks, especially tobacco use, at the individual, family, systems, and community level. Earlier work was dedicated to projects seeking understanding of individual factors contributing to tobacco use and other unhealthy behaviors. This included projects addressing vulnerable, hard-to-reach, or underserved populations (e.g., low-income rural couples; LGBT community). More recently he has directed projects aimed at tobacco control policy adoption. Using a community-oriented ‘evidence-based advocacy’ model, he developed intervention strategies resulting in successful adoption of community comprehensive smoke-free ordinances, school district tobacco-free policies, smoke- and tobacco-free college campus policies, and local Tobacco 21 policies. His approach specifically includes leadership building activities for youth and college students as they engage in tobacco control.
|Valerie Howard, MSW
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Tobacco Control Program Manager
Valerie Howard has over thirty-three years of experience overseeing state, federal and foundation funded programs related to health, mental health and social services. As Assistant Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Community Health and Wellness, she manages the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ Tobacco Prevention and Control and Building Communities for Better Health Programs, designed to improve health by preventing and reducing the leading chronic disease risk factors including tobacco use and exposure, physical inactivity and poor nutrition. Prior to her current role, Valerie served as deputy director of the Department of Social Services’ Family Support Division (FSD) overseeing the eligibility determination for the state’s Food Stamp, TANF, and Medicaid Programs, as well as other federal programs aimed at reducing poverty and homelessness and resettling refugees. Valerie has considerable experience with collaboration and coalition building, training and technical assistance, and facilitating group planning processes. Her career has focused on helping individuals and communities achieve optimal health, wellness and self-sufficiency through providing tools and opportunities to assist those efforts.
|Joan Masters, BS Ed, MEd
Partners in Prevention, Senior Coordinator
Joan Masters is the Senior Coordinator of Partners in Prevention and has worked with PIP since 2001. Joan is responsible for the training and technical assistance that PIP provides to the 23 member campuses and serves as the Primary Investigator for PIP’s grant projects. Joan provides oversight to the Partners in Prevention projects such as the Missouri Assessment of College Health Behaviors and the Meeting of the Minds conference. She is able to assist campuses with coalition building, implementing evidence-based strategies, building peer education programs, and strategic planning. Joan is a Missouri Advanced Prevention Specialist and received both her Masters and Bachelor’s degrees in Education from the University of Missouri. In addition to her work with PIP, Joan is currently serving as the Regional Consultant for NASPA’s The BACCHUS Network.
|Traci Kennedy, BA, MPA
Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, Midwest State Specialist
Traci Kennedy has spent the last decade working on smoke-free policy change and tobacco prevention issues. Kennedy testified at her first City Council meeting as a high school student asking her community to pass a smoke-free workplace law. That launched a passion for coalition building and grassroots policy change that lent to her career leading the statewide coalition, Tobacco Free Missouri, and now as a consultant for the national advocacy organization the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. In her current role, she works in a challenging 13 state territory at the local and statewide level to protect all employees from secondhand smoke at work.
|Kayce Morton, DO
Jordan Valley Community Health Center, Pediatric Medical Director
Dr. Morton acquired a Bachelor’s in Chemistry and Biology from Drury University and received her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. Dr. Morton completed a pediatric residency through the University of Missouri-Columbia. Dr. Morton holds positions as the President of the Greene County Medical Society, Chair for the Pediatric Hospital Medicine Clinical Course 2022 and Communication Chair for the American Academy of Pediatrics, Missouri chapter. Her current research was published this summer in the Journal of Hospital Medicine, titled: “Collateral Damage: How COVID-19 is Adversely Impacting Women Physicians”.
|Janice Putnam, PhD
University of Central Missouri, Health Studies Professor
Dr. Janice Putnam is a registered nurse who started her career at UCM in 1998 as an assistant professor in the nursing program. Dr. Putnam’s academic training began in cardio-pulmonary health promotion and disease prevention. She earned a Master’s degree from Jefferson University in Philadelphia where she served as the Director for Rehabilitative Exercise Programs. She relocated to Missouri and earned a Ph.D. in Nursing from the University of Missouri. Her dissertation research involved online nicotine addiction treatment. Dr. Putnam’s teaching and research interests center on three areas: smoking addiction and cessation, medicinal and recreational marijuana, and the evaluation of health-related services. These three areas have allowed her to promote student experiences and engagement with a variety of special populations including college-age students.
|Melissa Ringer, MAADC II
Missouri State University, Tobacco and Vape Prevention Specialist
Melissa Ringer graduated from Missouri State University in 2007 with a degree in Psychology. After almost a decade as an early childhood educator, Ms. Ringer switched to higher education administration working with special education teachers statewide for individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Ms. Ringer has also worked as an educator for individuals with substance use disorders, specifically focusing on the pregnant and post-partum women and their families to help prevent separation in the family court system. Ms. Ringer is currently the Tobacco and Vape Prevention Specialist at Missouri State University, working in conjunction with the Greene County Tobacco and Vape Prevention Coalition and the Springfield Area Vape Education groups.
|Susan Wathen, MHRM, SPHR, SHRM-CP
Hannibal Regional Hospital, Vice President of Human Resources
Susan Wathen, MHRM, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is the Vice President- Human Resources for Hannibal Regional Healthcare System. Wathen has twenty years of experience in Human Resources with many of those years at the senior leadership level. Some of Wathen’s areas of strategic focus include benefit plan design for and the development and overall wellness of the Hannibal Regional team member population. Wathen also serves as a board member and past President for the YMCA of Hannibal, which gives her to opportunity to impact wellness of community members in Northeast Missouri as well.
|Jenna Wintemberg, BA, MPH, PhD, CHES
University of Missouri, Department of Health Sciences, Assistant Teaching Professor
Dr. Wintemberg is a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist, and has led cessation programs on a university campus, for the Housing Authority, and currently at a cancer center. She is also an advocate for tobacco control policies and served as Chair of Tobacco Free Missouri from 2016-2018. Her current research focuses on the development and evaluation of an adolescent tobacco cessation toolkit. She is currently an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of Missouri.