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EPA Honors 10 Exceptional Efforts to Protect Children - October is Children’s Health Month


Training nurses to perform pediatric environmental health home assessments; providing safe drinking water to those in need; improving scientific understanding of children’s exposures to chemicals; and performing routine health and safety inspections in schools. These are samples of the 10 programs recognized by EPA at the third annual Children’s Environmental Health Excellence Awards ceremony Oct. 11 in Washington, D.C.

EPA is honoring 10 organizations for their outstanding leadership in protecting children from environmental risks. EPA plays a major role in protecting infants and children, who are more susceptible than adults to some environmental hazards, because their nervous, immune, digestive and other systems are still developing.

The 2007 Children’s Environmental Health Champion Award will be presented to Dr. Ruth Etzel – a visionary epidemiologist, pediatrician, and environmental health scientist. Dr. Etzel is being recognized for 20 years of leadership teaching health professionals about the importance of children’s environmental health. She is the founding editor of Pediatric Environmental Health, a book published by the American Academy of Pediatrics that has become the “Dr. Spock”-type reference for issues related to children and the environment. Working with the Ambulatory Pediatric Association, Dr. Etzel helped launch the first Pediatric Environmental Health Fellowships in the United States in 2001. The fellowships provide three years of post-graduate training to pediatricians interested in careers in pediatric environmental health. Most recently, Dr. Etzel has worked with the International Pediatric Association (IPA), with support from EPA, to launch a virtual International Pediatric Environmental Health Leadership Institute. The institute could eventually reach up to 500,000 pediatricians about children’s environmental health. Ultimately, the institute will improve participants’ expertise and leadership in recognizing, diagnosing, preventing, and managing pediatric diseases linked to environmental factors, and will enable them to be champions of healthy environments for children.

Following Dr. Etzel’s lead, seven of the 10 2007 Children’s Environmental Health Excellence Award Winners are being recognized for their work educating healthcare professionals about children’s environmental health to increase the number of health professionals who can address pediatric environmental health concerns.

The Children’s Environmental Health Awards are designed to recognize ongoing and sustainable dedication to, and notable leadership in, protecting children from environmental health risks at the local, regional, national and international level.

This year’s winners are:

Asthma Regional Council, Dorchester, Mass. (Region 1)
National Center for Healthy Housing, Columbia, Md. (Region 3)
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Region 3)
Magee Women’s Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Region 3)
Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics, Washington, D.C. (Region 3)
National Exposure Research Lab EPA, Research Triangle Park, N.C. (Region 4)
Procter and Gamble, Cincinnati, Ohio (Region 5)
LA Unified School District, Los Angeles, Calif. (Region 9)
NW Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit, Seattle, Wash. (Region 10)
Argentine Society of Doctors for the Environment, Buenos Aires, Argentina


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