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Kate Cole Heads to Washington, DC

NWCPHP Research Assistant Kate Cole was recently awarded a fellowship at the Food and Drug Administration.

NWCPHP Research Assistant Kate Cole was recently awarded a fellowship at the Food and Drug Administration. On June 3, 2013, she'll start working in the Office of Communication at the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products in Rockville, Maryland.

May 28, 2013

NWCPHP research assistant Kate Cole is heading for the other Washington. Cole was recently awarded an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) fellowship at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). She will be working in the Office of Communication at the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products in Rockville, Maryland.

“I’m thrilled for the opportunity,” says Cole. “I think the federal experience will be really interesting. I’ve worked in University settings and community non-profits. This will be a really big change and I’m excited to see what it’s like.”

Cole will be working on tobacco prevention for youth and young adults, assisting with the FDA’s launch of their national youth tobacco prevention campaign. She will also be working on strategic partnerships with local and regional partners across the country.

“I’ve learned about best practices for designing a public health campaign in school, but in my experience with community organizations we’ve had limited budgets and can only implement some of the best practices,” says Cole. “It’ll be neat to see how large-scale, national campaigns are put together.”

Cole learned about this opportunity through some of her work the past year with the Tobacco Studies Program in the University of Washington’s Department of Health Services. In June 2012, the Tobacco Studies Program partnered with Health and Human Services Region X, the Office of the Surgeon General, and the FDA to put together a Youth & Tobacco Town Hall at UW with Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA, attending. Cole organized a panel of young adults to share their experiences with tobacco and tobacco prevention with Surgeon General Benjamin.

It was this experience that connected Cole with the Director of the Center for Tobacco Products, which led to the fellowship. For Cole, this role is an opportunity to expand on her work for the Town Hall, her efforts this past year advocating for a smoke-free campus at the University of Washington, and her goals of generating more discussion around tobacco prevention. The FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products has only been in existence since 2009, when Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

“Tobacco has been unregulated for much of its history,” explains Cole. “No product introduced today would be allowed the freedoms that the tobacco industry has experienced.”

Cole will start her new position on June 3, 2013. She has agreed to an initial six-month fellowship with the opportunity to review and extend her commitment. Cole has lived on the East Coast previously, spending seven years in Boston, before moving to Seattle.

“I grew up in Idaho and wanted to try out something completely new for college,” Cole says of her decision to attend college in Boston. “However, since living in Seattle, I’ve come to really love the Northwest. My parents are a little sad to see me move back to the East Coast, but they’re very excited for this opportunity and I’m looking forward to experiencing the federal government firsthand.”

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