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June 8, 2015
This week I am delighted to be attending CGI America 2015 in Denver, Colorado, along with our outstanding mission partners from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.
Collectively, we recognize that healthy homes have a profound effect in ensuring that kids are safe, healthy and ready to learn. The components of academic achievement, such as attendance and performance outcomes, is related to interactions among multiple biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors:[i]
A systematic review conducted by the Children's Health Fund shows that risk factors such as childhood asthma and lead poisoning, especially during the crucial developmental period of early childhood, are significantly contributing to poor academic achievement. Unhealthy housing can lead to learning disabilities, decreased intelligence, speech development problems, hyperactivity and asthma, which is the number one medical reason for school absences. In 2008, asthma attacks led to an estimated 14.4 million lost school days (7.1 million children have asthma)[ii]. Home-based asthma triggers cause 40% of asthma episodes, which are entirely preventable[iii]. These triggers include mold, pests, dust mites, poor indoor air quality, cockroaches and tobacco smoke.
I sincerely look forward to furthering the dialog with our partners at HUD and CGI around housing as a platform for health and educational outcomes. Part of the conversation this week will include the exploration of pathways to expand healthy homes interventions through healthcare and social impact financing, which is critical to effectively scaling the impact of this work in communities across the nation.
I will provide updates and observations throughout the week via Twitter @RuthAnnNorton, and of course there will a rich conversation occurring at the official meeting hashtag #CGIAmerica. I hope all of our partners in healthy homes, education and healthcare will get a chance to tune in and engage at some point throughout the week!
[i] Roy Grant and Arturo Brito. Chronic Illness and School Performance: A Literature Review Focusing on Asthma and Mental Health Conditions. Children's Health Fud, New York, NY: June, 2010
[ii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey Raw Data, 2011. Analysis by the American Lung Association Research and Health Education Division using SPSS and SUDAAN software.
[iii] Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build A Healthier America. Beyond Health Care: New Directions To A Healthier America Report. April 2009
May 4, 2015
Asthma is one of the most common serious chronic diseases of childhood. In the United States alone, an average of one out of every 10 school-aged children have asthma. It is a leading cause of hospital emergency department visits and school absenteeism, with more than 10.5 million school days missed annually. In a continued effort to raise public awareness of the risks faced everyday by the 7.1 million children with asthma living in the United States, the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) is joining with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to participate in Asthma Awareness Month and World Asthma Day.
Asthma is a chronic lifelong disease that affects the lungs, causing coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. Asthma attacks cause kids to miss school and adults to miss work. These dangerous and sometimes life-threatening episodes reduce the quality of life for people with asthma.
Although asthma cannot be cured, families can prevent asthma attacks by reducing their exposure to triggers, such as extreme temperatures, pollen, dust, mold, tobacco smoke, chemical odors and pests. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 40% of all incidents of asthma are attributable to home-based environmental health hazards. Ensuring that your home meets the eight elements of a green & healthy home—dry, clean, safe, well-ventilated, pest-free, containment-free, well-maintained and energy efficient—can prevent asthma attacks in your home and keep your children in school, healthy and ready to learn.
GHHI works with families to provide appropriate tools and techniques for reducing indoor asthma triggers. Controlling asthma triggers in your home can be easy if you know how! We realize that some asthma trigger issues can require a financial investment that not all families have, especially concerning severe mold and ventilation problems. GHHI also provides low-income families with free home repair services to address asthma triggers. Each home is inspected for asthma triggers, safety hazards and energy inefficiencies with a customized scope of work developed based on the home assessment. Repair services could include mold remediation, weatherization and integrated pest management, and in-home education may cover smoking cessation, cleaning techniques and asthma medication management.
We recently published our program results in the Environmental Justice journal and it shows that our intervention model has helped keep kids out of the hospital and get them back to the classroom. By addressing asthma triggers in the homes of children with chronic asthma, we have been able to reduce asthma related hospitalizations by over 60% and emergency department visits by 25%. There was a 62% increase in participants reporting asthma-related perfect attendance for their child (i.e. zero school absences due to asthma episodes) as well as an 88% increase in parents never having to miss a day of work to care for a sick child with asthma.
