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Children spend a substantial portion of their time in school and the school environment has the potential to impact many members of a community over years during sensitive developmental windows of time.
The Lung Health Ambassador Program (LHAP) aims to inform young students about lung health and risk factors for lung disease. Through this initiative, we aim to build a culture of young students to better understand the impact their environment has on their health while equipping them with tools they can use and build upon. Further, we will provide teachers with resources and educational materials that are in accordance with the current priorities of the local schools and communities, as well as access to healthcare professionals, researchers, and scientists for the local schools and their staff.
The Baltimore Healthy Schools Project is an EPA-funded study that was designed to increase our understanding of environmental exposures in schools and the link to student performance and health. The study included a detailed assessment of indoor air quality, allergen, and microbial exposures in classrooms and common indoor spaces over fall, winter, and spring seasons. The study took advantage of a massive school renovation program to learn about the benefits of renovating school buildings on the school environment. We have learned that renovation of schools leads to improvement in indoor air quality, including indoor climate and ventilation.
Asthma CHAMPS is a program that builds on partnerships that have been developed with Baltimore City Schools and the Baltimore City Health Department. The project includes community-engaged planning and implementation of a tailored multi-level asthma intervention program in Baltimore City Schools. The asthma intervention builds on the CDC recommended framework (EXHALE) and will evaluate the impact of the program on reducing asthma morbidity among school-age children.
During the pandemic, we launched our COVID-19 school-based curriculum, launched both nationally and internationally. The spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has resulted in a pandemic (COVID-19), requiring measured approaches such as public lockdowns and quarantining. Engaging with the community was warranted where we were able to recognize the potential of medical-scholastic partnerships and reaffirm these public health actions. Our COVID-19 curriculum was launched in schools to build K-12 student awareness about the science of COVID-19 and the public health response. Specifically, we discussed public health action (social distancing, handwashing, face masks) through education, increase awareness into the vaccines, and help improve the science literacy overall of the students. Further, we believe with our activity that we assisted in creating a pipeline of motivated students from diverse backgrounds that may pursue a healthcare profession in the future.