Children's Health Protection
2007 Children's Environmental Health Excellence Award Winners
This page provides details about winners of the 2007 Children’s Environmental Health Excellence Awards. For more information about the awards and details on the Children’s Environmental Health Champion Award winner, visit the 2007 Children's Environmental Health Excellence Awards page.
Argentine Society of Doctors for the Environment (AAMMA) on behalf of the International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE), Building Children’ s Environmental Health Capacity among Health Care Professionals in the Southern Cone Countries of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay, Buenos Aires, Argentina
The Argentine Society of Doctors for the Environment (AAMMA) , created in 1992, is a professional, scientific non-governmental organization working on advocacy, capacity building, education, and dissemination of environmental health issues. AAMMA is member of the Steering Committee of the International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE) (www.isde.org). Since 1998, AAMMA has been a member of the International Coordinating Board of the International Network for Children's Health, Environment and Safety (INCHES) a global network that works to raise awareness of health, environment, and children's safety. ISDE and INCHES have been granted “Consultative Status” with the World Health Organization (WHO).
Starting in 1999, AAMMA developed a strategy to address children’s environmental health (CEH) issues in Latin America. This strategy followed the goal of "Action in Partnership," from the third ministerial conference in London in 1999, to 1.) build alliances with professional/scientific NGOs and Health and Environment ministers in Argentina and South America (Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay); 2.) train health care providers (such as pediatricians); 3.) promote taking pediatric environmental history and establishing Children’s Environmental Health centers; and 4.) develop research, indicators, and a Children’s Environmental Health Profile for Argentina, among other actions. This has been achieved working with other partners, including professional organizations, environmental NGOs, decision makers, and the community. AAMMA’s work has resulted in a proactive, engaged, and sustained collaboration among the Argentine Society of Pediatrics (2001), the Secretary of Environment, the Ministry of Health and Environment of Argentina (2002) and other important sectors in the ongoing protection of children’s health from potential environmental hazards.
Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC) Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSU) Program
In 1998, the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC) began the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSU) Program through a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Shortly thereafter, EPA added its support to this important program. The primary goal of the PEHSU Program is to “enhance the pediatric environmental health (PEH) knowledge of pediatricians and other health care professionals”. With this emphasis on education of professionals, the foci of the program are education, consultation, and referral for children exposed to environmental hazards.
PEHSU program education activities have a preventive dimension that provides health professionals with didactic information and practical advice to share with colleagues and patients to reduce the exposure of children to environmental hazards. The PEHSU program thereby serves as an advocate to “identify and reduce environmental health threats to children, their families, and their communities”. The goal is to minimize and address the health effects to children and their families related to the exposure. The activities related to the goals and objectives of the PEHSU Program are conducted by more than 100 physicians and health professionals at 13 PEHSU sites located in North America. Experts in pediatrics, toxicology, occupational health, epidemiology, and other fields share their expertise to promote pediatric environmental health. The culmination of this level of expertise by each PEHSU site creates a network of Centers of Excellence that is a unique and valuable resource for all health professionals. In the 10-year life of the program, 100,000 health professionals have been trained on children’s environmental health issues. The PEHSU network is managed by the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics.
The Asthma Regional Council (ARC) of New England, a program of the Medical Foundation of Boston, Environmental Investments Project, Dorchester, MA
The Asthma Regional Council, a program of The Medical Foundation in Boston, is a coalition of Federal and state agencies that represent the health, environment, education and housing sectors working together to improve the environmental contributors to asthma across New England. Four years ago, ARC launched its Environmental Investments Project. By partnering with researchers, policy makers, governmental agencies, and health care sector representatives, ARC worked to encourage the health sector's adoption of best practices for managing asthma, with a particular focus on embedding home-based environmental trigger reduction programs within standard medical care. ARC produced policy papers, sponsored symposia with health insurers, and produced a unique business case for health payer decision makers to highlight the research demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of investing in home-based environmental assessment and education programs. As a result of these efforts, ARC collaborated with two large Medicaid Managed Care plans in Massachusetts that are now providing healthy homes inspections and services for their low-income patients with severe asthma. Over the coming year, ARC will provide technical assistance to the other New England states' asthma programs on how to replicate these programs and encourage insurance payment for these evidence-based services for children at highest risk of asthma exacerbations.
