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National Healthy Homes Partnership moves to MU Extension

Media contact:

Curt Wohleber
Writer
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 573-882-5409
Email: WohleberC@missouri.edu

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014

Story source:

Michael Goldschmidt, 573-884-0905

COLUMBIA, Mo.– Michael Goldschmidt, University of Missouri Extension housing and environmental design specialist and MU teaching assistant professor in architectural studies, has been appointed national program director of the Healthy Homes Partnership, a federally funded initiative to reduce health and safety hazards in American homes.

“The condition of a home has a direct connection with the health of its occupants,” Goldschmidt says.

Americans spend on average about 70 percent of their time at home. Safety hazards, contaminants, mold, pests and other problems can have a dramatic effect on health, well-being and quality of life for a home’s residents, he says.

The Healthy Homes Partnership (HHP), which is funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, began in 2000. Goldschmidt’s job will be to coordinate curriculum and training throughout the Unites States and coordinate states receiving HHP grants for outreach, education and research.

Goldschmidt assumed his new duties in October following the retirement of the previous national program director, Laura Booth of Auburn University. “I have big shoes to fill,” Goldschmidt says.

While the Healthy Homes Partnership may not be a household name, it has played an important role in creating awareness and spurring action to address household health and safety hazards through a variety of channels, including publications, guides, workshops, posters, videos and social media, he says. HHP has also worked to facilitate communication among state and federal agencies, educators and others involved in home health and safety issues.

“The Healthy Homes Partnership has reached out to millions of Americans and made a substantial difference,” Goldschmidt said.

He notes that injury, illness and disability linked to housing quality also exact a huge economic toll in medical bills, lost productivity and other direct and indirect expenses. Programs that persuade residents to take relatively simple steps such as installing smoke detectors, removing mold, pests, allergens and asthma triggers, and eliminating fire and safety hazards provide a good return on investment.

HHP partners, including many state cooperative extension services, have developed programming and materials aimed at a variety of target audiences, including older Americans, child care providers, renters, Native American communities, residents in rural areas and public housing occupants.

The partnership will soon be rolling out a new healthy homes toolkit. Developed at Montana State University with contributions from MU Extension and other institutions, the toolkit is a training project for designers, home health care specialists, teachers and others.

MU will be issuing a request for proposals for a new round of sub-grants to land-grant universities to develop educational materials and conduct training and other outreach activities.

“Help Yourself to a Healthy Home,” a 56-page guide for families developed by the Healthy Homes Partnership, is available for free download at http://1.usa.gov/1x22kFk.

Sidebar: The eight characteristics of a healthy home

  1. Dry
  2. Clean
  3. Pest-free
  4. Safe
  5. Contaminant-free
  6. Well-ventilated
  7. Well-maintained
  8. Comfortable