Healthy Homes

HUD Secretary's Award for Healthy Homes - 2016 Award Winners

Award for Healthy HomesThe U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, in partnership with the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), announces the annual Secretary’s Awards for Healthy Homes.

These awards recognize excellence in making indoor environments healthier through healthy homes research, education, and through program delivery, especially in diverse, low to moderate income communities.

The awards are presented at NEHA's Annual Educational Conference & Exhibition each year.


2016 Award Winners

Cross Program Coordination among Health, Environment, and Housing

Seattle Housing Authority, Yesler Terrace Breathe Easy Program in Seattle, Washington

Public Housing/Multifamily Supported Housing

Boston Housing Authority, Boston Residential Investigation on Green and Healthy Transitions (BRIGHT) in Boston, Massachusetts

Public Policy

California Healthy Homes Coalition/Regional Asthma Management Program in Oakland, California


2016 Press Releases and Announcements

2016 HUD Secretary's Award for Healthy Homes Winners Announced: Model programs from Massachusetts, Washington, and California awarded


2016 Award Review Panel

Thank you! The review panel volunteered their expertise and many hours of their time. 

Tara Gurge, NEHA Technical Advisor for General Environmental Health, Environmental Health Agent, Needham Health Dept., Needham, MA

Timothy James Murphy, PhD, REHS/RS, DAAS, NEHA Technical Advisor for Sustainability, Associate Professor and Dept. Chair, The University of Findlay, Findlay, OH

Stephan Ruckman, NEHA Technical Advisor for Schools, Environmental Health Manager, Worthington City Schools, Dublin, OH

Bob Uhrik, NEHA Technical Advisor for Radiation/Radon, Senior REHS, South Brunswick Township, Monmouth Junction, NJ

Robert Washam, MPH, RS, NEHA Technical Advisor for Land Use Planning and Design, Jensen Beach, FL

EH Topics: 


Radon is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that can cause lung cancer. Radon can accumulate to dangerous levels inside homes, schools, and other buildings. Radon can be tested for easily and if high levels are found, it can be removed at a relatively low cost

Radon is a naturally occuring gas and comes from the decay of Uranium in the ground. As Radon decays, it releases radioactive byproducts that are inhaled and can cause lung cancer. Radon is not only found in selected areas, but is found throughout the world. 


  • Is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers
  • Causes over 20,000 deaths per year in the U.S.
  • If you smoke and your home has a high radon level, your risk of lung cancer can increase

NEHA Radon Resources

Radon Data Standardization Webinar

Topics / Featured Speakers:

  • Radon Pilot Project, Michele Monti, MS, MPH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Radon Communications Toolkit, Holly Wilson, MHSE, CHES, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Radon Data Collection in Washington State, Tina Echeverria, PhD, Washington State’s Tracking Portal

View Radon Data Standardization Webinar

Environmental Health Saves Lives, Saves Money, and Protects Our Future

Environmental Health professionals ensure our air is safe by testing and mitigating radon in homes, schools and other buildings.


Built Environment and Climate Change

Built environment is the infrastructure of cities and towns that includes transportation, roadways, buildings, and land-use. Built environment design and development can help mitigate climate change, support adaptation, and improve environment and public health. The more resilient the built environment, the less impact from climate change.

Additional Resources:

Climate and Health

Climate Change and Environmental/Public Health

Climate change impacts health and is a significant threat. According to the Lancet Commission, “climate change could be the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.” The health effects from climate change will affect most populations especially those most vulnerable: children, elderly, those with chronic health issues, and those living in poverty. 

Additional Resources:

World Environmental Health Day Toolkit

World Environmental Health Day on September 26, 2016 GraphicSocial Media Toolkit for Environmental Health Day

World EH Day, September 26, 2016, NEHA will be working with IFEH to engage with the community on the issues of second and third hand tobacco exposure.

This toolkit provides a set of sample social media messages, animations and graphics, key data points and newsletter blurbs that participants and supporters of this campaign can use in their personal and institutional accounts to distribute and amplify messages.

