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Crary endowment helps fight lung cancer

stop smoking brochureHelping patients to quit smoking is one of the top priorities for Marshfield Clinic providers.

In addition to other health issues, smoking dramatically increases the likelihood of developing lung cancer. 

New resources to assist patients in their quest to quit smoking are now available, thanks to an endowment created by a grateful family member of a patient treated for lung cancer at Marshfield Clinic. The endowment, called the Elizabeth A. Crary Fund in memory of Thomas H. Crary, is held at the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation in Michigan. 

Each year, Marshfield Clinic receives a distribution from the Crary Fund for lung cancer research and patient care. A committee that includes Marshfield Clinic oncology staff, health educators, a volunteer who lost a loved one to lung cancer and others meets regularly to identify the best uses for the funds. Assisting patients with tobacco cessation was quickly identified as a need.

Funds were used to pay for publication of a booklet called "Why Do You Smoke?" This booklet helps smokers assess their smoking habits and, based on that assessment, consider ways to reduce or eliminate entirely the use of tobacco products. More than 9,000 copies have already been distributed throughout the Marshfield Clinic system, at health fairs and through other locations, such as the VA Hospital in Tomah.

In 2013, an audio version of "Why Do You Smoke?" was created. The narrator, Connie Hicks of Fifield, Wisconsin, is the volunteer on the Crary Lung Cancer Committee who lost a loved one to lung cancer. 

"With the loss of my sister, Marian and companion fiancé, Ed Hanson, I have seen first-hand the harmful, tragic, and heartbreaking effects of smoking in loved ones who developed lung cancer, courageously endured treatments and then sadly lost the battle to this dreaded disease," she said. "I hope these materials will help others to quit smoking so they may minimize their chances of developing lung cancer."

The Crary Fund has also provided funding for Jennifer Michels, Ph.D., a Marshfield Clinic clinical psychologist, to receive training in "motivational interviewing." This positive communication style helps patients identify wellness goals and establish solutions that will work best for them through supportive guidance from their provider.

Motivational interviewing works by activating patients' own motivation for change. In addition to using these skills with her patients, Dr. Michels is also training medical students and residents to use the technique with patients they see in the primary care setting.

For information on how your gifts can assist Marshfield Clinic in providing high-quality accessible patient care, medical research or education, please contact the Development Department at 1-800-858-5220 or visit