QuitDoc Expands Its Outreach in Marion County: Measure Up Marion!
June 12, 2015

One thing you can be sure of is that change will happen whether you ask for it or not. Well, we asked for it and were rewarded with an opportunity to expand our services regarding tobacco prevention and cessation in Marion County! More specifically, we are part of a group of local health and wellness organizations who worked for months to secure an award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through the Partnerships in Community Health (PICH) program.

This group, now called “Measure Up Marion” and led by the Heart of Florida Health Center, has been actively laying the groundwork throughout Marion County to accomplish the goals we set for improving our community’s health as related to healthy foods and beverages, connecting to medical professionals and resources, and reducing the number of tobacco users and overall exposure to second hand smoke throughout the county. In order to accomplish our part of the plan, QuitDoc has brought on two outstanding, local young professionals into the full-time positions made available through the PICH award. We’d like to introduce you to them.

Lauren Walter





Lauren Walter, an Ocala native, was already a part-time QuitDoc employee and oversaw our Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) program as the Coordinator. She also worked at the Boys & Girls Club of Marion County as the Education Director and helped to connect our organizations so that we could better serve the youth there. Lauren led an innovative and exciting year of SWAT activities using her background in Theater, and the SWAT youth really responded to her creativity and passion for the work. She is bringing that innovation and passion into her new role as a Community Outreach Specialist working on restaurants and bars and faith-based facilities and campuses in regards to tobacco free policies. Having worked at a popular, local restaurant chain for years, she also has insight into the local food culture. Glad to have you aboard, Lauren!

Sarah Damien is brand new to QuitDoc, but not to working in the Marion County community. Sarah, another Ocala native, comes to us from the City of Ocala Recreation and Parks and has also been active in the Chamber and Economic Partnership events for young professionals. She currently sits on the Board for Young Professionals of Ocala Service Committee as well as the Foundation Board for the Discovery Center in Ocala. During her time with Recreation and Parks, Sarah initiated many programs on her own time and spent countless hours making sure everything was running smoothly and to her high expectations. Recently, she was given oversight of an exciting new project to develop the historic Fort King site, to which she is still offering her expertise in her free time. For QuitDoc, Sarah will be in charge of the smoke free multi-unit housing and county parks initiatives as our second full time Community Outreach Specialist. Not surprisingly, learning that part of this job would involve working with the local parks systems piqued her interest, and we are so happy to have her join our team.  Welcome, Sarah!

Sarah Damien