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IAQ Tribal Partners Program

Spotlight on an Innovative Tribal Program

Healthy Homes Working Group – Tulalip Tribes of Washington

Program Champion

Gillian Mittelstaedt

Gillian Mittelstaedt, MPA, Tulalip Indoor Air Program and Community Asthma Advocate

Gillian has supported the Tulalip Indoor Air Program for more than 10 years, and though helping people is part of her job, it's also her passion. Working with other tribal staff and members has inspired her to form the Healthy Homes Working Group.

"I've seen the adverse impact that asthma has on the quality of life of kids and their families living with asthma. Knowing that simple changes in a home environment can make people's lives better is very powerful – we want to share that with our community members so they can lead healthier lives unencumbered by chronic asthma care." Gillian Mittelstaedt


Feature: Asthma in Tribal Communities

Gillian Mittelstaedt
Implementing basic strategies can help create healthier homes. Listen as Gillian describes successes in asthma management and how she forged partnerships to create the Tribal Healthy Homes Northwest Working Group to improve health in her community. Watch the video on AsthmaCommunityNetwork.org


Program Summary

The Tulalip Tribes Indoor Air Program focuses on culturally relevant education and outreach, with the goal of reducing environmental exposures that can induce and exacerbate health problems such as asthma. To increase the impact of their program and to help regional tribes improve their indoor air programs, Tulalip recently initiated the Healthy Homes Working Group. The Working Group will give tribes the opportunity to exchange research and best practices, highlight strategies, successes and challenges in IAQ outreach and education, and create a model for effective home interventions in tribal communities. By pooling their resources and forming a tribally-led partnership, they aim to substantially reduce exposures to indoor air pollutants in their communities.

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Key Strategies

Empower Others to Lead: Opening the Healthy Homes Working Group to all tribes in the region will give experienced tribes the opportunity to become issue-area leaders, such as those who have conducted successful woodstove change-out programs, those who have developed an asthma registry, or those who have a robust IAQ investigation program. The Working Group is structured as an open forum for information exchange, offering environmental health professionals an opportunity to share program strategies and insights, learn from each other, and advance the impact of IAQ initiatives in all of the region's tribes.

Bring All Stakeholders to the Table: The Working Group broadened its regional influence and increased members' access to technical expertise and funding opportunities by forming strategic partnerships with federal agencies, public health partners and other regional tribes. Participants learn from each other's experience in designing effective models for in-home environmental interventions, conducting education and outreach, writing grant proposals and more. Engaging the whole spectrum of stakeholders in environmental health adds depth to the Working Group.

Engage Stakeholders Regularly: Holding meetings on a quarterly basis allows tribes in the Working Group to regularly exchange information, share resources and participate in trainings. Between quarterly meetings, the Working Group plans to use its Web site to keep stakeholders engaged by posting materials from past meetings and events, culturally relevant outreach products, and other information and resources to help stakeholders get involved in community efforts. This regular engagement strengthens partnerships between participants and keeps the Working Group's goals front-and-center in stakeholders' minds.

Set Goals to Leverage Momentum: The Healthy Homes Working Group sets achievable, short-term goals that feed in to their long-term goal of facilitating the development of effective indoor air and asthma programs in all of the region's tribes. For example, an early goal is to have at least one Working Group participant from each tribe in the region. With each new achievement, the Healthy Homes Working Group will set a new goal in its place that builds on past accomplishments.

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Customize these posters for your own IAQ Tribal Program

As part of their culturally relevant outreach efforts, Tulalip asked tribal children to draw pictures and talk about what healthy air means to them. They have used the children's art work in these posters to show the importance of indoor air quality. These posters are distributed to school nurses and at health clinics. Download them now and customize them for your own IAQ Tribal Program.

"Leave my asthma in the dust" Poster

teen poster

(DOC, 1 page, 9.18 M) | (PDF, 1 page, 795 K, About PDF)

"I am strong…I am fast" Poster

youth poster

(DOC, 1 page, 1.62 M) | (PDF, 1 page, 276 K)

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Program Profile

Mission Statement: Strengthen and share outcomes by collectively addressing environmental exposures, especially those impacting children and elders' health, through a tribally-led, peer-to-peer forum.

Tribes Invited to Participate: Tribes located in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.

Working Group Resources: Webinars, Web site, trainings, and federal, state and non-profit partnerships.

Healthy Homes Working Group Goals

Collaborate with other tribes to exchange technical and programmatic assistance and expand funding opportunities;
Forge partnerships with stakeholders
, including state and federal agencies like EPA; and,
Foster ongoing communication
within the Healthy Homes Working Group.


Webinar: Lowering Utility Bills and Health Risks: Building a "Weatherization + Health" Program for Your Tribe

The Healthy Homes Working Group hosted a training Webinar on January 28, 2010. During the training, technical experts introduce the components of a "Weatherization + Health" program, in which tribal staff are trained to perform energy audits and inspections in a home, while simultaneously addressing indoor air conditions that impact those with asthma, lung disease and compromised immune function. Staff from Washington State DOH also briefly discuss their initiative to reduce asthma-related health disparities in Tribal communities.

Watch and Listen to the Webinar (WMV, 1:20:48, 71.6 M, Get the free media player) | Transcript (TXT, 65 K)

Asthma Triggers Carbon Monoxide Community Programs Directory of Tribal Champions Innovative Tribal Programs Learn about IAQ Working with the Media Moisture/Mold Other Pollutants Radon Programs in Schools Secondhand Smoke Wood Smoke Indoor Air Quality

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