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EPA recognizes Rocky Mountain Region Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit

Release Date: 4/21/2005
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      Program is one of 15 nationwide to receive EPA’s First Annual Children’s Environmental Health Excellence Award

Denver -- EPA Acting Administrator Stephen Johnson recognized the Rocky Mountain Region Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (RMR PEHSU) for leadership in protecting children from environmental health risks in a ceremony today in Washington D.C.

RMR PEHSU is a partnership between Denver Health, Denver Health’s Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center, and National Jewish Hospital. The program serves a six-state region, including Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

Under the leadership of director Mark E. Anderson, M.D., RMR PEHSU helps health professionals identify, prevent and reduce environmental health threats to children by developing extensive outreach, education and training materials and coordinating numerous children’s health events.

Alicia Aalto, Region 8’s Children’s Environmental Health coordinator, cites Dr. Anderson as a critical factor in RMR PEHSU’s success. “Mark is a dynamic and tireless advocate for children’s health issues. Under his leadership, RMR PEHSU’s work to develop the awareness of health risks is improving the health of children across our region,” she said.

Dr. Anderson is a general staff pediatrician at the Kid’s Care Clinic located on the Denver Health Medical Center campus and is also an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. His clinical activities include pediatric practice, supervision of eight general pediatrics residents, and work in the campus urgent care clinic and the pediatrics ward and ICU at Denver Health. Dr. Anderson’s research interests include environmental precipitants of asthma, access to care and health care disparities, medical education and the effects of environmental tobacco smoke exposure on infants and children.

RMR PEHSU provides children, parents, teachers and health care professionals with reliable and useful information about pediatric environmental hazards such as mold, cigarette smoke, allergens, sun exposure, pesticides, air and water pollutants, radon, household chemicals, and many more. RMR PEHSU also plays a critical role in fostering communication between existing medical resources to improve pediatric healthcare.

RMR PEHSU fact sheets and online presentations on issues are used extensively by health care providers and the public. In one example, RMR PEHSU worked with the State of Colorado’s Lead Program to develop a presentation module to raise awareness of environmental lead exposure and increase rates of lead screening among children. The well-received module is being used by pediatricians across the nation.

RMR PEHSU is also a leader in developing outreach materials for lesser-known health risks. After following through on several calls from concerned citizens and reviewing available literature on recycled tires, the program developed a case report titled “Are there health risks to children exposed to recycled crumb tires on Playgrounds?”

RMR PEHSU has also assisted EPA Region 8 as a co-host of several successful and well-attended Children’s Environmental Health Summits over the past two years. These conferences encourage coordination and information sharing across government agencies, health organizations, health care providers, educators and the general public in addressing children’s environmental health issues. Participants in these events include public employees, physicians, nurses, toxicologists, university professors, research scientists, school administrators, lawyers, students, environmental and health professionals.
    For more information about EPA’s Children’s Health Excellence Award: http://yosemite.epa.gov/ochp/ochpweb.nsf/content/2005_CEH_Awards.htm

    For more on RMR PEHSU: visit www.rmrpehsu.org
    Also: http://www.denverhealth.org/PoisonCenter/

    In addition to the Excellence Awards, EPA has also recognized the organizations and projects below as Children’s Environmental Health Recognition Award winners. Please contact Alicia Aalto at 303.312.6967 for more information about these projects.

    Kids Care About Clean Indoor Air, Montana State University Extension Services, Bozeman, Mont.
    Native AIR (Asthma, Intervention, Reduction), Montana State University Extension, Bozeman, Mont.
    Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Lead Poisoning Prevention Building Mural, Denver, Colo.
    Montana Children’s Environmental Health Network, Helena, Mont.
    Lewis and Clark Pollution Prevention Collector Cards, Bozeman, Mont.
    Tribal Effective Asthma Management (TEAM) Project, Denver, Colo.
    Montana Children's Environmental Health Network, Helena, Mont.