Professional Education

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June 2021 Smokefree SC Summit: People & Policies to End Youth Vaping

From Epidemic to Pandemic - The Role of Mental Health in Teen Vaping


Krysten Isaac Peairs
Group Management Director – Tobacco Control Programs, Rescue Agency


Krysten has been a Change Agent with the Rescue Agency since 2016. She has a diverse background working in E-Commerce with Fortune 500 companies & the Las Vegas hospitality industry. Krysten since found her passion in public health & substance misuse. As a part of the Rescue Agency, Krysten leads a team that supports State & Local clients and constantly works to inspire and cultivate the most powerful behavior changes possible.

Young People Helping Each Other Quit – This is Quitting Text Program

Megan Jacobs, MPH
Managing Director of Product Innovations, Truth Initiative


Megan led the modernization of the now 11-year-old BecomeAnEX® platform and currently oversees its
day-to-day management, as well as the development of the EX® Program enterprise product. Most recently, Jacobs designed the quit-vaping program This is Quitting (TIQ) for teens and young adults. She works across departments to integrate TIQ into the truth® campaign. Megan earned a bachelor’s degree in English and French from the University of Michigan, a master’s degree in public health communication and marketing from George Washington University and certificates in product management and design thinking. She teaches Health Product Development at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, where she holds leadership roles on several alumni groups.

PANEL DISCUSSION: Perspectives from a Pediatrician & Behavioral Health Specialist


Donna White, LPCS, LPC, LAC, CS, CPS/P
Program Administrator - Adolescent and Prevention Services, The Charleston Center


Donna has been a part of The Charleston Center since 2011 and is responsible for providing clinical/administrative supervision to counselors, and is in charge of daily operations (budgeting, staffing, data collection of trends), and program development (auditing, review of quarterly and yearly goals, marketing). She is also responsible for monitoring of grants/grant writing and community engagement. As a licensed counselor, Donna has experience in treating a wide range of issues and disorders and specialize in the treatment of: anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, stress management, and adjustment disorders. Donna is also a volunteer presenter for the Smokefree SC Vape Talk program.


Ranya Chakra, M.D.
General Pediatrician, Atrium Health Levine Children's Rock Hill Pediatric Associates


Dr. Chakra is a pediatrician who cares for children, teens and their families. She has expertise in helping children and teens with obesity, mental health issues and substance use – including vaping. Dr. Chakra serves as site coordinator for the Quality through Technology and Innovation in Pediatrics program. She is also the immunization liaison for the American Academy of Pediatrics in South Carolina. She is board certified in pediatrics. Dr. Chakra received her medical degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and followed that with a residency at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Education for Parents: An Overview of Smokefree SC's Vape Talk Presentation


Megan Austin
Communications Coordinator, Smokefree SC


Megan Austin is the Communications Coordinator for Smokefree SC. Megan obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Public Health at the UofSC Arnold School of Public Health and is currently working toward her MPH and a Graduate Certificate in Health Communications. Megan has a strong interest in adolescent health and focused much of her undergraduate and now graduate work on youth and young adult vaping prevention. She has been an integral part in the development of Smokefree SC’s Vape Talk program, which aims to educate parents, providers, and other youth influencers on how to have “vape talks” with teens to persuade them not to vape.

The Status and Impact of Flavor Bans


Gustavo Torrez
Youth Advocacy Director, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids


Gustavo has been involved in the tobacco control movement for the past 19 years. He began his work in tobacco control as a youth advocate in California and continued his career in the field in Boston, where he was a Program Manager with Fenway Community Health and the National Network for LGBT Health Equity, one of the CDC-funded priority population networks. As a young adult, Gustavo served on Legacy’s National Speaker’s Bureau and National Activism Council, and in 2012 he was recognized for his efforts with a Trailblazers Award for outstanding and continuous leadership in the tobacco control movement by Legacy. 

Why Tobacco Retail Licensing is Important


Mark Meaney
Deputy Director - Commercial Tobacco Control Program, Public Health Law Center


Mark is the Deputy Director of Commercial Tobacco Control Law and Policy at the Public Health Law Center. Mark leads a team of attorneys working to support tobacco control policy change throughout the United States by providing legal technical assistance to public health professionals and advocates, developing resources on the most effective legal and policy measures to reduce the burden of disease and death caused by tobacco use in the United States, and providing strategic leadership around bold policy options to end the tobacco epidemic.

PANEL DISCUSSION: The Path to Policy Change in South Carolina


Clark Cooper, M.Ed, MA
Director of Student Administration, Lexington County School District One


Clark holds a B.S. in Biology Education from The Citadel and a Master of Arts in Business Education and a Master of Education in Educational Administration and Supervision from the University of South Carolina. He holds superintendent, secondary principal, secondary supervisor, biology and science certifications. He is a member of the South Carolina Association of School Administrators where he previously served as president of the Secondary Principals Division and was a SCASA Executive Committee Board Member. Cooper was named 2014–2015 Administrator of the Year by Lexington District One Education Office Professionals.



Irini Guda McCarthy
Project Director of the Care Transitions Intervention, Upper Midlands Rural Health Network


Irini obtained her B.S. in Public Health from the University of South Carolina and is currently employed by the Upper Midlands Rural Health Network as the Project Director of the Care Transitions Intervention. She is the Chair of several coalitions including the Lancaster County Health and Wellness Commission and Eat Smart Move More Lancaster County and was part of the team that successfully helped Lancaster county become the first 100% smoke-free county in South Carolina. Irini finds great joy and purpose in immersing herself into local communities and is a strong proponent of collaborative grassroots efforts, evidence-based research, and identifying solutions with an equity-based lens.




Beth Johnson
Government Relations Director - South Carolina, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network


Beth has been an employee of ACSCAN for 15 years and a volunteer advocate with them for the past 21 years. After graduating from Presbyterian College with a BS in Political Science, Beth began her career in field advocacy and fundraising, sharing the mission of the Society throughout SC’s rural Pee Dee region. As Government Relations Director since March of 2017, she works directly with local and state elected officials to support evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health program. Beth currently serves as Secretary on the Smokefree SC Board of Directors.

October 2020 - FDA and the Changing Tobacco Marketplace

A webinar for South Carolina Tobacco Control Stakeholders

The Real Cost - Tackling Teen Vaping

Kathleen Crosby
Director, Office of Health Communication and Education, FDA Center for Tobacco Products

Kathleen Crosby has over 30 years of senior-level marketing and advertising experience. During her tenure at the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, Ms. Crosby has successfully launched five award-winning public health campaigns including the flagship youth prevention effort, "The Real Cost."  This October 2020 webinar for SC Tobacco Control stakeholders provided an update on Electronic Nicotine Device (ENDs) trends, policies, and work the FDA is doing to battle the teen vaping epidemic touching specifically on the 2019 flavor ban and the FDA's "The Real Cost" campaign.