When it comes to Pam Buffington Redmon’s passion to control tobacco, it’s personal.
Two weeks before her 1985 graduation from Clemson’s School of Nursing, Redmon received a call that no daughter wants to receive. Her father, a longtime smoker, was being rushed to the hospital and would need open heart surgery. He survived, but struggled with heart issues throughout his life.
After graduating from Clemson, Redmon began work as a critical and coronary care nurse in Greenwood then continued her career as a cardiac rehab specialist and clinical research nurse in Ohio. In many of her cases, she saw her father’s health story — smoking that led to health struggles — replicated in the lives of her patients.
So when she decided to enter the next phase of her career, she earned a master’s degree in public health from Emory University and embarked on a mission to impact health by working to control the use of tobacco.
Redmon first served as a staff member, then later executive director,
of Emory’s Tobacco Technical Assistance Consortium, which provided tobacco-control training and technical support to national, state and local organizations and foundations.
She then became executive director of the Global Health Institute– China Tobacco Control Program, a Gates Foundation initiative at Emory that is developing tobacco control and prevention initiatives, including smoke-free policies and mobile health interventions, in 17 Chinese cities with populations equivalent to U.S. states.
She also serves as administrative director for the Tobacco Centers for Regulatory Science at the Georgia State University School of Public Health. The center focuses on understanding the human and economic factors that contribute to decision-making regarding the use of tobacco products.
“Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in the U.S. and around the world, and decreasing tobacco use reduces the health, social, environmental and economic burdens it creates for individuals and communities,” she said.
Redmon and her husband, Kevin, a 1985 Clemson computer engineering graduate, are also playing an important role in the life of their alma mater by joining together to fund the Kevin and Pam Redmon Class of 1985 Annual Scholarships. Both first-generation college students themselves, the scholarship will be given to first-generation students in the School of Nursing or College of Engineering and Science.