267029 Building capacity to reduce children's environmental exposures in child-occupied settings: Creating healthy child care centers and improving the quality of life trajectory for low income Boston families

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 4:50 PM - 5:10 PM

Laurita Kaigler-Crawlle , Environmental Health Department, Health Resources in Action, Dorchester, MA
The well-being and future prospects for children in Boston is significantly affected by asthma and other environmental health concerns. In Massachusetts more than one in three asthmatic students missed school or daycare because of their asthma at least once in a 12 month period. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has found that asthma is the top chronic disease affecting health for Head Start children and their families. As a result the US Environmental Protection Agency(EPA)developed a Memo of Understanding with Head Start to improve environmental health.The Boston Healthy Homes and Schools Collaborative(BHHSC)'s, Healthy Head Start initiative (HHSI)utilizes EPA Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools framework and aligns with EPA nationwide efforts to address asthma and environmental health. In Boston, children ages 0-4 had a higher asthma hospitalization rate (12.1%)than any other age group.Action for Boston Community Development Head Start (ABCD HS), which operates 25 neighborhood-based HS programs throughout Boston, report that currently 381 out of 2403 students are diagnosed with asthma, exceeding the MA state average and the national average. This presentation will explain how HHSI builds the capacity of HS educators and parents/caregivers to implement and sustain strategies that reduce children's exposure to air pollutants, environmental tobacco smoke and pests and pesticides – all factors that cause or exacerbate asthma, allergies, and other respiratory problems among children. Capacity building activities that will be discussed include training and technical assistance for Head Start staff and parents/caregivers; the development of environmental health committees consisting of HS staff and parents/care givers that receive technical assistance to better advocate for improved indoor air quality and reduction to toxic exposures, as well as the promotion of environmental policies.The HHSI policy development component ensures system wide integration of sustainable strategies for use throughout all of Boston's Head Start programs, and across Massachusetts.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Environmental health sciences

Learning Objectives:
1.Demonstrate the value of building the long-term capacity of childcare center educators and parents/caregivers to address children’s health through training, technical assistance and the promotion of improved central policies that reflect best practices for children’s environmental health. 2.Explain how to create and sustain centralized environmental health policy for childcare centers as well as provide culturally competent technical assistance that supports implementation of environmental health policies in complex urban childcare programs.

Keywords: Asthma, Environmental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Director for the Massachusetts Asthma Action Partnership (MAAP, a MA state wide asthma coalition convened by Health Resources in Action, Inc (HRiA). I am also Healthy Schools Project Director for the Boston Healthy Homes and Schools Collaborative a Boston coalition convened by HRiA. As MAAP director I lead development, implemention and evaluation of local community strategies that contribute to the goals for the Strategic Plan for Asthma in Massachusetts 2009 -2014.
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.