Unsung Heroes' Award
2019 C. Everett Koop Unsung Heroes Award
Daniel "Dan" Fitzgerald first became involved in tobacco control at the age of 12. His passion for this work stems from a desire to ultimately see the first tobacco-free generation within his lifetime. He started a youth-based activism organization, which has since been rebranded as the Chariho Youth Task Force and mobilizes middle school, high school and college-aged students. Dan has continued his work with the task force, serving as its Executive Director, and has coordinated several projects, campaigns, and youth-led tobacco prevention and advocacy events. For his dedication, initiative and advocacy in efforts to improve the health of Rhode Islanders and end youth tobacco use - in 2013 the Rhode Island Department of Health recognized Dan as the first RI Youth Advocate of the Year.
Dan continued his tobacco control work as an activism fellow through the Truth Initiative. Dan is still a part of this tobacco-focused organization as a mentor and trainer. Through this role, he has had the opportunity to travel across the country to engage and educate thousands of youth advocates and other audiences about how to combat youth tobacco use and the e-cigarette epidemic. From his volunteer training, professional training and passion for tobacco control – Dan has become a true leader and content expert on combatting the youth e-cigarette epidemic.
Currently, Dan serves as the Network Coordinator for Tobacco Free RI (TFRI), a state-wide network made up of organizations and individuals working to reducing tobacco use. He has been instrumental in increasing the number of partner organizations affiliated with TFRI, works on public education products and policy change strategies, and mobilizes grassroots support for state and local policy initiatives. He also continues to engage and train youth from across the state to become leaders on tobacco control efforts. Through his leadership and tutelage, youth advisory board members have been able to attend several national conferences and have had the opportunity to present on e-cigarettes. Dan believes strongly in the power of youth and knows firsthand what a single voice can accomplish. His energy and enthusiasm will no doubt continue to help him in combatting tobacco and e-cigarette use.
Page Last Updated: June 17, 2019
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