The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department would like residents to know that Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger has won the Tennessee Public Health Association’s (TPHA) Partners and Leadership Individual Award. This award is presented to a non-public health professional that has made a significant contribution on behalf of public health that is extraordinary and would set an example for others. The Health Department is grateful for the interest that Mayor Coppinger takes in the health of residents and support he has for public health programs.
One of Mayor Coppinger’s chief contributions has been his support in protecting children and non-smokers from the harmful effects of second- and third-hand smoke. Through his leadership, all 11 Hamilton County Mayors came together to create the Mayors’ Smokefree Community Initiative. This initiative, funded solely through the Tobacco Settlement Fund, “asks” people to not smoke or vape in public places around non-smokers, especially children. Funds purchased 203 signs and 40 park benches that have carried the initiative’s message in parks, childcare, healthcare, and other public places around the county. Tobacco use and exposure are the leading cause of preventable death in Tennessee.
Mayor Coppinger has also been supportive of creating tobacco free campus policies to protect student health. He was supportive of the TNSTRONG student-led effort to create a tobacco free policy for all Hamilton County school campuses. Additionally, he attended and spoke at the Bright Spot Award for the Head Start Tobacco Exposure Initiative that resulted in tobacco free campuses for Chattanooga Head Start. He was also on hand to support Chattanooga State Community College for their announcement of a smokefree campus.
“We just feel strongly that if we can help turn some of our young people away from smoking — to educate them — we can save lives,” Mayor Coppinger said.
Beyond his tobacco prevention efforts, Mayor Coppinger has also been supportive of National Recovery Month, endorsing a proclamation to show his support locally for those in recovery from addiction and providing hope to those who are looking for help.
Mayor Coppinger delivered the introduction and welcome to Chattanooga at the Tennessee Breastfeeding Symposium in Chattanooga on June 15, 2018. He was a huge hit among attendees. Everyone was impressed with his knowledge and support of breastfeeding in Hamilton County.
Mayor Coppinger is widely known for his efforts to attract business to the county and for his sound approach to county finances, yet he is equally as concerned about the health of Hamilton County residents and visitors.
“Whenever the Mayor is out speaking to groups, he talks about Health Department initiatives,” says Health Department Administrator Becky Barnes, “He gives his personal stories and endorsement, which I think is the most important part. He genuinely cares.”
The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department congratulates Mayor Coppinger on receiving the TPHA Partners and Leadership Award.
TPHA is the official professional organization for those engaged or interested in public health services and is endorsed by the Administration of the Tennessee Department of Health.