Christina Sobin, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences in UTEP’s College of Health Sciences, has been awarded a $699,911 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to prevent and respond to elevated blood lead levels in children by educating their caregivers on identifying and mitigating lead hazards in their homes.
Sobin will lead the project with co-principal investigators Carla Campbell, M.D., director of UTEP’s Master of Public Health Program; William Hargrove, Ph.D., director of UTEP’s Center for Environmental Resource Management (CERM); and Ganga Hettiarachchi, Ph.D., professor of soil and environmental chemistry at Kansas State University.
The research team plans to eventually develop a manual-based strategy for efficiently identifying clusters of children currently exposed to lead in El Paso neighborhoods and motivating and assisting families to mitigate identified lead sources.
Through community engagement and education, they aim to substantially reduce children’s exposure to lead in El Paso and beyond.
“There has been great success in lowering higher levels of lead exposure in children, but there continues to be the serious problem of early chronic lower-level lead exposure,” Sobin explained. “In some ways, this is a harder problem to solve. Recent studies have estimated that there are literally hundreds of thousands of children nationwide being exposed every year, and no one has figured out yet how to manage this problem. We think we may have an approach that could work in El Paso, and maybe in other cities as well.”
UTEP is one of seven universities and public health organizations nationwide that received a grant from HUD’s Lead and Healthy Homes Technical Studies Grant Program on October 2, 2018.
HUD awarded a total of $6.7 million in grants to improve methods for identifying and controlling residential health risks, including lead-based paint, mold, secondhand tobacco smoke, and other indoor contaminants.
For information about HUD’s Lead and Healthy Homes Technical Studies Grant Program, click here.