Tribal Indoor Air Quality Programs in the Spotlight
The following tribal IAQ champions graciously shared their stories so that others can better serve their communities. Read on to learn how these stellar programs overcame challenges to form successful IAQ initiatives.
The Navajo Nation EPA Radon Program
The Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency (NNEPA) Radon Program serves as a liaison between several governmental and tribal organizations to address uranium contamination. In addition, the radon program focuses on educating students and teachers in Navajo immersion schools on the importance of testing for radon and other issues associated with poor indoor air quality. Their ability to bring the right people together and engage the community effectively has led to this program's successes.
The Tribal IAQ Summit Workgroup
The Tribal IAQ Summit Workgroup uses a collaborative approach to increase the impact of tribes’ efforts to manage indoor air quality and improve community health for tribes in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Tulalip Tribes Indoor Air Program
The Tulalip Tribes Indoor Air Program launched the Healthy Homes Working Group, an initiative of tribes in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska that focuses on effective asthma control and environmental interventions in their communities.
The Bois Forte Indoor Air Quality Program
The Bois Forte Indoor Air Quality Program acted swiftly and aggressively to tackle mold and moisture problems in its community members’ homes after several residents became ill as a result of environmental exposures. Their hard work and strategic planning shaped a nationally-recognized IAQ program that has achieved outstanding, measurable impacts for its community's health.
The Native Asthma Intervention & Reduction (AIR) Asthma Education Program
The Native AIR Asthma Education Program began in 2006 to help tribal families in seven Montana reservations learn about asthma, asthma triggers, and how to prevent or control asthma. They created interactive educational materials to help children learn to visually identify triggers in their environment and track their progress. For their caregivers, the program created information about how to identify what environmental factors trigger their children’s asthma, and how to manage those environmental triggers. With a grant through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the reservations’ Project Community Leaders have formed strong partnerships with youth-focused organizations and agencies, hold educational area meetings for youth and adults, and post upcoming events on the program's Website to spearhead their efforts to raise awareness about the management of environmental asthma triggers.
Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals
The Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) is working to address IAQ in schools by helping schools in their implementation of the program and facilitate learning through IAQ training. ITEP offers training workshops for teachers about IAQ, performs building assessments, and gives students internship opportunities in the area of IAQ maintenance and management with tribal environmental professionals. These efforts will help prepare the next generation of IAQ leaders and champions for tribal communities.
This work began when an ITEP member selected IAQ as a theme for a summer program attended by middle and high school level students. The program involved students coming to campus for a week of intensive learning based on an IAQ curriculum developed by Oregon State and was intended to introduce students to career-oriented approaches to a particular problem or issue. It also emphasized the scientific skills of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data, and added a service component in the form of a short internship program. Students, and tribal professionals serving as student mentors, received training and then visited schools to take basic IAQ measurements.
Though at first students were skeptical of IAQ as a topic, they quickly became interested. Teachers liked the idea of improving their schools and tribal professionals felt the program expanded their skill set.
- To get a closer look at ITEP’s program, visit the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals website Exit.
- Check out the Environmental Education Outreach Program Exit to view the resources for students, education services, and tribal professionals
- ITEP also provides information about