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Pediatric Residency Program, Pediatric Environmental Health Curriculum, Pittsburgh, PA
In spring 2006, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh began a pediatric environmental health curriculum for its pediatric residents. The program’s goal is to provide a basic understanding of pediatric environmental health and to enable health professionals to address children’s environmental health issues. The aim is to make pediatric environmental health a permanent, integral part of residency. The Pediatric Environmental Health Curriculum: 1.) trains residents to screen for significant environmental exposures and offer anticipatory guidance on avoiding those exposures; 2.) trains residents to use environmental interventions in the management of chronic diseases, especially asthma; 3.) includes all providers in the hospital community, including faculty, students, and allied professionals such as nurses, respiratory therapists, and pharmacists; 4.) makes environmental medicine a standard part of the care provided by the institution; and 5.) trains health care trainees to become advocates for a healthier environment for children. The program has reached 90 residents and likely between 200-300 other practitioners in a range of specialties. Residents now report paying greater attention to environmental triggers of illness, especially asthma. Greater resident advocacy on environmental health issues, such as environmental tobacco smoke, is now being emphasized, increasing the direct impact on children’s health.
Los Angeles Unified School District Office of Environmental Health and Safety, Safe School Inspection Program, Los Angeles, CA
Schools must provide a learning environment that is safe and health-protective, and this requires the commitment and active participation of school administrators, plant managers, teachers, and parents. Central to this effort is an understanding of the health and safety standards to which schools must comply, periodic assessments of compliance, and the implementation of corrective actions where appropriate.
In 2001, the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS) initiated routine health and safety inspections in all schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). The Safe School Inspection Program is designed to assess compliance with Federal, state, and local regulations dealing with school health and safety. The scope of the inspections addresses 14 subject areas: asbestos management; campus security; chemical safety; emergency preparedness; facilities and equipment maintenance; fire/life safety; indoor environment; injury and illness prevention; lead management; miscellaneous; off-site risks; pest management; traffic and pedestrian safety; and violence prevention. Following each inspection, a Corrective Action Notice is issued to the principal indicating actions necessary to achieve compliance. The school is also assigned a scorecard rating of “Good”, “Fair”, or “Poor” based on the inspection findings.
The scorecard rating system allows for tracking progress from one year to the next. For example, in the first year of implementation (2001) about 35 percent of Los Angeles area schools received a compliance rating of “Poor”. This finding represented a baseline, and today, that percentage has been reduced to less than 1 percent. Inspectors who started in 2001 can see an appreciable physical difference in the quality of school facilities today.
The Safe School Inspection Program has been shared with others, most notably, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In fact, EPA’s Healthy School Environments Assessment Tool (Healthy SEAT) is largely based on the LAUSD program.
Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Magee Environmental Health Initiatives, Pittsburgh, PA
Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is a leader in the field of Obstetrics with more than 9,000 births per year. With support from the Heinz endowments, Magee has developed an Environmental Health Initiatives education plan with the goal of providing continuing education and support for nursing, pediatric, and obstetric providers in children’s environmental health. The aim is to train them to educate childbearing families about the environmental factors that can impact the health of fetuses, newborns, and young children. The first phase of the education plan included educating the Magee "green team", representatives from all hospital departments providing leadership for the project, in the science of environmental health. This on-going education includes grand rounds, round tables, workshops, and conferences. The green team was then able to educate hospital administration about how environmental education relates to best practices in healthcare. A plan was developed to teach childbearing families simple ways to decrease environmental health risks to their children. Prenatal education programs include environmental education and all families are given information and resources after a baby is born on how to raise a healthy child by enacting a plan for preventive health that includes a healthier home environment. The hospital plans to share this award-winning model with other hospitals and providers nationwide.
