Internship Testimonial: Keven Cabrera, MD Student

Keven Cabrera is a 4th year medical resident at Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell.  “I completed a month long elective with NYSCEHC and the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit at Mount Sinai and it exceeded my expectations. Earlier in my schooling I had decided I wanted to combine my passion for environmental sciences with my passion for medicine and was able to find the amazing faculty at Mount Sinai to help me figure out how. Beyond learning about how intricately our environment, both built and natural, intertwines with children’s health, I learned about how to formulate healthcare messages in an effective way, how to work within government to enact change, and how to work alongside communities to protect children’s health. From local public health projects to providing expert recommendations to NYC Council and attending EPA meetings, everyone I met was excited to get me involved and, most importantly, to teach me applicable knowledge and skills for my future career. The elective was something I had planned on participating in prior to medical school, after I met a few of the physicians at a local meeting, and I am so glad I had the opportunity. I know that I will use everything I learned regardless of the path I take in medicine and that I have made life long connections to help me along the way.”

Internship Testimonial: Desmond Green MD, MPH Student

“My name is Desmond Green and I am currently a rising second year MD/MPH dual degree candidate at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. My experience at the NYS Children’s Environmental Health Center and Region 2 PEHSU was more than I could have ever hoped for. For the first time since starting medical school I feel like I started to see how as a future pediatrician, I could use my voice to enact real change in the community I serve. Moreover, having worked with many mentors who have both their MD and MPH, I saw how one can synthesize both their public health and medical training to better service their population. The tangible tools I have gained at the Center and the PEHSU will stay with me for the rest of my time as a practicing physician and for that I am eternally grateful.

The internship offered me a plethora of unique and varied opportunities to see not only how public health can inform our society, but also the process it takes to reach said point. Most importantly, the team members of the Center/PEHSU reminded me why I went into medicine in the first place and the importance of surrounding yourself with people who care. I have never been apart of such a loving and accepting team, to each other and to me; I felt both valued and heard. Seeing how tirelessly everyone else worked to make a difference, made me want to do the same and made me excited to wake up and go into the office everyday. Interning at Mount Sinai was an invaluable experience and I highly recommend it to those that have even a slight interest in pediatric environmental health. In moving forward, I hope to bring the tools and knowledge I’ve gained to start similar initiatives in Miami.”

Mold Overview

Mold is a common concern that parents contact us about.  When moisture or water damage is not quickly and effectively fixed, mold can grow indoors.  This can occur in homes, schools, and daycares. When mold appears in a child’s environment, parents want to know if the mold can affect their child’s health, and what next steps should be taken.

Our team of environmental pediatricians has created resources that address the most common questions we get from parents when mold is found in a home or school.  Click on the links to the right to download.

Here are some highlights:

What is mold?

Mold (a type of “fungus”) is widely found outdoors and can grow indoors in damp or water damaged areas.

Can mold make my family sick?

The most common health effects of mold exposure are allergies (“hay fever”) and asthma attacks in those with asthma who are sensitive to mold.

There have been scary stories in the news about “black mold”. Should I be worried if this was found in my home?

The presence of mold, including stachybotrys or “black mold”, does not mean that your child will get sick.

There is mold in my home. Should I test my home for mold levels?

If mold or water damage is seen or smelled, that is enough evidence to take action to safely remove the mold and fix the underlying water problem.

Should I get my child tested for mold?

Tests for mold “toxins” are not recommended; however, children with allergies or asthma may benefit from environmental allergy testing.

Is there a treatment for mold exposure?

The most important “treatment” is removing the mold and fixing the underlying water problem. Alternative treatments or detoxifications should be avoided. Children with asthma or allergies should be treated for those conditions by their pediatrician.

How can I prevent mold growth in my home?

The key to preventing mold is controlling indoor humidity levels and fixing water leak problems in your home.

What should I do if there is mold in my home?

The key is safe, swift, and effective remediation paired with controlling indoor humidity levels and fixing water leak problems in your home.

How can I work with my child’s school to prevent or address mold growth?

The keys to preventing mold at schools is to control indoor humidity levels and fix water leak problems in a safe and effective way. The EPA’s Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools program has guidelines for safe and effective prevention of mold and other hazards in schools. Share IAQ Tools for Schools resources with your school’s administration and encourage them to review the IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit and implement its practices in your school. Or contact the NY State Department of Health program “Clean, Green, & Healthy Schools” program.