227345 Improving respiratory health outcomes for socio-economic disadvantaged populations through education and outreach to clinicians and public health professionals on environmental contributors to illness

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 10:30 AM - 10:50 AM

Paula Schenck, MPH , Center for Indoor Environments and Health, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT
Robert DeBernardo, MD MBA MPH , Center for Indoor Environments and Health, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT
Susan Conrath, Ph D, MPH , US Environmental Protection Agency, US Public Health Service, Washington, DC
Laura Kolb, MPH , Office of Radiation and Indoor Air, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
William A. Turner, MA , Turner Building Science, Harrison, ME
Eileen Storey, MD, MPH , Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Morgantown, WV
Asthma prevalence is higher in poor populations (Moorman et al., 2007). Exposures to mold/ moisture are concerning because dampness is associated with respiratory symptoms and asthma development (Sahakian et al., 2008), and significant health costs are associated with moisture exposure in homes (Mudarri and Fisk, 2007). Students and teachers in poor schools are at particular risk. Once aware, health directors and clinicians who influence environmental intervention play pivotal roles in this opportunity for occupational and environmental justice. Health directors who intervene on identified environmental problems seize the potential for illness prevention. Clinicians who guide symptomatic and pre-symptomatic patients to identify their exposures to mold and moisture will reduce illness risk factors. However, other subjects compete for available continuing education time. The Center for Indoor Environments and Health held workshops associated with national meetings and developed a comprehensive on-line course accessible without fee to access broadly within the medical and public health communities (www.oehc.uchc.edu/CIEH.asp). Credentialing groups offer appropriate credits. To ensure relevance, the communication strategies are specific for each targeted group. For example, “tools” formatted for patient documentation are provided to guide providers in their dialogue with patients about their evaluation of the environmental relationships with illness. In addition, interactive exercises are included for health professionals and physicians with public health responsibilities to use to model appropriate risk communication for the affected communities. The findings and conclusions in this report/presentation are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Communication and informatics
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Discuss educational approaches to the relationship between environment and health for public health directors and clinicians. Articulate communication strategies for individuals and communities regarding the risk of environmental exposures and health.

Keywords: Environmental Justice, Risk Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the course director for the program that will be discussed.
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.