Urban Environmental Program in New England
Grants and Projects: Asthma
Holyoke Health Center
Project Asthma in Retreat (AIR)
Project AIR is a collaborative effort between many local organizations in and around Holyoke, MA. Asthma and air quality was identified as a primary environmental risk for Holyoke residents through an EPA CARE grant to Nuestras Raices. Holyoke suffers from one of the highest rates of asthma in the state of Massachusetts, and the Latino population in particular has documented health disparity around respiratory problems. Project AIR seeks to address these issues with a focus on public schools and community education. This effort will increase the community’s awareness of 1) key indoor and outdoor factors that trigger asthma in order to decrease those environmental conditions across a wide range of sites in the city (workplace, schools, daycare facilities, and homes) and 2) effective strategies for management of asthma (including medical and physical interventions). The project will develop a district-wide program with the Holyoke Public Schools to include asthma education for teachers, students and school staff; develop and pilot the inclusion of an asthma curriculum into science and health units for students; and conduct indoor environmental quality (IEQ) assessments of two district schools to identify and evaluate asthma triggers and address those changes that can be easily made.
Measures of Success: Number of asthma curriculum and materials modified/developed; Number of training sessions held; Number of training participants; Number of asthma education events coordinated; Number of school IEQ assessments completed.
Project Partners: Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council, Holyoke Public Schools, Nuestras Raices, Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition, Massachusetts Asthma Action Partnership, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Holyoke Community College, University of Massachusetts School of Public Health and Health Sciences, Head Start / VOC preschool programs, Holyoke Housing Authority, Holyoke YMCA
Health Department, Town of Wareham (Wareham, MA)
Smoke-Free Homes Campaign
The project will train staff and partners to involve their clients in a smoke-free pledge campaign, which will provide smokers with Smoke-Free Homes kits in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Focus groups will be conducted with clients who signed the pledge and those who did not, to discuss challenges and barriers to maintaining smoke-free homes which reduces family exposure to indoor toxics and improves the quality of the indoor environment. A town media campaign will also be developed and deployed which will include posters, press releases, and town bus advertisements to raise public awareness about Smoke-Free Homes and available resources.
Measurable Results: Training of 70 partnering staff at four training sessions; at least 466 interventions over the course of the year; at least 245 families will pledge to maintain smoke-free homes, with monthly follow-ups to check progress; 75% of pledging families will remain in smoke-free homes after 1 year; all smokers will be referred to smoking cessation services; focus groups conducted with 8-12 enrollees and 8-12 non-enrollees to determine motivation for and barriers against participation in the campaign.
Partners: Cape Cod Child Development Program (Wareham Head Start), Wareham Child Care, Little Peoples’ College, Wareham Women and Infant Care Program
Lexington Public Schools (Lexington, MA)
Healthy Schools: Inside and Out Automated Training and Mentoring Program
The project will improve indoor air quality in all Lexington Public Schools (LPS) by implementing Tools for Schools (TFS) training, improving IAQ procedures, and implementing an IAQ monitoring and reporting system which will improve the quality of the indoor environment for local children and school staff. The project will also develop a paperless, automated Tools for Schools system to increase the program’s efficiency, sustainability, and accessibility of data for patrons.
Measurable Results: Development of automated TFS system serving nine schools, 6,300 students, and 1,000 employees; develop PowerPoint training and communication tools to educate school staff on IAQ issues; Lexington-based program will be converted to regionally based TFS program; Lexington Green Pages website developed for use as a TFS resource and for region-wide online discussions of school IAQ issues; development and implementation of training and mentoring program for school staff in TFS database program; 5 Year IAQ Assessment Schedule for school use submitted to EPA for possible integration into TFS; annual LPS information events; and conversion of cleaning products to green products through staff education.
Partners: Stand for Children, Lexington Education Association, Town of Lexington