Announcing "Greater Cleveland Plan to Eliminate Childhood Lead Poisoning by 2010"

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Fri, 04/01/2005 - 11:31.

Following the 03.31.05 City Club Forum on "Eradicating Lead Poisoning in our Children by 2010", a large group of community leaders and concerned residents assembles in the Pogue Room for the kick-off of the "Greater Cleveland Plan to Eliminate Childhood Lead Poisoning by 2010" - see the City Club notes for more background and insight. This kick-off and related program was made possible with a $1.3 million grant from the St. Luke's Foundation.

Leah Gary, Vice President for Program and Evaluation with St. Luke's, kicked off the meeting by praising the organizers in recognition they had a waiting list for this session, and expressing her thanks to the City Club speaker Dr. Mary Brown, chief of the Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - with pride she notes they're both former nurses from Metrohealth

Ms. Gary goes on to explain this is a meeting to form the "Greater Cleveland Lead Advisory Council" (GCLAC), and this project is a marriage between the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, a broad coalition across the faith community and many other organizations - launching a three year project - St. Luke's put in $1.3 million - looks at measuring results - focus on prevention - includes many great partners - goal is by 2010 no children in region will be lead poisoned.

April 26th at 2 PM, at Burke Lakefront Airport, will be first formal meeting of GCLAC - this meeting is to kick off preparations and advocacy - we have been given the plan (will attach here ASAP) - following meetings will be working sessions... action oriented - time for talking and planning has passed - city has sub grants with Cleveland Healthwatch and Tenants Associations. Have general marketing campaign - for department of public health this is #1 issue.

We are inspired by who we have in the room today and what we may accomplish - opportunity to eliminate a public health problem - lots of support from HUD and EPA and CDC and Invest in Children as well - plenty of opportunities to impact community. We are encouraged to indicate what are our strengths and speak up! Must insure what we deliver is tied into community action. Effort must be tied into advocacy.

In the game plan there are many line items on advocacy. St. Luke's is lead partner on Faith Based advocacy involving multi-denominational organizations - outreach is in formative stage with focus on six at risk zip codes - that will be underway by end of 2005. On advocacy front, Lara Nochomovitz has been active in Columbus educating legislators, as they have shocking lack of understanding of this issue - there is a fund provided in recent state legislation that establishes support for lead issues but it is not funded - speaks of Ohio Department of Development loan program that address building improvements but it is not effective - there are $12 million in fund for energy issues and may be able to get $4 million focused on lead, e.g. replacement windows.

All in mix together. Why get involved? Make lead poison reduction a strength of out local economy - bring more resources toward rehab - incentives for community organizations to get involved - dollars and jobs created. Invite others to get involved

Q. What are six zip codes that are high risk

A. See http://ehw.org for statistics

Q. What labs do lead analysis

A. State has procedures for how labs are authorized to do heavy metal analysis - City of Cleveland lab does over 12,000/year - also University Hospital and Kaiser

Q. Dr Brown said they were able in Boston and NY to reduce repeat offenders. How

A. Having law to allow parents to insure lead safety in homes before level is elevated - have had this since 1960s - tenant calls health department and has inspection before problems. Dr. Brown says in her studies she analyzed units with lead problems and tracked over 5 years - if there is a problem once you will see it repeat - she found four children in 5 years poisoned in the same unit. Anticipate the problem and build a reservoir of safe housing

Q. Dr. who has practiced pediatrics since mid-1960s says this is a partisan issue - there is heated debate about lead and there are people who see this as economic issue rather than health issue

A. There are reasons to be skeptical but HUD has increased funding - there is an advocacy piece in program, required in grant from St. Luke's

Q. Bob Saffo is president of group of minority contractors - he has not been involved in dealing with lead recently because there has not been leadership commitment to abatement - get everyone engaged to the level of abatement contractors - get to root of this - who is going to do the work

A. Second last section of the plan is workforce component to train more local contractors - without involvement of contractors it won't work. Need to have meetings to formulate message to them