Help us spread asthma awareness, this month and every day, by sharing our informational pages on asthma triggers, the eight elements of a healthy home and or healthy homes quiz. For additional information on asthma prevention, visit the EPA.org or AsthmaCommunityNetwork.org.
 Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2011 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/
 National Surveillance of Asthma: United States, 2001-2010 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_03/sr03_035.pdf
 Environmental Justice, Vol 7. Number 6, 2014. Green & Healthy Homes Initiative: Improving Health, Economic and Social Outcomes Through Integrated Housing Intervention.
April 1, 2015
On Saturday, March 14, Green & Healthy Homes Initiative Detroit-Wayne County (GHHI Detroit-Wayne County) welcomed more than 200 southwest Detroit residents and children to its first ever Green & Healthy Homes Day. The event was held at Harms Elementary School with opening remarks by Council Member Castaneda-Lopez of Detroit’s 6th district and Eric Johnson, GHHI Detroit-Wayne County co-chair and chief of housing rehabilitation with the City of Detroit Housing and Revitalization Department.
More than 20 GHHI Detroit-Wayne County organizations were represented at the event including: AmeriCorps Urban Safety Program, Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America – Michigan Chapter, Bridging Communities, City of Detroit Housing and Revitalization Department, CLEARCorps Detroit, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, DTE Energy, EcoWorks, Ecology Center, Habitat for Humanity Detroit, Institute for Population Health, Kohl’s Injury Prevention Program at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, RSM Lead Inspections, SEEL, Stafford House, Urban Neighborhood Initiatives, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Wayne County Public Health Department, Wayne Children’s Healthcare Access Program, Wayne Metro Community Action Agency and United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
Each organization staffed a resource table with information about their organization, available programs and services, and products and education to help residents make their homes safe, green and healthy. Residents also had the opportunity to meet with representatives of GHHI Detroit-Wayne County partners and complete program applications and surveys. GHHI Detroit-Wayne County partners also offered free lead testing for children under age 6, hourly door prizes and workshops and demonstrations on how to make your home safe, green and healthy. Children loved playing in the Kid’s Corner with environmentally friendly crafts and games while their parents browsed the many partner tables.
GHHI Detroit-Wayne County would like to thank all the partners who helped to make this event a huge success, especially Harms Elementary, the City of Detroit Housing & Revitalization Department, Wayne State University, EcoWorks, Stafford House, Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America – Michigan Chapter and Wayne County Public Health Department. We look forward to engaging with many more Detroit residents on green and healthy housing issues to ensure that Detroit families have safe and healthy places to live and play.
February 9, 2015
As the interest among stakeholders in data demonstrating the health and cost-savings benefits from in-home asthma resident education and housing interventions is mounting around the country, GHHI is helping local and state governments, healthcare organizations, housing providers and community agencies take advantage of these opportunities to pursue prevention funding for their communities.
GHHI provides training and technical assistance in the development of strategies to access Medicaid, private insurer and social impact investment to pay for in-home asthma resident education and Healthy Homes housing interventions to reduce asthma triggers. GHHI offers customized Pathways to Healthcare training sessions, including instruction on the GHHI comprehensive service model, asthma home intervention and education best practices, asthma social impact bonds planning, other financing tools, public and private healthcare reimbursement, healthy homes and more. Other sample training topics include:
How to pursue effective healthcare funding strategies
Medicaid rule changes
Examples of healthy homes reimbursement currently in practice
Opportunities through managed care organizations
State Innovation Models overview
ACA’s changes in hospital community benefit investment rules
ACS’s hospital readmission reduction program
Best practices on engaging state Medicaid offices and hospitals
Integrated GHHI service delivery model
As an example of our customizable trainings, here’s a look at a recent training GHHI conducted for the State of Vermont by Vice President of Policy and Innovation Michael McKnight:
Organized and sponsored by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB), more than 40 individuals from across the state attended, including staff from the state health department, hospitals, accountable care organizations, the state innovation model program funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, the weatherization and lead poisoning prevention programs, as well as home visiting and asthma management programs. The training explored how Vermont housing programs and their related services can be more closely tied to clinical services. It included an in depth look at existing opportunities to incorporate health-related funding into a comprehensive model that includes home interventions.
