Dr. Stephanie M. Chalupka, Worcester State University

Chalupka Receives Grant from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

June 10, 2009
By: WSU News

A three-year $897,000 grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development will aid Stephanie Chalupka (Nursing) and Dr. David Turcotte, of UMass Lowell, with their initiative Healthy Homes for All:  Improving Children’s Health in Diverse Communities.

ABSTRACT: A major challenge faced by current efforts to reach at-risk families with healthy homes messages and remediation is that among those groups most urgently needing these interventions and education are the highly diverse new immigrant groups in theUnited States.  The number of immigrant households is rapidly increasing, particularly where healthy homes problems are most acute, such as in inner cities and low income neighborhoods.  If healthy homes interventions are to be successful and sustainable, then we must discover better ways to reach these diverse groups.

The partnership proposing this project is highly experienced in working with diverse communities; the partnership brings together the outreach arm of the city’s only university, the housing authority, the largest CDC, multi-service community action agency and community health center, a first time home buyers education program and a multi-member faith-based organization.

The proposed demonstration draws on our team’s unique experience in developing cross-cultural healthy homes interventions and impacting the quality of housing to:

  1. Show how our institutional partners can further develop their capacity to improve residential environments of low income, diverse families with young asthmatic children by providing training and technical assistance to their staff.
  2. Show how interventions with these diverse families can lower exposures to in-home hazards and improve the health of children.
  3. Show how increased knowledge and capacity among our institutional partners, diverse first time home buyers and tenants leads to sustainable and healthy change and outcomes.

The planned demonstration will take place in Lowell, Massachusetts.  Lowell is an ideal community in which to test out these procedures because (a) the population is highly diverse and includes many different immigrant groups from Africa, Asia, and Central and South America, (b) the immigrant first time homeowner and landlord population is rapidly growing, (c) the quality of the housing stock suffers from chronic deficiencies, and (d) Lowell has a health infrastructure including a community health center that are strongly committed to addressing the health-related problems caused by poor housing conditions.

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