McGowan Institute faculty member Jay Kolls, MD, chief of the Division of Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, is the principal investigator of a $12.8 million National Institutes of Health grant to improve the diagnosis/treatment of chronic lung disease. He is also preparing to introduce environmental approaches to disease management in pediatric clinics. His effort, along with those of several others, helped Children’s Hospital receive 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. Children’s Hospital received the award for its environmental accomplishments and was 1 of only 10 organizations to receive this honor.
Jonathan Weinkle, MD, a resident at Children’s spearheaded the overall efforts at the hospital. In addition to Dr. Kolls’ initiative, the overall program includes:
§ 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.
§ Establishing 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.
§ 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.
This program represents the clinical piece of Children’s goal of becoming a “green” hospital, a goal actively pursued in both the construction of the new hospital campus in Lawrenceville, and the “greening” of daily operations in the current hospital.
The 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.
Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Children’s Hospital Press Room (10/17/07)