By Chris Bavender
Breathe Easy Hamilton County is undergoing changes to its leadership team.
Katie Jensen has been named executive director, and Erica Strahm has been named youth coordinator. Breathe Easy is a nonprofit working with organizations and individuals within the Hamilton County community to promote tobacco-free living to reduce mortality and morbidity rates.
Stacy London was the past executive director. She has transferred to the Breathe Easy state office.
Jensen will continue to educate the community on tobacco prevention, while Strahm will focus on growing and expanding the VOICE program in all Hamilton County schools. The VOICE program prepares youth to become peer leaders and advocates for the Hamilton County VOICE team. Youth members engage, educate and empower their peers to live tobacco-free lifestyles.
Jensen joined Breathe Easy in March. She lives in Carmel. Strahm lives in Westfield.
“I have really enjoyed getting up to speed,” Jensen said. “Our nonprofit in this county is one of the strongest in the state.”
As executive director, Jensen wants to raise awareness for Breathe Easy Hamilton County and the dangers of tobacco use.
“We want to do this by providing access to the many resources available for prevention and cessation,” she said.
Jensen plans to focus on educating youth before they are confronted with hard choices in their teen years.
“There is so much misleading marketing towards our youth,” Jensen said. “We really need to make them aware of the dangers of tobacco and vaping.”
Jensen’s goals include reducing tobacco use, protecting Hamilton County residents from secondhand smoke, promoting the Indiana Quitline at 1-800-QUIT NOW and educating youth on the dangers of tobacco and nicotine.
Tobacco is the No. 1 cause of preventable disease and death in Indiana, according to Breathe Easy Hamilton County. Last year, Hamilton County reported 568 deaths attributed to smoking and 81 deaths attributed to secondhand smoke.
Breathe Easy Hamilton County is based in Fishers. For more, visit breatheeasyhamiltoncounty.com.