Luncheon, Block Party Bring Awareness to Omaha Lead Testing Initiative

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Nebraska Methodist College, Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance and the Douglas County Health Department are promoting their ongoing lead testing collaboration with a series of events that support healthy living and provide family entertainment.

Nebraska Methodist College

Nebraska Methodist College

Many in our community are of the mistaken assumption that lead poisoning is a problem that we’ve moved past, but the scandal in Flint, Mich., and the results I’ve seen with my own eyes show that there’s still work to be done.

Following a morning press conference on Monday, Oct. 24 featuring Congressman Brad Ashford, Nebraska Methodist College (NMC) will host a luncheon and block party designed to bring further awareness to the work being done for those impacted by hazardous lead in the Omaha community.

Kick-off events for National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (Oct. 24-28):

10 a.m.: Brad Ashford press conference at lead-affected home. Hosted by Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance. Address available by request.
Noon: Nebraska Methodist College luncheon featuring keynote speaker Michelle Miller, United States Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control. Representatives from OHKA, NMC, Douglas County, and City of Omaha will share information on the initiatives in the Omaha community.
5 p.m.: Sherman Elementary Block Party. Family activities, community groups, free food and prizes.

Background and Event Details:

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week starts October 24, and Omaha stands at the forefront of efforts to help kids become free of the dangerous substance.

Through a partnership with Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance (OHKA) and the Douglas County Health Department, students and faculty have spent months conducting tests of those children deemed most at-risk for lead poisoning, providing a bridge to get them the assistance they need.

Congressman Brad Ashford hosts a 10 a.m. press conference from one of the very homes affected by lead poisoning, a home that has been transformed into a safe environment thanks to the work of these groups. The press conference officially kicks off the Lead Free in Five campaign sponsored by the OHKA.

Following the press conference, a luncheon at Nebraska Methodist College will feature Michelle Miller, Deputy Director of the Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control, as the keynote speaker. She will discuss the issue of lead poisoning on the national stage and the example being set here in Omaha. She will be followed by representatives of various groups all focused on making Omaha a lead-free community.

Later in the evening, Sherman Elementary School is the site of a block party made possible by Nebraskans for Civic Reform. A variety of community organizations is on hand to offer free food, entertainment and prizes for adults and children alike. NMC’s own Mobile Diabetes Center will provide lead testing and other services, including diabetes screening, glucose monitoring and more.

“For months, we’ve been working with truly fantastic people throughout Omaha who really care about the wellbeing of these kids,” said Echo Perlman, assistant professor and coordinator of the Nebraska Methodist College lead testing initiative. “Many in our community are of the mistaken assumption that lead poisoning is a problem that we’ve moved past, but the scandal in Flint, Mich., and the results I’ve seen with my own eyes show that there’s still work to be done. We need to make sure this issue never gets overlooked, as the results can be catastrophic to a child’s long-term health.”

Children and families of Sherman Elementary and other nearby schools are all invited to take in the block party from 5 to 7 p.m.

About Nebraska Methodist College
The Omaha, Nebraska-based Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing and Allied Health – the Josie Harper Campus has been teaching the meaning of care for 125 years and counting. An affiliate of Methodist Health System, NMC offers certificate, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees both on campus and online. Nebraska Methodist College is fully accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

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Marc Costanzo
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