Participants also reviewed the evidence of the effectiveness of healthy homes and weatherization interventions, the importance of the home environment to patient health, and how much of a business case already exists for integrating these two fields. Attendees then discussed the current Vermont healthy homes, lead poisoning prevention and weatherization work, and the potential for coordinated service delivery.
Mr. McKnight reviewed all of the available pathways to incorporating health related payment and reimbursement streams for home interventions and discussed with participants the Vermont healthcare landscape, including ongoing programs addressing asthma and efforts to reduce the homeless population by paying for housing through healthcare streams. (The state of Vermont is very focused on the triple aim of improving the quality of care delivered to patients, improving population health and reducing healthcare costs. Incorporating home education and interventions was viewed as an opportunity to reach all of these aims.)
This training, as well as others on a variety of green and healthy housing topics is available through GHHI’s Client Services Division for communities both in and out of the GHHI network. If you are interested in scheduling a Pathways to Healthcare training or learning more about other GHHI training options, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-534-6447 ext. 130.
November 19, 2014
Giving Tuesday is our favorite time of year at GHHI. It’s a time when we intentionally pause to consider our individual and our collective blessings. It’s a time when we recognize how important it is to look into our own hearts and give—be it in the form of volunteer time or donations—to the many among us who are in need.
We hope that you will support GHHI on Giving Tuesday (December 2) by making a donation in support of our mission to help break the link between unhealthy housing and unhealthy families. Please help us spread the word about our cause through social media or by using the websites below for your holiday shopping.
Thank you, in advance, for your support!
Donate to GHHIDonations directly support our work to create green, healthy and safe homes for our community’s most vulnerable families. You can even tell us exactly how you want your donation used: to help with physical home repairs that remediate lead paint and asthma triggers; to help relocate families from unhealthy housing; to provide in-home family advocacy and healthy homes education, etc. All donations are tax deductible.
Note: The Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning (CECLP) is the legal entity for the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI). Began as a program of CECLP in 2008, GHHI became the legal "DBA" of CECLP in 2014. As such, all donations to GHHI are processed through by our legal entity, CECLP.
Spread the WordAs recently witnessed with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, talking about an organization on social media and encouraging others to donate can be just as beneficial to a nonprofit. Tell your followers why you support GHHI and include a link to our donations page.
Or have even more fun with it! Share an #UNselfie with your social media networks. An UNselfie is a photo of yourself that includes a caption or a sign in the photo explaining why you support GHHI. When posting your photo, include the hashtags #UNselfie and #GivingTuesday, and if posting to Twitter, tag @HealthyHousing.
Shop to GiveThe easiest way to support GHHI year-round is to use the following websites when shopping online—they will donate a portion of your purchase directly to GHHI!
Amazon Smile is a simple and automatic way to support your GHHI. Amazon Smile’s website is identical to Amazon.com, but adds a donation of .5% of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. To sign up for an account, visit the home page and follow the instructions. Existing Amazon accounts can be used to sign into Amazon Smile. You will then be prompted to choose your charity—search and select Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, (GHHI’s legal entity; see note above). Be sure to visit Amazon Smile going forward to ensure that your Amazon purchase qualifies for the donation!
Goodshop is an online shopping mall with more than 5,000 stores that donates a percent of your purchase to GHHI. Retailers include Macy’s, Target, Expedia and Kohl’s. You’ll also receive exclusive discounts, so you can save money and give back at the same time. To register, click “sign up” on the upper right hand corner of the home page. You will be prompted to search for your charity. Search and select the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning. To begin shopping and earning donations for GHHI, simple visit Goodshop and click on a store of interest.
iGive includes access to more than 1,500 online stores like Bed Bath and Beyond, Staples and Toys R Us with exclusive coupons. Each store will donate a portion of your purchase to GHHI. To register, fill out the form on the home page. When prompted to “choose a cause” select “search by name” and enter select Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning. iGive utilizes an online widget to inform stores of your participation to ensure a portion of your purchase will be donated to GHHI. You will be prompted to download the iGive widget. Follow the instructions on the page.