“One of my passions is health policy and health advocacy,” Scullark said. “Getting people access to care to prevent chronic disease and controlling chronic disease have always been passions of mine.”
As a Health Promotions Specialist for the American Lung Association in Arkansas, Scullark provides technical assistance with policy writing in addition to providing education and resources on tobacco cessation products.
Currently, she is helping to implement a new policy from the United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD) banning smoking in public housing nationwide. The HUD rule was published on December 5, 2016, and became effective on February 3, 2017.The policy goes into effect July 31. It states that no smoking will be allowed within 25 feet of any public housing or inside any buildings.
“I’ve been traveling all around, meeting with residents, informing them about the policy and educating them on tobacco cessation,” Scullark said. “I jump in where I am assigned. Our big focus is tobacco.”
The federal ban will save public agencies an estimated $153 million in annual costs related to health care due to secondhand smoke, as well as repairs and losses from preventable fires, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Along with promoting the health benefits of not smoking, HUD hopes the new rule will also “create healthy environments that encourage people who smoke to quit or attempt to reduce smoking,” the agency said.
Scullark is a self-described “tobacco wonk,” and maintaining a working knowledge on Arkansas’ tobacco regulations is an integral part of her position. She also stays in close contact with the Americans for Non-Smokers Rights.
“I have to understand how to draft a policy, what a policy means,” she said. “Just helping people in the community decipher what it means to be smoke-free, what it means to be tobacco-free.”
For Scullark, health education and promotion are deep issues of concern. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was a teenager. From that point forward, she was always interested in disease and “helping people get better.”
“I helped her with understanding what it meant to have breast cancer. We grocery shopped together and I gave input on the right foods to eat to keep herself healthy and active at that time. She succumbed to her disease,” Scullark said. “That’s what sparked my interest in public health and health in general.”
Scullark graduated from Hendrix College with a degree in biology. At one time she considered a career in medicine but was more interested in public policy by the time she graduated from the Clinton School. She says she still uses skills learned from the Clinton School in her current job.
“We did a project in Dr. Standerfer’s class and I was the lead facilitator for a couple of our groups,” Scullark said. “Going out in the public, I’m now more comfortable with public speaking and giving people a chance to give me feedback, whether it’s positive or negative. I can definitely see how those skills I learned in her classes translate into what I’m doing professionally now.”
Her field service experience at the Clinton School included work with the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance (Practicum), evaluating the impact of the Arkansas Meals for Achievement Pilot Grant program. Her capstone project evaluated how religion fosters community philanthropy.
Her International Public Service Project took her to Liverpool, Australia, to work with the Center for Health Equity Training, Research, and Evaluation (CHETRE) to create an evaluation plan to analyze the impact and results of CHETRE’s Health Impact Assessment (HIA) on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement for Australia.
Scullark originally chose the Clinton School because of her interest in public service and desire for career development.
“I have friends who completed the Clinton School before me. I knew you could do so much with it. I went into it with the mindset of being open. I knew I wanted to advance my career.”