With the addition of Brenda Mayfield to the staff at Teller County Public Health, smokers need to take heed. Passionate about halting the effects of smoking, especially on the youth, Mayfield will be a familiar figure around the county.
Along with warning about second-hand smoke, Mayfield hopes to prevent others from starting while she helps adults to stop smoking.
“I think the biggest thing we’re going to impact is our youth,” Mayfield said.
In addition to highlighting the QuitLine, a telephone program with an online component, Mayfield will emphasize the fact that years can be added to a life span for those who quit – or don’t start – smoking.
A 20-year resident of Teller County, Mayfield was among the first paid EMTs for Woodland Park ambulance, now Ute Pass Regional Ambulance District. A certified paramedic, Mayfield went on to earn a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing in 2009.
Former emergency-department nurse at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, Mayfield has switched career directions with the move to public health.
“I think the tobacco promotion she’s going to be doing was a little bit of a carrot,” said Martha Hubbard, director of public health. “The fact that she is answering our need made her a nice fit. Brenda is passionate about doing prevention instead of intervention.”
The department’s renewed focus on tobacco education is the result of a state grant to the county where tobacco use is higher than average, Hubbard said.
Mayfield added, “Tobacco causes so many health problems: I don’t think a lot of people realize all of the long-term chronic problems.”
Mayfield’s focus is facilitated by the buy-in of the community, of the schools, the police department and Build a Generation, an organization dedicated to addressing risk factors for teenagers.
“The collaborative effort is going to make the difference, not just one agency,” Mayfield said. “Tobacco is addictive so quitting is not easy. But even just cutting back is a step in the right direction.”
When she isn’t speaking about tobacco use, Mayfield will spend one day a week with children in the Early Head Start Program in Cripple Creek.
Mayfield and her husband, Bill, have two sons, Matthew, a sophomore at Woodland Park High School, and Kenny, a fifth-grader at Summit Elementary School.