Center for Indoor Environments and Health (CIEH)
The Center for Indoor Environments and Health has actively worked with school districts and State and Local Health Departments at specific school sites to improve the environment where the school building's condition has contributed to occupants experiencing concerning health symptoms.
Our services include guidance on:
- managing the problem and communicating the risk to the school community,
- tracking and evaluating the student's and staff health symptoms,
- assessing the building for causes of poor indoor air quality, and
- advising on engineering and technical resources that address remediation.
Our knowledge and perspective on the problems school communities face results not only from our consulting experience directly with school districts, but from our work for and with federal and state agencies. Programs have included guidance on Environmental Protection Agency Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools program, trainings customized for school nurses on illness and school environments, and guidance for clinicians on addressing health effects relating to mold/moisture in the indoor environment.
We were invited by the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering to participate in a critical review of indoor air pollution in schools requested by the Environment Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly that became a basis for the Indoor Air Quality in Schools Legislation passed in 2003.
Who We Are
The Center for Indoor Environments and Health staff includes:
- an environmental health specialist who directs the Center’s programs with strengths in environmental strategy and communications:
Paula Schenck, MPH;
- an occupational medicine specialist who evaluates patients in the UConn Occupational Medicine Diagnostic Clinic, Oluremi Aliyu, MD, MPH;
- an affiliated allergist who brings expertise on disease prevention, allergy and indoor exposures,
Robert DeBernardo, MD, MBA, MPH;
- an occupational physician and UConn professor emeritus,
Eileen Storey, MD, MPH, who provides guidance on educational programs.
We regularly collaborate with industrial hygienists and engineering firms with specialized expertise in building science.
Read about Services Provided to Schools
Paula Schenck, MPH
Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
University of Connecticut Health Center
The Exchange, 2nd Floor, Suite 262
270 Farmington Avenue, MC 6210
Farmington, CT 06032-6210
Click here for detailed driving directions and maps.
Last update: May 2, 2013
| April 30, 2013 - taped by CT-N at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.
Paula Schenck was invited to speak. Her talk is about 35 minutes into the program.
Click here to view the proceedings.
We are pleased to offer of an online course:
Patients present to primary care services with symptoms and health concerns that require consideration of environmental factors. In some cases, patients’ exposure to mold and moisture in their homes, offices, schools, and workplaces may be having a significant effect. This course includes guidance designed to help the healthcare provider address patients with illnesses related to mold in the indoor environment by providing background understanding of how mold may be affecting patients. With an appreciation of the time pressures in the clinical medical setting today, the course describes “tools” to help the provider evaluate the patient and help the practitioner explore environmental relationships to illness.
Each of the two course segments is designed to give the participant information on how to consider the environment when treating individuals or addressing situations with concerns over mold and moisture exposure. Although we recommend that participants take the complete course for a comprehensive understanding of the issue, one may select either segment. Each should take a maximum of three hours to complete.
In addition, each segment begins with one or two case situation(s) that we ask you to initially consider and then reconsider at the end of the program segment. Course materials include tools for patient documentation and identification of appropriate resources for patients and the practitioner.
- “Mold Basics and Health Effects from Exposure to Mold and Moisture Indoors” addresses mold ecology and identifies illnesses of concern.
- “An Approach to Clinical Care and Utilizing Environmental Information”- provides detailed guidance to: identify and treat illnesses; and interpret environmental reports where mold and moisture in the indoor environments are significant contributors to disease.
Each segment includes video presentations, an interactive case discussion based on experience at the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Clinic at the nn Health Center and a short question set.
Climate Change, Indoor Air Quality and Health
EPA's Indoor Environments Division commissioned a report that addresses climate change, indoor air quality, and health. Topics addressed include green buildings, public health, and consideration of the
training needs of professional communities on buildings and health issues.
Authors: Paula Schenck,MPH; A.Karim Ahmed,PhD; Anne Bracker, MPH, CIH; Robert DeBernardo, MD,
Published August, 2010.
Hartford Neighborhood Healthy Homes Project
The Center for Indoor Environments and Health is a partner on the Connecticut Children's Medical Center's Neighborhood Healthy Homes Project in Hartford, CT. Funding for the project is provided by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This innovative environmental health program focuses on safety, lead hazards, and contributors to asthma symptoms. The series of draft checklists available here were developed to aid the project’s community partners, the Blue Hills Civic Association and the Christian Activities Council, in assessing home environments.
For more information about the checklists and/or to comment about experience you may have with these checklists, contact Nancy Simcox or Paula Schenck.
10th Annual National EPA Tools for Schools Symposium
January 14, 2010
L>R Dave Hill, Blue Valley School District (Kansas); Pam Clark, Hartford Public Schools (CT); Eugene Benoit, EPA-Region 1; Paula Schenck, University of CT Health Center (CT); Gina McCarthy, EPA Assistant Administrator Office of Air and Radiation; Tom Kelly, Director EPA Indoor Environments Division
Over the last four years, Dave Hill, Pam Clark, and Paula Schenck have served as faculty mentors for the Tools for Schools program. Gina McCarthy served as Commissioner for Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP) from 2004-2009.
A pilot program, "Tools for Techs," addresses the unique indoor air quality issues found in Technical High Schools and the traditional high schools that teach technologies.
2008 United States Environmental Protection Agency National Excellence Award Winner! The CT team was recognized by the EPA on Dec. 1, 2008 for it's outstanding work.
For physicians and other health care providers faced with a rapidly growing number of patients troubled by indoor contaminants, link to this resource, entitled "Guidance for Clinicians on the Recognition and Management of Health Effects related to Mold Exposure and Moisture Indoors", published by the Center for Indoor Environments and Health at UConn Health Center.
Read our book online
Guidance for Clinicians on the Recognition and Management of Health Effects related to Mold Exposure and Moisture Indoors
Clinician's Guide book order form
(Acrobat Reader 6.0 or 7.0 required)
Clinician's Guide book order form in MS Word