Faces in Focus

The relationship between members of the Breathe California family and community members, educators, health care providers, businesses and those in the public health and environmental fields is a special one. It allows us to bring quality services, needed information and strong support to those who need them and to advocate in a responsible and passionate way for policy changes which promote a healthier California.

Breathe California is enlivened by individuals and organizations who volunteer in our office or at health fairs, participate in our workshops, classes or annual fundraising events, sponsor our events and programs, donate generously to support the important work that we do and partner with us to provide services or education to the community.

Please take a moment to learn about just a few of the people who have given Breathe California our voice through sharing their time, enthusiasm, expertise and resources...

Mary-Michael Watts – School District Nurse Image

For eleven years, Breathe California has been partnering with the San Francisco Unified School District School Health Programs Department on their Tobacco Use Prevention and Education (“TUPE”) Program. When collaborating with the District, we often build relationships with School Nurses in order to access and best serve the student body. Breathe California’s Tobacco Services Coordinator Michela Christensen has been working alongside Mary-Michael Watts, RN, PHN and Nurse at Ida B. Wells High School in San Francisco for the last few years.

Breathe California has proven to be a remarkably helpful resource in educating our high school students about the harmful effects of tobacco use.

As a nurse, I have worked at numerous high schools with undeserved and at-risk youth. These kids are often involved in risky behaviors and can sometimes be resistant to educators or people they perceive to be in roles of authority.

I really appreciate how Michela is able to connect to our students. She shares her own personal experiences which helps make her presentations very real to them. Her knowledge is extensive, but her delivery does not overwhelm them.

We have been fortunate to have Breathe California attend numerous Health Fairs. Their table exhibit is very popular, especially their “tar jar” and the cross section of actual human lungs – one from a non-smoker and one from a smoker with stage 3 emphysema. This really makes an impression!

Some of our students didn’t have a clear idea why cigarettes were so bad for their health and have learned a lot about tobacco use from Breathe California. Now they know that cigarettes do so much more than “just cause cancer.”

I think that I can speak for all of the nurses in the San Francisco Unified School District when I say that Breathe California has been an invaluable resource for our youth, in addressing this global public health concern. It would be wonderful if Breathe California were available to each and every elementary, middle and high school.

Thank you for all you do!

Mary-Michael Watts, RN, PHN
School District Nurse

Page last modified on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 11:29:51pm UTC