Western New York Public Health Alliance – Brain Health Series: Marijuana

Written by on May 20, 2019

Press Release:

On Tuesday June 11th, the Western New York Public Health Alliance, the New York State Public Health Association and the Health Foundation of Western and Central New York will be sponsoring a symposium on brain health with a focus on marijuana. This symposium will be held at Holiday Valley Resort Lodge in the Fairway room in Ellicottville New York from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

This event will be free of charge and is open to the public. A free lunch is included with your registration for the event. People can register at eventbrite.com with the link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/cannabis-symposium-the-public-health-perspective-tickets-61687538087. Registration is required for this event and is only open to the first 130 people who register. The deadline for registrations is Friday June 7th. If you have questions about this symposium, please contact Kate Ebersole at (716) 499-0963 or at kate.ebersole3@ gmail.com. The speakers for this event are Dr. Lorraine Collins PhD, Cheryl Sbarra Esq., and Elyse Contrares MPH.

Dr. Collins is the is the Associate Dean for Research and a Professor of Community Health and Health Behavior at the University at Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions. In June 2016, Dr. Collins was appointed to a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s ad hoc committee that reviewed the health effects of cannabis. In 2017, the committee published a consensus report entitled, The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research Agenda, which continues to serve as a definitive overview of cannabis and health. In August 2018, Dr. Collins was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo as one of 20 members of a workgroup to draft legislation for a regulated adult-use marijuana program in New York State. The title of her presentation is” Adventures in Policy Making: New York State’s Regulation of Adult’s Use of Cannabis”.

Cheryl Sbarra, Esq., is the Director of Policy and Law and the Senior Staff Attorney the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards. She provides technical assistance, policy guidance and legal education to the 351 local boards of health, all of whom have the legal authority to enact local public health laws. She is a member of the state’s Cannabis Control Commission’s Smoking Committee which is charged with providing guidance on whether to permit social consumption establishments for adult-use cannabis. She is the lead author of a local regulation template for the safe and sanitary operation of cannabis establishments and cannabis sales, and of a local regulation template for the safe and sanitary sale of CBD.

Elyse Contreras, MPH, is the Manager of the Marijuana Health Monitoring and Research Program at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. As the state’s marijuana health epidemiologist, Elyse leads the program that is required to monitor the emerging health effects associated with marijuana and changes in marijuana use pattern. She has been part of the program since its inception in 2014. Elyse is part of several marijuana-related committees and workgroups that aim to use scientific evidence and data to inform public health education, youth prevention and policy regarding marijuana use. Her presentation title is “Blazing the Trail: Marijuana & Public Health in Colorado”.

The Western New York Public Health Alliance (WNYPHA) is a not-for-profit organization comprised of the Health Commissioners/Public Health Directors and other community public health leaders from the eight counties of Western New York. Their mission is to support collaboration across WNY to further public health initiatives and priorities. As part of this mission, the WNYPHA works to provide health education and information to prevent disease and improve population health. For more information on this article or the WNYPHA, please contact Christine Schuyler, Public Health Director for Chautauqua County at 716-753-4590 or Lori Ballengee, Public Health Director for Allegany County at 585-268-9250.

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