It is tough for people to wake up on a Monday and prepare themselves to go to class but that was not the case during the first week of October where the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative was responsible for providing a Community Health Worker Lead Poisoning Prevention and Asthma training which was hosted by the Prince George’s County Health Department. For five days 12 community health workers from various counties in Maryland joined us for a training on lead poisoning prevention and asthma to better serve their respective communities. For a week we held in-depth discussions on how these issues impact our communities and what we can do to improve the quality of life as well as the experience of working with a community health worker.
The goal of the training was to empower the CHW so that they may empower their communities. It was a fun and interactive week where the CHW’s learned what health hazards of the home should be on the lookout for when conducting home visits. This training covered best practices when working with a family that has children who suffer from lead poisoning and/or asthma. At the beginning of the week participants had sparse knowledge of lead poisoning or asthma, however by the end, everyone had ample knowledge plus a list of resources to empower the families in their community.
Topics covered during the week of training ranged from identifying lead-based paint in their home, understanding the legal process when dealing with a home that is below quality health standards, to explaining how to have an asthma action plan set in place for emergencies. Throughout the entire week engagement levels were high and conversations were energetic as smaller groups collaborated to highlight the experiences each person goes through in their day-to-day scenarios at work. The room filled with laughter, questions and insight on best ways to deescalate a situation and speak about the tough topics that make most people uncomfortable. It was truly a different kind of learning experience where not only the attendees were learning but also the instructor.
In a world that is constantly changing it is important for health workers to be able to adapt and grow stronger so that families will not be left in the dark. It was a week that ended up feeling like only two days because of how animated everyone was to learn about these topics. On Monday, 12 individuals stepped into a room, but on Friday they left as a family. A family that grew together from learning how they can make a positive impact on where they live knowing that they are not in this battle alone.
The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative would like to send a special thank you to Diane Scull who was the certified asthma educator that joined GHHI in conducting these trainings.
For more information on lead poisoning prevention and asthma triggers please feel free to contact the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative at 410-534-6447.