204023 Strengthening the capacity of public health nurses serving minority and low-income communities to better identify, manage, and prevent environmental health risks

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 11:10 AM

Stephanie Chalupka, EdD, PHNCNS-BC , Department of Nursing, Worcester State College, Worcester, MA
Children are more susceptible than adults to the potential impacts of environmental contaminants where they live, learn and play. They have disproportionately heavy exposures to environmental toxicants. In addition, they have unique vulnerabilities to environmental exposures attributable to behavioral factors, toxicokinetic patterns and critical windows of susceptibility which are not well understood. This session presents results of a two year project which aimed to build capacity in over 1,800 public health nurses and other health professionals serving low-income, immigrant/refugee and minority children who suffer disproportionately from the impacts of environmental contaminants in the 6 New England states. The project targeted public health nurses and other health care providers for low-income, immigrant/refugee and minority children, including community health centers, community health educators, school nurses, and emergency department staff. The training approach described in this session is directed toward empowerment of public health nurses and other health professionals to create safe environments for children through: 1.) active engagement, practice and policy changes, 2.) their work with parents, communities, and professional colleagues to proactively identify potential environmental hazards and sentinel illnesses, effectively utilize prevention and control strategies, provide information to patients and communities, make appropriate referrals, and demonstrate advocacy and risk communication in patient care and community level intervention with respect to the potential adverse effects of the environment on health. Selected examples of policy and individual practice changes resulting from this intervention will be presented as will recommendations for the use of effective stakeholder collaborations and the use of multi-dimensional, culturally-sensitive strategies to reach high-risk populations.

Learning Objectives:
1) Describe the unique susceptibility of children to environmental toxicants. 2) Identify at least two culturally-sensitive strategies in environmental risk communication. 3) Discuss the use of multi-dimensional strategies to reach high-risk populations to create a safer environment for children.

Keywords: Environmental Health, Children

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Principal Investigator: United States Department of Housing and Urban Development funded project "Healthy Homes for All: Improving Children's Health in Diverse Communities United States Department of Housing and Urban Development" Principal Investigator: United States Environmental Protection Agency funded: "Strengthening the Capacity of Public Health Nurses and Other Health Professionals Serving Minority and Low-Income Communities to Better Identify, Manage, and Prevent Environmental Health Risks" Author of over 40 publications in occupational and environmental health nursing including the AAOHN Core Curriculum in Environmental Health. Faculty appointment as a Visiting Scientist in Environmental Health at Harvard School of Public Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.