Mono County

Surveys Unite!

Collaboration unites people, ideas, and surveys. Yes. You read that right. Surveys. Mono County’s Tobacco Education Program (TEP) has been working with their Local Oral Health Program to deliver a tobacco cessation survey to dental providers. Their collaboration is just one example of the many that already exist and are forming. I’ve had the privilege of interviewing Lauren Kemmeter, Project Director of Mono County’s TEP.

To get to know more about their collaboration, I wanted to understand who they are first.

We’re a very small health department, and, that’s how it is in a lot of the rural and smaller health departments. There’s like 1 or 2 folks running the show,” Lauren said, referring to the minimal staff for Mono County’s TEP.

The size of their program staff may be small, but they are no strangers to big victories. In 1997, Mono County had more voluntary smoke-free bars than anywhere else in the nation and even convinced Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort to drop its Marlboro Course Sponsorship in 1993. In recent years, they also collaborated with the Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fairgrounds (which is comprised of Alpine, Inyo, and Mono) to go smoke-free and eliminate tobacco advertisements.

Mono County
Mono County, California

Lately, Lauren and her team have been collaborating with the Local Oral Health Program on an activity in their workplan. Among the many activities, one of them was to provide cessation support to dental providers in the County. To inform their activity, they developed a survey together, which they’ve adapted from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Oral Health Technical Assistance Program. The survey, according to Lauren, was used to collect “baseline measurement of cessation awareness and understanding from the dental office staff.”

Their hope is to use the baseline data to inform how they could educate and train the dental staff on providing tobacco quit support to their patients. Lauren then emailed me to help them format their survey on SurveyAnalytics. Eager to help, I scheduled a Zoom meeting and walked them through the basics of creating questions and response choices on the platform. I also provided feedback on their revised questionnaire.

Lauren said, “SurveyAnalytics is huge because my Local Oral Health colleagues were doing surveys on paper, and it’s just a little more’s been a huge help to our small, little staff." Before then, their department was primarily using paper to conduct surveys. Now that the survey is programmed on SurveyAnalytics, they’re able to use those features to administer the survey on a handheld device via the Survey Pocket app and even generate tables and statistics to better visualize and describe their findings. It will help them tremendously as they begin to engage dental practices in their work to help patients quit tobacco. This is not all that they’re planning to work on together.

Lauren and her team would like to work with the Oral Health program to make their measuring of success more data-driven. She said, “I think we’re both thinking about more critical ways to collect data and how to measure our success.” They also would like to look at different data sources together and see where they could overlap to support one another in future survey activities.

After this interview, it made me realize besides the apparent connection between tobacco and oral health, the not-so-obvious connection here is that the survey united their tobacco and oral health efforts. What really kickstarted their collaboration was the mutual interest in surveying dental providers. But they then discovered that to make their collaboration even more worthwhile, they would have to brainstorm a way to deliver that survey more efficiently. Now, they both have a powerful tool that they can use in the future to collect and analyze their survey data.

Lastly, I think their collaboration also reinforces the momentum that has been going on across California. Local lead agencies, competitive grantees, and statewide projects have been working together with different partners to put a dire end to our tobacco epidemic. Their initiative to reach out to us makes our work more collaborative as well. “Rural public health and rural tobacco control is difficult to work, and we’re grateful to TCEC for supporting us and helping us talk through problems or ideas or collaborations,” Lauren said.

Whether implementing a survey on SurveyAnalytics or being another soundboard for your survey ideas, TCEC is always here to provide any tips that your project or your partner agency may just need to more accurately and reliably measure success. We love surveys, so please don’t hesitate to contact us at to help make your data collaboration even more effective!

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