Connections Newsletter
Spring 2014 - Tribal Healthy Homes Network
Highlights of noteworthy practices and programs from our coalition tribes and partners.
This month we are profiling the Makah woodshed program. We applaud them for taking steps to promote the use of cured wood, and in turn, lower emissions of toxic particles and gases. We'd also like to recognize EPA for creating the equipment loan program we are profiling here. These diagnostic tools can be used to measure airborne hazards, indoor or outdoor, and inform people about risks such as woodsmoke.   


Doug Sternback, Air Quality Specialist with the Makah Tribe, shares information about their woodshed program.
We build and deliver freestanding woodsheds to tribal elders and seniors relying on wood heat in our community. We started this program in 2009, and so far 55 woodsheds have been distributed. Our current goal is to produce a minimum of 5 woodsheds per year and with any luck up to 15 per year. The program has been a big success and our hope is to continue so we can reach more households, with funding locally or otherwise." Click to read more


Gary Olson talks about loaning indoor air monitoring tools for
 healthy home activities.
"We have a new air quality equipment loan program that allows tribes in WA, OR, and ID to investigate air quality concerns in their communities. The portable equipment can measure indoor and outdoor air pollutants including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, PM2.5, VOCs, and humidity. There is no cost to tribes, so it’s a great way for them to try these monitors without using any grant money." Click to read more

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  • Essentials for Healthy Homes Practioners Course, April 14-15, 2014 in Oregon City, OR. Learn about the connection between health and housing and how to identify and resolve problems which threaten the health and wellbeing of residents. Register and more info here.
  • IAQ Training Opportunity:  Indoor Air Quality in Tribal Communities, Level 1, hosted by ITEP in Flagstaff, AZ, June 10-13, 2014. This entry-level course is designed to provide an understanding of common indoor air quality (IAQ) problems in tribal homes and schools. 
  • National Tribal Forum on Air Quality, May 13-15, 2014, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Anacortes, WA. More info here.
  • National Healthy Homes Conference: May 28-30, 2014 in Nashville, TN. We encourage tribal housing departments to consider sending a representative to this event – the largest gathering of health and housing professionals.
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  • Mold, Mice, and Zip Codes: Inside the Childhood Asthma Epidemic. NBC News article and Dateline episode on the link between poverty and asthma. Click here to read the article and view Dateline's "Breathless".
  • The Secret Life of Soot. This short, creative video illustrates how and why particulate matter from diesel (and its carbon-based byproducts) present serious risk. Click here to watch.
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DID YOU KNOW?  ...facts about woodsmoke 

...that EPA estimates that a single fireplace operating for an hour and burning 10 pounds of wood will generate 4,300 times more cancer-causing PAHs than 30 cigarettes?

...that the University of Washington showed that 50 to 70 percent of the outdoor levels of wood smoke were entering homes that were not burning wood? (Larson et al., 2004) EPA did a similar study in Boise, Idaho, with similar results.

 ...small changes in burning practices can make a big difference in lowering the amount and toxicity of woodstove emissions? One way to promote clean-burning practices is to run a short video on your cable channel, and post it to your website. We've got a few highlighted on our woodsmoke resource webpage.  

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New members have asked, what is the THHNW coalition all about?

Gillian Mittelstaedt, Program Director of THHNW has some answers: Our goal is to promote healthy tribal homes, families and communities, by bridging tribes with one another, and by serving as a clearinghouse for technical support, program guidance, resources, and funding. We encourage participants to become a member of our tribally-led coalition to receive regular notices about training, research and funding opportunities.

What exactly is a “healthy home program”? There is no one set “healthy home” program or path. Rather, the work you are already doing is the right path, when you approach that work with a healthy home perspective. For example, inspecting a home with specific interest in improving ventilation, communicating good maintenance practices to residents, or working with health care staff to identify and refer higher-risk families.

Who should run healthy home activities? Housing departments, air and environment professionals, health care providers, and residents all have a role to play in promoting healthy tribal homes. We look forward to working with you!

Click here to become a THHNW member.

Gillian Mittelstaedt, Program Director, 206.512.3293

Rachel Koller, Resource Coordinator, 862.324.6255 





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spacer (1K)Ask any questions about woodsheds, or the IAQ tool loan program highlighted here. Doug and Gary will be fielding questions during the Connections Call. Join us! 

Monday March 31, 11am (PDT)

  • Call number: 877.435.7252
  • access code: 3293
  • no registration required 


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  • Check out THHNW's Healthy Home Resource Guide online.  Examples of training, assessment tools, outreach activities, and funding opportunities specific to tribes.
  • Healthy Home Funding panel presentations from AFE 2014 are now online here.
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