The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

5023.0: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 9:24 AM

Abstract #74779

Impact of a health-educator driven environmental assessment survey as a tool to improve public housing standards and minimize environmental triggers of respiratory illness

M. Patricia Perkins, MS, MPH, Health Education/Community Health Works/RHORC, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Ave HSS 301, San Francisco, CA 94132, (415) 405-0777,, Karen Cohn, MS, CIH, Occupational and Environmental Health Section, Children’s Environmental Health Promotion Program, San Francisco Department of Public Health, 1390 Market Street, #230, San Francisco, CA 94102, and Vicki Legion, Community Health Works of SF/YES WE CAN, San Francisco State University, Department of Health Education, 1600 Holloway Ave, San Francisco, CA 94132.

Mold is a known trigger for a variety of respiratory illnesses. In cities with older housing stock and in particularly damp climates such as the San Francisco Bay Area, mold represents a major trigger for both allergies and asthma exacerbations. Our program, YES WE CAN (YWC) Urban Asthma Partnership, is based at a major state university, but works as a multi-pronged initiative championing the needs of pediatric asthma patients. YWC has worked closely with several local County agencies and with the County Department of Public Health (DPH) to develop community health worker (CHW)/promotora-administered social case management services and use of environmental assessment tools. The latter are now linked with: (1) letters from clinicians alerting public housing authority of need for environmental remediation; (2) written requests for reasonable accommodations or re-location to local County housing authority; and as (3) illustrative case studies in inter-disciplinary activities of the DPH and local building inspectors.

Three successful examples of these surveys will be presented, ones resulting in environmental improvements, family re-location, and improved patient outcomes. Interventions were conducted in SF’s County hospital and a large federally qualified community clinic. Each serves largely medically indigent children and families; one setting serves predominately mono-lingual Spanish speakers and their families; and 65% of these families live in public sector housing or other substandard units such as single room occupancy hotels. Design and implementation of this survey will be explored, along with descriptions of early successes and recent pitfalls in implementation and linkages to broader housing remediation efforts.

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Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Spotlight on Local Environmental Health Issues

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA