Member Spotlight - November 2015

An entry from the November issue of the NHPHA e-Newsletter

NHPHA would like to welcome and introduce the Healthy Homes and Environments Section, our newest organizational member and Public Health Partner.

The Healthy Homes & Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, along with the Asthma Control Program and the Health Officer Liaison, is a section within the NH Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, Bureau of Health Protection.  Staff within this section train and certify contractors for lead safe work practices, investigate lead hazards in homes,  provide health education and outreach, provide case management for lead poisoned children, coordinate asthma control work, and appoint and provide Healthy Homes logotechnical assistance to New Hampshire's Health Officers.

According to Jessica Morton, Health Promotion Advisor,  “The Healthy Homes Steering Committee is  comprised of 20 to 30 individuals that are all focused on various aspects of what a health home needs, but the outcome is the same: maintaining, creating, or establishing healthy homes.  It's amazing the work we can do together vs. individually”.

Jessica enjoys collaborating with other groups and speaking to the public about ways to keep their homes safe, but feels that meeting and training the 234 Health Officers is the most enjoyable part of her work.  "Taking phone calls from residents on housing condition concerns from bed bugs to mold to radon to many other things, it's always something new." 

The 5th Annual Healthy Homes Conference was held on October 28th at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord.  Keynote speakers included Murray Banks, Ellen Tohn of Tohn Environmental Strategies LLC, and Mary Jean Brown, Chief, Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  A variety of breakout sessions were offered including such topics as Home Fire Safety, Preventing Mold in Your Home, and Safety for Home Visitors.

"We are working on increasing the number of children who are screened for elevated blood lead levels. The American Academy of Pediatric guidelines recommends that all children be screened before age 1 and before age 2.', Jessica replied when asked about current and future projects.  "We are also working with partners to create better linkages among schools, hospitals, primary care, patients, and caregivers in order to ensure better care for asthma control.

In closing, Jessica shared that the Healthy Homes & Environment Section first got involved with NHPHA through former President, Marie Mulroy.  "Marie has been an active partner in our Healthy Homes Steering Committee and has worked on a number of advocacy initiatives for Healthy Homes.  We really appreciate the partnership we've had over the years with the NHPHA.”
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