Michigan Lead Safe Partnership (MLSP)

Michigan Lead Safe Partnership: Working to keep Michigan's kids safe through action and awareness.

Working to keep Michigan's kids safe through action and awareness.

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 Get The Lead Out! Newsletter

Paul Haan, Get The Lead Out! Newsletter, Issue #5, June 14, 2005

In this Newsletter:

1) One in Four of Kent County's Children Could Soon be Poisoned
2) Get the Lead Out! Nominated for Carter Award
3) Saquemos el Plomo! Holds Outreach Event
4) Neighborhood Leader Ignites "Healthy Homes" Approach
5) City Commission Candidate Forum
6) Get the Lead Out! Goes to Muskegon
7) Michigan Lead-Safe Partnership Receives Award
8) Training Opportunities
9) Next Get the Lead Out! Collaborative meeting

1) One in Four of Kent County's Children Could Soon be Poisoned

In 2004, Kent County tested 11,112 children for lead poisoning. The good news is that only 262 of those children had an elevated blood lead greater than 10.0ug/dL, the CDC's current threshold for action. The bad news is that 2,721 of those children had blood lead levels between 5.0 and 9.9ug/dL--nearly 25% of all children tested!

This is of concern because without intervention, these children are at exceptionally high risk of achieving blood lead levels greater than the current action threshold of 10.0ug/dL. It is of further concern given recent studies on brain development and what we now know about cognitive development and the impact of low levels of lead on a child's IQ (for more information, see the April 2003 New England Journal of Medicine http://www.rachel.org/library/getfile.cfm?ID=262).

This data is a reminder to remain vigilant in local efforts to remove lead from children's environments. It is a call to action in support of parents who live in high-risk housing. Primary prevention is a key, cost effective strategy to reduce risk. What simple steps might your organization do to help spread the word and support parents in their efforts to protect their children?

2) Get the Lead Out! Nominated for Carter Award

As an example of one of the many partnerships that are a part of the Get the Lead Out! collaborative, Aquinas College and the Baxter Community Center have been nominated as finalists for Michigan’s Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Award for campus-community collaboration. The award will be presented by Rosalynn Carter during the annual Governor’s Service Awards Dinner to be held at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn on Saturday, June 18.

The Get the Lead Out! partnership was one of four finalists selected from 22 applications statewide. The collaboration between Aquinas College and the Baxter Community Center includes numerous outreach events, neighborhood canvassing, and making sure that both students and neighbors learn strategies for solving this community problem.

Created in 2000, the Carter Partnership Award is designed to recognize college/university and community groups that work together in exceptional ways to improve people’s lives and help students learn in the process. For more on the award, see http://www.usg.edu/carteraward/gallery/gallery7.phtml.

3) ¡Saquemos el Plomo! Holds Outreach Event

¡Saquemos el Plomo! held their second large community outreach event Saturday, June 4 at Home Repair Services. The fair included lead education, food, clowns, face painting, and live music from the youth batucada, an all-volunteer Latin drum ensemble organized by Spectrum Health's Programa de Apoyo A Nuestra Comunidad. Materials and presentations were offered primarily in Spanish.

Home Repair Services Lead Educator, Michael Soto said "As people are working in their homes this summer, lead levels can go up, especially when windows are opening and closing and putting lead dust into the home. It is important we educate everyone on the dangers of lead."

John Wsol from the EPA Region V Office in Chicago came to demonstrate lead-safe work habits. After the event, John commented on how receptive the audience was to the information. He felt his time was well spent since many of those in attendance are in the midst of renovating old homes and could immediately benefit from his information.

Funding support was provided by the Regional Interagency Coordinating Committee. ¡Saquemos el Plomo! is a coalition of organizations reaching our to the Spanish-speaking community with a message of lead safety. For more information on ¡Saquemos el Plomo!, contact Michael Soto at msoto@homerepairservices.org.

4) Neighborhood Leader Ignites "Healthy Homes" Approach

Members of the Get the Lead Out! Outreach Committee confronted a brutal truth when Baxter parent Tino Scott told local service providers that just maybe childhood lead poisoning is not the most urgent concern to neighborhood parents. But Tino didn't stop by pointing out the problem, he also suggested a profound solution--looking at homes and families more holistically.

Tino is a Baxter resident and Community Outreach Worker with the Calvin Nursing program. Through his experiences talking to neighbors, Tino heard many neighbors discuss a wide array of environmental challenges that face families living in older homes: mold, moisture, carbon monoxide, fear of fire, accident hazards, and many other threats to the health of children. He suggested that lead is just one of many environmental concerns, and perhaps the best pace to start is with whatever issue the parent deems most threatening to the health of the household.

