Outreach workers spoke out of turn

Earlier this month comments were made by Steven Gallegos and Michael Olivares, Glendale Adventist Medical Center tobacco outreach workers, to the Glendale City Council and to the News-Press that are uncharacteristic of our approach to promoting community health. These outreach workers were not authorized to make these comments and they were not speaking on behalf of the hospital. In fact, our Tobacco Control Program team regards city leaders as key partners in the process of improving the health of the community. Councilman Ara Najarian and Councilwoman Laura Friedman have been active and supportive of Glendale Adventist’s outstanding cancer services for many years. And we know that they are in agreement as to the dangers of smoking.

Our tobacco outreach team is accustomed to speaking about tobacco control issues in a professional manner. It may be helpful to note that the two team members responsible for making the recent comments are also Glendale residents. They are passionate about tobacco control issues. Their passion got away from them and their communication did not reflect their roles as professional outreach workers representing the hospital.

Tobacco Control Program Director Martha Rivera is investigating the recent comments and the Community Services Department is taking steps to assure that future communication by our outreach workers is consistent with the fundamental principles of the tobacco control program. All of the outreach team members have been counseled regarding proper communication.

We regret the lack of professionalism displayed in these recent communications and assure the City Council and city residents that corrective actions are being implemented to prevent this from occurring in the future.

We look forward to continuing our long history of cooperatively working together with city leaders to improve the health of Glendale residents.

Bruce Nelson

Editor’s note: The writer is director of community services for Glendale Adventist Medical Center.

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