UW News

January 31, 2008

Children’s environmental health unit wins EPA award

By Kathy Hall
Environmental & Occupational Health

The UW Northwest Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (NW PEHSU) received the Environmental Protection Agency’s Children’s Environmental Health Excellence Award for its leadership in protecting children from environmental health risks.

The Children’s Environmental Health Excellence Award aims to increase awareness and stimulate activity by recognizing efforts that protect children from environmental health risks at the local, regional, national, and international level. The UW is one of 10 winners of this national award.

NW PEHSU, a Pediatrics and Occupational and Environmental Medicine grant program, provides expert consultation to health care and public health professionals and to parents on environmental agents of concern, such as lead, mercury, and pesticides. It also offers a wide variety of training opportunities to increase the regional capacity of health professionals to address these concerns.

“PEHSU is uniquely poised to provide state of the art evidence and information that improves clinical practice, public health research, and policy that addresses environmental health threats to children in the Pacific Northwest,” said Dr. Catherine Karr, associate professor of pediatrics and environmental health sciences, who directs the interdisciplinary UW-based program.

“Our success as a regional resource and member of a national network has yielded interest from many other countries and we are thrilled with the likely development of a global pediatric environmental health network.”

NW PEHSU is a leader in building health professional capacity in academic, public health and community domains, ensuring that the current generation of trainees is equipped to address pediatric environmental health.

The program’s activities include integration of pediatric environmental health topics into the UW pediatric residency core curriculum, initiation of a pediatric environmental health residency conference series, creation of a Web CME module on pesticides and child health, and intensive mentorship of medical students, graduate students, and fellows.

NW PEHSU offers training opportunities Children’s environmental health unit wins EPA award in multiple formats and locations for public health professionals and communities. Examples include: in-service trainings on pediatric environmental health topics at community clinics caring for underserved populations; workshops on pesticide and child health at national farmworker conferences; curriculum development and training, in Spanish and English, on pesticides and child health for community health education workers; and a successful continuing medical education course.

In addition, NW PEHSU has collaborated effectively with state and local health departments at community meetings to provide risk counseling and communication services to the public.

For more information, visit the unit’s Web site at http://depts.washington.edu/pehsu or call 206-744-9380.