MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ms. Jacqueline Chiofalo, MPA
Director of Policy Research & Analysis
The Institute for Family Health
Astoria, New York
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Exposure to lead is dangerous and has been banned from use in residential dwellings. However, residual sources of lead still exist. Few studies have examined pediatric lead poisoning between public (NYCHA) and private housing units, and no recent studies performed in New York City. Our study used retrospective chart analysis of routine child lead testing to examine the difference in blood lead levels between the two housing types.
Our data showed that children seen in our health centers who lived in New York City public housing had significantly lower mean blood lead levels and fewer children were found with levels over the CDC reference range of 5 μg/dL compared to children who lived in private housing.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Children who lived in public housing had 92% lower odds of having elevated blood lead levels compared to children who lived in private housing. Additionally, decreases in elevated blood lead levels were observed over time, suggesting the effectiveness of local lead reduction legislation.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: This study needs to be replicated across the entire city. Our data was concentrated to areas where the Institute for Family Health has health centers with a majority of children living in Manhattan and the Bronx. In addition, a future study should capture information on the age of each housing unit, as older units may have deteriorating layers of lead-contaminated paint as well as residual lead in pipes.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: This study shows how community health centers can use electronic health records to identify and follow emerging and critical public health issues and disparities. Valuable evidence collected from EHRs can help identify emerging and existing problems and develop more effective public health interventions.
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