The New York State Children’s Environmental Health Network is the 1st statewide publicly funded network of Children’s Environmental Health Centers in the country with sites located at Children’s Hospitals in Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, Westchester, New York City and Long Island. Mount Sinai serves as the coordinating center (PI: Maida Galvez, MD, MPH, Co-PI: Perry Sheffield, MD, MPH and Medical Director: Lauren Zajac, MD, MPH). The mission of NYSCHECK is to prevent, diagnose, and treat environmentally related conditions for families across New York State. Pediatric EH champions across the state work together to protect and promote children’s health and the environment through clinical consultations, environmental health screening and referrals, education and training, and community partnerships. This includes:
- Providing evidence-based, clinical pediatric environmental health services for families and health care professionals including telephone consultations, telemedicine visits, and clinical visits.
- Working to routinely integrate environmental screening into routine well child care.
- Helping families to identify common environmental concerns and refering them to community resources such as home based services to reduce asthma triggers.
- Training health care professionals and trainees to incorporate environmental health into routine health care.
- Launching the NSYCHECK EH Scholars Program to train the next generation of leaders in children’s environmental health
- Educating families and communities about environmental health.
The NYSCHECK EH Scholars Program is led by Deborah Nagin, MPH (Former Director of the NYCDOHMH Healthy Homes Program) along with the Mount Sinai NYSCHECK Coordinating Center/PEHSU Faculty (Drs. Zajac, Sheffield and Galvez) and a diverse range of mentors both at their home institutions and throughout the Network. Additional mentors include Sophie Balk, MD (Editor of the AAP Handbook on Pediatric Environmental Health) and NYSCHECK Advisory Council Members consisting of regional partners including Region 2 CDC/ATSDR, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Clean and Healthy NY and others.
Core trainings encompass workplan development and project implementation, works in progress presentations, and seminars on principles of CEH, risk communication, and training in tailoring and implementation of EH E-Screening and the Rx for Prevention program. Scholars also field informational calls to receive firsthand training in responding to family and community concerns by crafting concise, evidence based messages. They participate in NYSCHECK/PEHSU case presentation seminars and join monthly NYSCHECK Network wide meetings. Scholar projects are featured in our NYSCHECK Annual Meeting.
The EH Scholars program is seen as one of the greatest impacts of our NYSCHECK Network as it supports future leaders in the field who will serve as CEH champions at their respective institutions, dedicate their careers to CEH and forge new frontiers. The first cohort is already serving as go-to leaders locally and regionally and it has been amazing to witness the full cycle of growth. As one scholar shared: “I feel so fortunate to be a part of this program and for the opportunity to learn from a room filled with tremendous expertise and passion for the field of children’s environmental health,” -Dr. Amy Brown, Hudson Valley CEHC.