Environmental Practice

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RESEARCH ARTICLE: Rochester's Healthy Home: A Community-Based Innovation to Promote Environmental Health Action

Katrina Smith Korfmachera1 c1 and Kate Kuholskia1

a1 Environmental Health Sciences Center, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York

Abstract

Environmental hazards in the home can contribute significantly to disease. These hazards disproportionately affect low-income, urban, and minority children. Childhood lead poisoning and asthma are prime examples of health concerns to which poor housing conditions may contribute. A community-academic partnership in Rochester, New York, created a model Healthy Home, an interactive museum in a typical city home, to help residents, property owners, contractors, and community groups reduce environmental hazards. The Healthy Home project educates visitors about home environmental health hazards, demonstrates low-cost methods for reducing home hazards, and helps visitors develop individualized strategies for action. In its first year of operation, over 700 people visited the Healthy Home. Evaluation surveys indicate that the Healthy Home experience motivated visitors to take action to reduce environmental hazards in their homes. Follow-up phone interviews indicate that most visitors took some action to reduce home environmental hazards. The Healthy Home has established a diverse Advisory Council to share its messages more broadly, invite input into future directions, and recruit visitors. This article presents experiences from the Healthy Home's first year, highlighting the partnership principles that guided its development and lessons learned from the process.

Environmental Practice 10:94–106 (2008)

(Received September 24 2007)

(Revised May 08 2008)

(Accepted May 12 2008)

Correspondence

c1 Address correspondence to: Katrina Smith Korfmacher, Community Outreach Coordinator and Assistant Professor, Environmental Health Sciences Center, 601 Elmwood Ave., Box EHSC, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642; (fax) 585-256-2591; (email) Katrina_korfmacher@urmc.rochester.edu