Wampanoag of Gay Head Health Service, Aquinnah, Massachusetts
The Wampanoag Health Service, Aquinnah, Massachusetts, project complements the Wampanoag Environmental Life Learning (WELL) initiative and will identify environmental hazards in the home, take actions to resolve the hazard, educate tribal members on the importance of having a safe home environment, and develop an ongoing Healthy Home program so the hazard does not repeat itself.
Project partners include the following:
- Aquinnah Board of Health
- Chilmark Board of Health
- Dukes County
- Edgartown Board of Health
- Martha’s Vineyard Hospital
- Martha’s Vineyard Medical Reserve Corps
- Oak Bluffs Board of Health
- Tisbury Board of Health
- West Tisbury Board of Health
- A summer intern was hired to assist with initial Environmental Health Program projects and development and to begin capacity-building efforts.
- Consultants were hired under contract from the Harvard School of Public Health to provide training and education related to environmental health issues.
- Consultants conducted a training seminar for the Wampanoag Health Staff on a variety of topics related to environmental health as it pertains to housing issues.
- In conjunction with the Tribal Department of Natural Resources, which has a lead testing lab, a lead intervention was conducted when a positive lead reading was obtained in one of the tribal homes. The intervention resulted in a health evaluation of the family as well as remediation efforts to correct the issue.
- Initial home assessments were made in several tribal homes that are representative of the type of construction in the area so that we could begin to develop an assessment and prioritization tool. The resulting report will facilitate the development of this assessment tool. Each home will be scored individually, then prioritized as to severity of need and delivery of services required.
- An Environmental Health Coordinator was hired in September 2008.
- Environmental health information was distributed at the Wampanoag Tribe Youth Pow Wow.
- Plans have been made for the tribe to participate in a tularemia/Lyme disease study in partnership with CDC. Three hundred sixty-four letters were mailed to tribal members with an invitation to participate in the study in September 2008.
The Principal Investigator was mobilized and deployed to the Middle East from September 2007 to May 2008; little progress was made on the project during his absence. As a result, the Environmental Health Coordinator was not recruited and hired until after the Principal Investigator's return. The coordinator came on board in September 2008.
What Is Next
- Develop a training plan and provide the new Environmental Health Coordinator with current and relevant environmental health training.
- Introduce the Environmental Health Coordinator to tribal members through tribal meetings, functions, and the newsletter.
- Conduct the tularemia/Lyme disease study.
- Develop a plan for how to effectively communicate environmental health information (e.g., brochures, newsletter, seminars).
- Plan to have environmental health materials/information available at tribal functions.
- Develop a mold assessment tool and assistance program to facilitate remediation.
- Conduct environmental health training for tribal members via tribal social settings, seminars, meetings, and other culturally sensitive avenues.
- Reconduct the Protocol for Excellence in Environmental Health (PACE EH) survey to ascertain current and future direction for the Environmental Health Program.
Links and Products
In development Health Director: Ron MacLaren (508-645-9245, ext. 121; firstname.lastname@example.org)