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News Releases

For Immediate Release

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Awards Children’s Hospital for Environmental Health Excellence

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC are two of only 10 organizations that received a 2007 Children’s Environmental Health Excellence Award for outstanding commitment to protecting children from environmental health risks. This award is given by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Children’s Health Protection and Environmental Education.

“This year’s 10 winners demonstrate strong commitment to children’s environmental health, and EPA is proud to be recognizing them for their dedication and leadership,” said William H. Sanders III, director of the National Center for Environmental Research. This year “marks the tenth anniversary of the Executive Order to protect children from environmental health risks and safety risks and provides EPA an opportunity to rededicate itself to ensuring that children have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink and safe food to eat.”

Jonathan Weinkle, MD, a resident at Children’s who spearheaded the efforts at the hospital, accepted the award on behalf of the hospital at a ceremony in Washington, DC, last week.

Children’s received the award for its environmental accomplishments, which include: sponsoring hosting a Children’s Environmental Health Conference, which focused on significant pediatric environmental health matters such as neuro-cognitive issues involving heavy metals exposure; environmental exposures and cancer; and environmental exposures and newborn outcomes.

Children’s also has established for residents a required, CME-accredited noon lecture series (Lunch ‘n Learn), which focuses on environmental health issues and other timely topics. This series is run with the assistance of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute – Center for Environmental Oncology.

In addition, Jay Kolls, MD, chief of Children’s Division of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, and principal investigator of a $12.8 million National Institutes of Health grant to improve the diagnosis/treatment of chronic lung disease, is preparing to introduce environmental approaches to disease management in pediatric clinics. And, Dr. Weinkle is collaborating with physicians in Children’s General Academic Pediatrics Division to offer families guidance in establishing a safe home environment. One component of this program involves screening patients for environmental toxins.

“Children’s strongly believes in the link between children’s health and their environment. Our intent is to incorporate environmental health into everything we do – from daily housekeeping to scientific research,” said Dena Hofkosh, MD, director, Children’s Pediatric Residency Program. “We continue to develop programs to help raise awareness about the importance of protecting children in our community from environmental risks and our example illustrates that taking action is the most effective means to keeping our children healthy.”

This program represents the clinical piece of Children’s goal of becoming a ‘green’ hospital, a goal actively pursued by hospital President and CEO Roger Oxendale, in both the construction of the new hospital campus in Lawrenceville, and the ‘greening’ of daily operations in the current hospital. EPA established the Children’s Health Program in May 1997 to make the protection of children’s health a fundamental goal of public health and environmental protection in the United States.

With support from the Heinz Endowments, Magee has developed an Environmental Health Initiatives education plan with the goal of providing continuing education and support for nursing, pediatric and obstetric providers in children's environmental health.

The aim of the initiatives at Magee is to train them to educate childbearing families about the environmental factors that can impact the health of fetuses, newborns and young children. The first phase of the education plan included educating the Magee "green team," representatives from all hospital departments providing leadership for the project in the science of environmental health.

The ongoing plan includes grand rounds, roundtables, workshops and conferences. “While we at Magee are honored by this recognition from the Environmental Protection Agency, the real winners are the families of Pittsburgh, who are learning important information about the links between the environment we live in and our children’s health,” said Leslie C. Davis, president at CEO, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC.

About Magee
Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC is a full-service women's hospital and now has expanded to include a range of services to men and women: diagnostic imaging including CT and MRI, a Heart Center, bariatric surgery, orthopaedics, digestive disorders, pulmonology, thoracic surgery, minimally invasive abdominal surgery, and vascular surgery. Recognized as a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Magee serves as the teaching facility for obstetrics, gynecology, gynecologic oncology, and neonatology for the University of Pittsburgh. Members of our medical staff hold academic appointments at the university and are actively involved in education and research, as well as patient care.

Learn more about Magee-Womens Hospital.

About Children’s
Renowned for its outstanding clinical services, research programs and medical education, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC has helped establish the standards of excellence in pediatric care. From Ambulatory Care to Transplantation and Cardiac Care, talented and committed pediatric experts care for infants, children and adolescents who make more than 500,000 visits to Children’s and its many neighborhood locations each year.

Children’s also has been named consistently to several elite lists of pediatric health care facilities, including ranking seventh among children’s hospitals (FY 2005) in funding provided by the National Institutes of Health, and is named one of the best pediatric hospitals in the United States by U.S. News & World Report and Child magazine.

Learn more about Children’s Hospital.
Learn more about the 2007 Children’s Environmental Health Excellence Award.

Contacts:

Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919 or 412-692-5016, Marc.Lukasiak@chp.edu
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5502 or 412-692-5016, Melanie.Finnigan@chp.edu

Last Update
August 20, 2012
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Last Update
August 20, 2012
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