Pilot Project for Building Environmental Health Capacity through Child-Care Settings
Organization: Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN)
Location: Stakeholders in the child-care community in 1–2 US Mexico border states, including:– Child-care professionals (educators, owners, providers) who may already be experiencing disproportionate exposures to environmental chemicals.We expect child-care professionals to gain knowledge on the use of safer products and practices in their workplace, to protect human health; and to adopt behaviors of relying on non-/less toxic alternatives, thus minimizing the environmental impact. The knowledge gained will empower stakeholders to make informed and educated decisions on their purchasing of, use of, and reliance on chemical products. All those trained will in turn be equipped to educate other community members by disseminating the knowledge gained, in a manner that makes it accessible to all of those affected.
Country: United States
Other Organizations Involved:
University of Maryland School of Public Health, Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health
About 32.7 million U.S. children are enrolled in these child-care facilities, with some children attending for as much as 50 hours per week. Limited studies indicate that child-care environments contain contaminants linked to adverse health effects. Thus, children attending these facilities may experience chronic exposures to potentially deleterious contaminants during critical windows of development. Nonetheless, these settings have generally been overlooked as a potential source of exposure to contaminants, and disproportionate exposures to contaminants may be prevalent in urban environments. In addition, child-care professionals, especially those located in low-income and culturally diverse communities, are generally not receiving education and training on environmental health considerations and the low-to-no-cost best practices that can be adopted as strategies for promoting health and wellness.
The main goal is to educate on and build capacity in environmental health awareness in Latino communities, the largest-growing ethnic group in the nation, and then beyond that, to educate on how to reduce the use of chemicals that can adversely affect the environment and the health of vulnerable populations. Our objectives are thus to train and empower child-care educators and have them subsequently educate child-care providers in their state through the Eco-Healthy Child Care® program curriculum. One training will be provided in Spanish and one in English. Barriers against implementation of exposure-reduction strategies will be identified and will inform future research and intervention efforts.
- 1) Utilize the Children’s Environmental Health Network’s (CEHN) Eco-Healthy Child Care® (EHCC) program curriculum as the base training resource for an English training of child-care educators in 1–2 US- Mexico border state(s).
- 2) Translate the EHCC training curriculum and PowerPoint slide presentation into Spanish.
- 3) Outreach to 1–2 US-Mexico border states and secure commitments to help organize an English and a Spanish training for child-care educators and state licensing staff.
- 4) Conduct EHCC trainings and conduct pre- and post-knowledge assessment surveys.
We expect to build community environmental health awareness capacity via culturally competent training/education material for child-care educators in environmental health. Data collected from baseline and repeat knowledge surveys will highlight environmental health knowledge gained. Results will guide research and intervention efforts to reduce environmental exposures in vulnerable populations, including Latino communities, experiencing disproportionate environmental exposures.