Tobacco Control Champions and Students Recognize Local Store Owner

BUFFALO—The Great American Smoke Out is an annual intervention event that occurs every third Thursday of November. More than 34 million Americans still smoke cigarettes and smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of death and illness in the world. This event challenges people to stop smoking and helps people learn about the many tools they can use to help them quit and stay quit.

Tobacco control ambassadors also use this day to bring attention to the tobacco industry’s use of manipulative tobacco point of sale marketing that specifically targets young people and the disparate number of tobacco retailers doing business around schools that are in marginalized communities.

“Where you live, learn, work and play matters! Unfortunately, based on the science, 31% of New York’s high school students are open to using e-cigarettes, among those who have never used them before. This is an Epidemic and it’s 100% preventable,” said Stan Martin, Project Director at CAI, a mission-driven nonprofit dedicated to improving the quality of health care and social services delivered to our most marginalized populations worldwide. “

Furthermore, “There are 80 active tobacco retailers that conduct business in the Ferry Street Corridor, which represent the largest concentration of tobacco retailers in the city,” said Terry Alford, Community Engagement Program Manager for the Tobacco-Free Coalition of Erie Niagara, another CAI initiative dedicated to decreasing tobacco use by adults and preventing our youth from ever starting by bringing together youth, community stakeholders and health experts dedicated to the reduction of illnesses and deaths attributed to tobacco use or exposure to secondhand smoke. “Of these 80 tobacco retailers, 57 are within a mile of early childhood centers, elementary and high schools. Unfortunately, our children that travel past these stores or patronize them are inundated with tobacco point of sale advertising every day, which continues to be the primary strategy of tobacco companies to get young people hooked on their deadly products.”

One local retailer, 35-year-old Rocky Mohamed, and owner of the Buffalo’s Golden Corner store located at 1715 Jefferson Ave. in Buffalo, long ago made the decision not to sell or promote tobacco products at his establishment. “My family has owned our store for 21 years. Our customers consist of mostly college students and young people from the neighborhood. I don’t want to sell anything to our customers I know will harm them, especially our youth,” said Mohamed.

To recognize Mohamed as a responsible and caring businessperson committed to the promotion of good health in his community, community stakeholders and students representing the Buffalo Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts high school assembled at the school to present Mohamed with a special certificate of recognition.

“I am astonished and grateful to be recognized,” said Mohamed. “My decision not to sell tobacco wasn’t for the recognition but to do the right thing.”


For more information about how you can support CAI’s initiatives, please contact Stan Martin at or Terry Alford at Visit our website to learn more about REACH Buffalo & Tobacco Free Coalition of Erie & Niagara Counties.


[i] American Cancer Society


The Great American Smoke Out 2019 (11/21) - The Center of Excellence for Health Systems Improvement Shares Free Resources Developed to Help Providers Enhance Their Skills to Address Tobacco Dependence with their Patients

NEW YORK, NY – In observance of the Great American Smokeout on November 21st, the Center of Excellence for Health Systems Improvement (COE for HSI) wants to acknowledge the crucial role that healthcare providers play in helping their patients quit smoking.

A provider’s advice and assistance more than doubles the odds that a patient will successfully quit smoking1. But it can be hard for providers to know where to start. That is why the COE for HSI offers free technical assistance to help them identify practical and easily applied strategies to strengthen their systems to improve identification of smokers and provide or link them to treatment. 

Launched in July 2014 by CAI, the COE for HSI provides support and technical assistance to 10 regional health systems improvement grantee sites across New York State. These grantees work diligently in the field to undertake health systems improvement activities to ensure that every tobacco user is screened, offered, and receives timely tobacco dependence treatment, if desired. The project prioritizes health systems and organizations that serve populations for which smoking prevalence rates are higher, including patients with low socioeconomic status (SES), and behavioral health and substance-use diagnoses. 

The COE for HSI supports health systems improvement grantees by developing resources and tools to integrate tobacco cessation into primary care, behavioral health, and substance use treatment settings. These resources include webinars, training resources, and tobacco treatment financing resources that support the universal provision of evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment services. 

For more information on CAI’s products and services, please contact David Davis, Deputy Director for the Center of Excellence for Health Systems Improvement at or (212) 594-7741 X 263

For more information about the COE for HSI, visit

Some of the COE for HSI Resources include:

On-Demand Webinars 

These webinars were created for public health workers and provider organizations, and show how to undertake health systems improvement activities to ensure that every tobacco user is screened, offered, and receives timely tobacco dependence treatment. Continuing Education Credits offered on select webinars. Access these webinars by visiting our resource center.

E-learning courses based on the Tobacco Dependence Screening & Treatment Behavioral Health Settings Training Toolkit

This online course builds the capacity of behavioral health and substance use organizations to deliver evidence-based tobacco dependence screening and treatment to their clients, ultimately supporting the integration of best practices into standard delivery of care. It is a free course that is available for all behavioral health providers and offers CASAC credits upon completion. The online format will allow providers to undergo the modules at the time and place that is most convenient for them. We encourage providers to visit our website at to learn more about this course and to register to begin E-learning today! 

1. Fiore M, Froelicher, E, Baily, W, Jaen, C, Baker, T, . Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. May 2008.


BUFFALO, NY – CAI (Cicatelli Associates Inc) has been awarded a five-year grant to promote anti-tobacco education and activities in both Erie and Niagara counties. It is expected that annual projected grant funding, provided by the New York State Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco Control, will total close to $2 million over the life of the grant. 