National Center for Healthy Housing, Pediatric Environmental Home Assessment On-Line Training, Columbia, MD
Nurses visit homes for many reasons including for pre-natal or post-partum visits, and asthma or lead case management. Thousands of these visits occur every year in the homes of some of the nation’s most vulnerable families. In February 2007, the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) developed the Pediatric Environmental Home Assessment on-line training to prepare nurses to more effectively identify and respond to children’s environmental health threats. Nurses received 1.5 continuing education units and a healthy homes incentive of a carbon monoxide alarm or a lead dust wipe kit for completing the training.
By July 2007, more than 250 nurses completed the training. Eight-eight percent of the nurses reported that they could put the concepts into practice right away. Several months after the training, 52 nurses responded to an NCHH survey that found that:
- 100 percent of participants believed they could recognize potential environmental hazards and illnesses;
- 98 percent believed they could complete a pediatric environmental health history; and
- 98 percent believed they could recommend a course of preventative action or make appropriate referrals for conditions.
The assessment tool will be an integral part of the Healthy Homes Inspection Tool sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Northwest Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU), University of Washington, Seattle, WA
The University of Washington Northwest Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (NW PEHSU) is a leader in building health professional capacity in academic, public health, and community circles.
NW PEHSU is committed to ensuring that the current generation of trainees is equipped to address pediatric environmental health. Activities include integration of pediatric environmental health topics into the UW pediatric residency core curriculum, initiation of a pediatric environmental health residency conference series, creation of a Web CME module on pesticides and child health, and intensive mentorship of medical students, graduate students, and fellows.
NW PEHSU offers training opportunities in multiple formats and locations for public health professionals and communities. Examples include: in-service trainings on pediatric environmental health topics at community clinics caring for underserved populations; workshops on pesticide and child health at national farmworker conferences; curriculum development and training, in Spanish and English, on pesticides and child health for community health education workers; and a successful continuing medical education course. In addition, NW PEHSU has collaborated effectively with state and local health departments at community meetings to provide risk counseling and communication services to the public.
Procter & Gamble Company Cincinnati, OH
Procter & Gamble's philanthropic cause is to help children in need through a program called P&G Live, Learn, and ThriveTM. While this cause comes to life through dozens of programs around the world, the global signature program is the Children's Safe Drinking Water Program. The goal of this program is to reduce the sickness and death that occurs from drinking contaminated drinking water in the developing world. The program focuses on the long-term, not-for-profit provision of P&G's PUR Purifier of Water, a product developed in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. PUR is an easy to use, household-level technology that treats heavily contaminated drinking water so it meets World Health Organization standards for safe drinking water. The PUR packets have been provided in more than 30 countries around the world during emergency situations, natural disasters, and social market settings. More than 70 million packets have been provided, enough to treat 700 million liters of safe drinking water, prevent an estimated 29 million days of diarrhea, and save more than 3,800 lives. P&G and their safe drinking water partners recently stepped up their commitment to this program by committing to providing 2 billion liters of safe drinking water thereby saving an estimated 10,000 lives and preventing 80 million days of diarrhea between now and 2012.
US Environmental Protection Agency, National Exposure Research Laboratory, Research Triangle Park, NC
A team of scientists from and associated with the EPA’s Office of Research and Development recently compiled a body of research that greatly improves our understanding of children’s real-world exposures. This team of scientists has dedicated its research efforts to the complex issues associated with the diverse ways that children come into contact with chemicals: at what concentrations; from what sources; and where, when, how often, and why contact occurs in everyday environments (e.g., homes and day care centers). This research program collects multimedia samples and uses multiresidue analysis methods in a systematic approach to advance our understanding of young children’ s aggregate and cumulative exposures to chemicals, measurements that are vital for human health risk assessments. By addressing critical knowledge gaps in our understanding of children’s real-world exposures by all relevant pathways and the factors that affect those exposures, these researchers are creating a better understanding of the exposure risks and potential health implications faced by this and future generations of children. This better understanding will, in turn, reduce the uncertainty in children’s exposure assessments, produce more accurate exposure and risk assessments, and lead to more effective risk reduction measures and the development of education strategies more applicable to children and their caregivers.