Since Tino shared this wisdom, the Get the Lead Out! Outreach Committee has been exploring ways in which to link childhood lead poisoning more holistically to the concerns of parents raising children in older housing. The group's first value is to be responsive to the needs expressed by parents. For example, if a parent's first concern is fire, there are simple steps that can be taken to address that primary concern such as installing smoke detectors and checking batteries. By working together, the opportunity is created to discuss and solve other environmental health issues, including lead.

The Outreach Committee is developing a business plan to see if such a "healthy homes" approach could be launched in one or two Grand Rapids neighborhoods. If you would like to help, contact Paul Haan at gtlo@sbcglobal.net.

5) City Commission Candidate Forum

The Advocacy Coalition for Young Children and Their Families and the Community Media Center invite you to watch a City Commission Candidate Forum on Young Children and Their Families. The live, in-studio taping will take place at 8:45am, July 14 at the Community Media Center, 711 Bridge St NW.

The forum will be broadcast live on LiveWire - Grand Rapids’ cable channel 24 at 9:00am, July 14. This will be a live call-in show, taking questions from both the studio audience as well as call-in viewers. All eleven City Commission Candidates are invited to attend.

Playback dates and times on LiveWire cable channel 24 are as follows:
Tuesday July 19 at 7:00 pm
Thursday, July 19 at 7:00 pm
Sunday, July 24 at 6:00 pm
Saturday, July 30 at 10:00 am
Sunday, July 31 at 6:00 pm

Get the Lead Out! is an active member of the Advocacy Coalition for Young Children and Their Families. For more information on the coalition, contact Laureen Kennedy at laureen.kennedy@comcast.net.

6) Get the Lead Out! Goes to Muskegon

Under a recently-awarded state contract, Get the Lead Out! has begun working with an emerging coalition in Muskegon to build local capacity to end childhood lead poisoning both in the City of Muskegon and Muskegon Heights. Although it is a smaller community, the health disparities and challenges are strikingly similar to those that were faced by Grand Rapids in the year 2000.

By sharing Grand Rapids' experience, it is hoped that lessons learned can be shared and adapted to local challenges and opportunities in Muskegon. Get the Lead Out! staff recently met with two dozen professionals and community members as Muskegon re-convened and re-energized "Lead-Safe Now!," a local coalition.

Assistance in adapting the Get the Lead Out! coalition-building model will continue throughout the summer in Muskegon, and will also commence shortly in Benton Harbor, the second city targeted in the state contract.

Get the Lead Out! friends and partners with contacts in Muskegon or Benton Harbor are encouraged to share names and numbers with Project Coordinator Paul Haan. Existing relationships are important and extremely helpful! If you have contacts in either of these cities, please contact Paul at gtlo@sbcglobal.net.

7) Michigan Lead-Safe Partnership Receives Award

The Michigan Lead Safe Partnership (MLSP) received the "Outstanding Achievement in Advocacy" award from the Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health on June 2, 2005. The award comes in response to MLSP's advocacy work to get seven childhood lead poisoning bills passed in the 92nd Michigan Legislature.

Get the Lead Out! is a founding member of MLSP, along with the Detroit Lead Partnership and the lead coalition in Saginaw.

To learn more about the Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health, click on http://www.mcmch.org.

8) Training Opportunities

Health and Human Service Provider Training - Michigan Family Resources continues to host Get the Lead Out! trainings for service providers in. The training provides the most current and locally applicable information on childhood lead poisoning prevention and intervention, including local resources for referral. This is an excellent way to orient new staff to the issues.

The training is designed for those who work with parents of young children - nurses, social workers, home visit workers, early childhood professionals, community workers, and others. 3.24 nursing contact hours are offered through the Michigan Nurses Association.

Scheduled training dates are June 23 and July 13. All trainings are 8:15am - Noon. To register, contact Sue Sipkema at (616) 453-4145 x282 or ssipkema@michiganfamilyresources.org.

Lead Safe Work Practices - Home Repair Services continues to offer Lead Safe Work Practices training. This 8-hour, EPA approved curriculum teaches homeowners, landlords, maintenance staff, and remodelers how to work lead-safe. The training is free and open to all. There next few classes are:

- June 15 and 16 from 8:00 am - 12:00 each day.

- July 14 and 15 from 8:00 am - 12:00 each day.

- August 18 and 19 from 8:00 am - 12:00 each day.

Register by contacting Michael Soto at 241-2601 x236 or msoto@homerepairservices.org. Please feel free to announce this opportunity to your constituents or in your organization's newsletter.

9) Next Get the Lead Out! Collaborative meeting

The date of the next Get the Lead Out! collaborative meeting is Wednesday, July 6. The meeting will be 3:00 - 5:00pm at the Baxter Community Center. As always, guests are welcome to come and learn more.

To receive collaborative meeting agenda packets via email, contact gtlo@sbcglobal.net.


 For more information about the MLSP, email us at: info@gettheleadout.org