“The purpose of these grants is to foster environments supportive of policies that reinforce tobacco-free norms in communities throughout the state,” said Stan Martin, the Project Director at CAI of the local grant-funded project to be called the Tobacco-Free Coalition of Erie & Niagara Counties. “Our goal will be to create a movement which will bring together youth, community stakeholders and health experts who will be fully committed to the reduction of illnesses and deaths attributed to tobacco use or exposure to secondhand smoke.”

To do this, the Tobacco-Free Coalition of Erie & Niagara plans to implement strategies to:

  • Reduce the impact of retail tobacco marketing on youth and adults, especially those representing disparate populations
  • Increase opportunities for tobacco-free outdoor areas
  • Reduce secondhand smoke exposure in multi-unit housing

In addition, the Coalition plans to continue the support of Reality Check chapters in both counties that will contribute to the advancement and growth of a youth action movement to counter the marketing and advertising tactics of the tobacco industry, including flavored tobacco products and e-cigarettes (“vaping”) which has been the fastest growing trend among high-school-aged youth in the state and across the country. According to the state’s Bureau of Tobacco Control Prevalence of Current Smoking Among Adults in New York by County report in 2018, 17.8 percent of adults in Erie smoke, while 23.6 percent of adults in Niagara smoke, which ranks it amongst the highest rates in the entire state.1  

“We’ve made significant advances in terms of reducing the prevalence of tobacco use and there’s still a lot of work to do to address disparities especially in underserved and marginalized communities,” said Terry Alford, Project Manager at CAI.

For more information about the Tobacco-Free Coalition of Erie & Niagara and its upcoming activities, contact Stan Martin, Project Director, or visit

 1. Source: NYS BRFSS 2016


$2 Million to Reduce Teen Pregnancy among Females 15-19

BUFFALO, NY – The Erie County Department of Health, in partnership with CAI (Cicatelli Associates Inc.), has received a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) to facilitate and resource a community-driven plan to reduce teen pregnancy in nine zip code areas (14201, 14204, 14206, 14207, 14208, 14209, 14211, 14213, and 14215) in Buffalo, NY. This is the final year of funding for a five-year grant period.

With this grant, community youth, adults, community-based organizations, and other key stakeholders will work in partnership to reach 15,000 youth ages 15-19 with evidence-based programing in Buffalo Public Schools, after school programs, and in healthcare provider settings. Over the past four years, HOPE Buffalo - a project of CAI - has mobilized and engaged 43 diverse organizations in teen pregnancy prevention.

To date, our formal community-based partners include:

  • Buffalo Public School District
  • Confident Girl Mentoring Program, Inc.
  • Erie County Department of Health
  • Erie 1 BOCES
  • Native American Community Services of Erie and Niagara Counties
  • Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York
  • SS Columba Brigid
  • University of Washington
  • Via Evaluation

“Continued funding for the HOPE Buffalo project provides youth in Buffalo with access to comprehensive reproductive health education, health care providers and preventive services,” said Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale R. Burstein. “When youth have the tools to make informed decisions about their health and relationships, our community takes an important step towards improving public health.”

To achieve this long-term goal, HOPE Buffalo is employing three overarching strategies:

  1. Delivery of Evidence-Based Interventions (EBIs) in cooperation with multiple Implementing Organizations (IOs), including community-based organizations (CBOs), schools, clinics, and facilities serving homeless and runaway teens;
  2. Establishment of a referral and linkage network of youth-affirming health care providers and services that offer safe, supportive, and inclusive environments; and
  3. Community mobilization, including youth and community leadership.

“We are excited for the opportunity to continue the important work that we started four years ago,” said Stan Martin, Project Director, CAI. “CAI is committed to ensuring that the youth voice is embedded in our work. A key aspect of the HOPE Buffalo initiative involves establishing inclusive, safe, and supportive environments in which youth can obtain information, resources, and services related to adolescent reproductive health and wellness.”

To learn more about this exciting initiative, please visit or contact Stan Martin, Project Director, at (716) 246-3006 ext. 700 or via email at

CAI Funded as a National Training Center for HIV Prevention

New York, NY – Cicatelli Associates Inc. (CAI) has been awarded a national cooperative agreement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to operate a National HIV Classroom Learning Center (NCLC) with the mission of strengthening the country’s HIV prevention workforce and to accelerate progress towards ending the AIDS epidemic. Under this agreement, the largest ever funded for HIV capacity building prevention, CAI will conduct nationwide state of the art training programs in the hardest hit jurisdictions and design new HIV prevention and treatment curricula to continuously update the country’s HIV workforce.

The National HIV Classroom Learning Center will ensure the dissemination of knowledge, skills and competencies to implement public health strategies to end the HIV epidemic, such as trainings on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a medication that when taken daily, prevents new HIV infections. The NCLC, which began operations on April 1, 2019 supports the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “End the Epidemic – Plan for America” which seeks to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S. within 10 years. “This funding advances our mission to use the transformative power of education and research to foster a more aware, healthy, compassionate and equitable world,” said Barbara Cicatelli, CAI’s founder and CEO.

The National Classroom Learning Center will strengthen the capacity and improve the performance of CDC-funded staff at state and local health departments, community-based organizations (CBOs) and healthcare providers. CAI is well positioned to meet the needs of staff working in the field with offices in some of the communities hit hardest by HIV - Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York City. “We welcome the opportunity to work with the CDC in ensuring that those involved in the national response receive trainings in the most up to date HIV prevention and treatment strategies” said Dr. Tony Jimenez, Project Director and Principal Investigator for the Training Center. “We will use adult learning principles, collect quality data, and culturally appropriate and dynamic educational tools to design and conduct the courses for providers who serve people with HIV and populations at greatest risk for HIV infection”.

For more information, contact:  Tony Jimenez, MD at 212.594.7741 ext. 209 or