National Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week
by Rebecca Morley
I had the good fortune to be working for Senator Jack Reed in 1999 when he introduced a resolution (S. Res 199) to establish National Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week in October. It is both ironic and sad that during the one week each year when we celebrate childhood lead poisoning prevention, we are simultaneously engaged in a battle to protect one of the key federal childhood lead poisoning prevention programs from evisceration.
Senator Reed continues to advocate for children’s environmental health. This month he introduced the Healthy Housing Council bill, and every year he asks appropriators to fully fund our lead and healthy homes programs. But, there are 99 other senators and 435 representatives who ultimately dictate our federal policy. Therefore, we are embarking on a national grassroots campaign to build a deeper bench of congressional support for our healthy homes and lead poisoning prevention programs. We hope you will join the campaign!
There are three steps that you can take—two of which are no-brainers. One is a heavier lift.
First, visit NCHH’s Legislative Action Center to write your senators and representative asking them not to agree to eliminate CDC’s Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. You can either send the message as an email or print an already-formatted letter to mail to all three congressional offices.
Second, when you visit the Legislative Action Center, click “Join the National Safe and Healthy Housing Coalition.” Joining the Coalition is free, and by joining you will stay abreast of important policy developments and strengthen our efforts.
Finally, and this is the big one, set up a meeting with your senators and representative when he or she is home for recess. These in-person meetings are what really count. Your face, your story, your facts—that’s what can get a policymaker pointed in the right direction. If you have a local meeting, please let us know how it went. Also, our policy director can provide all of the background documents and guidance that you will need to make the meeting a success.
Rebecca Morley directed the National Center for Healthy Housing from October 2002 to December 2014. While at NCHH, she led efforts to create safer and healthier environments for all people, with a special focus on children and communities that are disproportionately burdened by environmental public health risks. Ms. Morley is an experienced leader and manager with nearly 20 years of experience working in the government and nonprofit sectors. Ms. Morley earned a Master of Science in public policy from the Georgia Institute of Technology and graduated from the Achieving Excellence executive fellowship program of the Harvard Kennedy School. Skilled in strategy development, policy analysis, program evaluation, organizational development, communications, grant seeking, and grant making, she now serves the public health community as a professional consultant.