World Environmental Health Day Talking Points

  • September 26, 2016 is World Environmental Health Day to recognize the importance of protecting the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink and play in.
  • People in all communities deserve these basic essentials – safe water, clean air, safe food – to enjoy a healthy life and live up to their full potential.
  • Communities benefit when qualified, trained, and competent environmental health professionals work with health care providers, officials, local leaders, and businesses to educate, monitor, and enforce standards for these critical air, food, and water necessities.
  • EH professionals work with communities to reduce exposure to toxins typically found in tobacco smoke through sampling, enforcement, and education.
  • Support smoke-free policies and the work of environmental health professionals who advocate for healthy communities.
  • Tobacco harms in more ways than one. Children and pets are particularly vulnerable to second and third hand smoke.

Learn More Tobacco and Environmental Health Implications


Social Media Messages 

10 Social Media Posts

  1. It's #WorldEHDay and @NEHAorg is bringing attention to the harmful effects of #ThirdHandSmoke and #SecondHandSmoke
  2. DYK that #ThirdHandSmoke is the residue from nicotine attached to dust & indoor surfaces and is inhaled & absorbed via skin? #WorldEHDay
  3. #ThirdHandSmoke is most dangerous to infants, children & pets, retweet & bring awareness for #WorldEHDay
  4. DYK that #ThirdHandSmoke is the residue from nicotine attached to indoor surfaces & absorbed via skin? #WorldEHDay
  5. DYK: Arsenic, lead, and carbon monoxide are all found in #ThirdHandSmoke
  6. As an EH Professional, you can be proud to help reduce the exposure of chemicals to the public from #ThirdHandSmoke
  7. #WorldEHDay is raising awareness of the negative effects of tobacco use and environmental health
  8. DYK: #SecondHandSmoke causes 41,000 deaths in the U.S. each year? Raise awareness for #WorldEHDay
  9. DYK: That tobacco-related deaths will result in 10-million deaths annually by 2020. #WorldEHDay #ThirdHandSmoke
  10. Smoking is on the decline, there is still work to be done. Thankfully, EH professionals are protecting the public.

Newsletter Blurbs

World EH Day is a way of bringing together the global public and environmental health community to focus on an issue that needs attention and awareness. On September 26, 2016 we are partnering with the International Federation of Environmental Health and the National Environmental Health Association to raise awareness about second and third hand tobacco use as well the way EH professionals deal with tobacco use and exposure to environmental hazards. Check out the links to learn more.

Additional Resources 

National Environmental Health Association (NEHA):

American Public Health Association (APHA)

National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)

Green and Healthy Homes Initiative

CDC in conjunction with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  



World Environmental Health Day on September 26, 2016 Graphic   
World Environmental Health Day on September 26, 2016 Graphic

Inforgraphic: 88 Million Americans exposed to second hand smokeInfographic: 5.6 Million Children will die early because of smoking   

Infographic: 2.5 million have died from second hand smoke
















Infographic on group exposure to second hand smoke





Environmental Health and Tobacco

Tobacco use causes 20% of cancer deaths worldwide, and it is estimated that tobacco-related deaths will result in 10-million deaths annually by 2020. We've come a long way since the mid-1900's in understanding the negative health effects of tobacco to smokers.

Health Effects

  • Tobaccos smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds are toxic and about 69 can cause cancer. 
  • Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. and causes over 438,000 deaths per year.
  • Secondhand smoke causes 41,000 deaths in the U.S. each year from heart disease and lung cancer.
  • While smoking is on the decline for both adults and students, there is still work to be done.

What Environmental Health Professionals are Doing

Environmental Health professionals conduct a variety of activities to control tobacco exposure, such as:

  • Investigate - Complaints and sample environments that may have unhealthy levels.
  • Enforce - Many municipalities across the county prohibit smoking in public places, so EH professionals enforce local codes, ordinances, and statutes restricting tobacco use. While there are not well-established exposure limits for tobacco smoke, there are many exposure limits for specific chemicals within tobacco smoke. Some of these chemicals have exposure limits for occupational settings.
  • Educate - Environmental Health agencies provide many educational resources and programs in awareness and tobacco cessation. They spearhead health campaigns to prevent illness and injury. Read about what local environmental health agencies are doing for their communities. 

Emerging Issues

NEHA Resources

Additional Resources

American Public Health Association (APHA)

Tobacco Use and Secondhand Smoke Exposure is High in Multiunit Housing Fact Sheet from CDCCenters for Disease Control (CDC) in conjunction with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  (EPA)

Green and Healthy Homes Initiative

National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)