UCLA School of Public Health Field Studies Program


Community Health Sciences

Field Placement: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene – Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
Location:
New York, NY
Preceptor:
Danielle Greene, DrPH
Student Name: Chhandasi Pamina Bagchi
Year: 2005

From June through September of 2005, I worked as an intern at the New York City Department of Health, Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (LPPP). Within the LPPP, I worked in the Education and Community Partnerships Unit (ECPU) on various projects aimed at educating the public on issues related to lead poisoning, mainly regarding non-paint sources of lead exposure, such as traditional foods and medicines consumed in certain ethnic communities, charms and toys sold commercially, and imported ceramics.

My first project entailed drafting community-friendly lead alerts, meaning warnings of products containing excessive levels of lead. Using previously written internal staff alerts as templates along with additional background research, I tailored the alerts to match the approximate literacy level of the specific communities being targeted.

In addition to the lead alerts aimed at informing the public about unsafe products available on the market, I worked on a project aimed at informing providers about a practice that may put pregnant women and their fetuses at risk for developing lead poisoning. The behavior is known as pica, the compulsive consumption of non-nutritive substances, and I was asked to conduct research in the form of a literature review on this subject and summarize my findings.

Concurrent with my work on non-paint sources of lead exposure, I worked on a process evaluation project aimed at describing the various types of educational programs and outreach events conducted by ECPU staff and where they occur, analyzing how many people ECPU reaches per event type, and determining how well the ECPU is reaching its target audience. This information will inform future ECPU outreach strategy.

 

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