Clinical and Community Solutions to Lead-Free Children

Identifying children with elevated blood lead levels in Milwaukee

Full Project Name:Clinical and Community Solutions to Lead-Free ChildrenPrincipal Investigator:David Nelson, PhD, MS, Family MedicineAward Amount:$400,000
Award Date
October2020
Project Duration:36 months

Project Description Narrative:


Environmental lead is a harmful risk in urban low-income neighborhoods, with the primary source of lead poisoning being deteriorating paint in homes. However, lead may also be present in soil around buildings, dust in the air, and water through lead plumbing or laterals. In Milwaukee, the highest lead levels are found in old housing stock occupied by those in poverty. Children with high blood lead levels experience increased risk for learning and developmental disabilities, behavioral challenges, and growth delay. Prevention of lead poisoning involves the identification and mitigation of lead hazards in the child's environment.

Through this award, project partners will aim to improve the identification of children with elevated blood lead levels and increase the connectedness between the clinical enterprise, the City of Milwaukee Health Department, community response, and parental engagement following a positive lead test in order to mitigate ongoing lead exposures and decrease lead poisoning.

Project Updates:


  • Using data analysis and interviews to develop partnerships and work with policymakers to develop policy and procedural recommendations to mitigate ongoing lead exposures and decrease lead poisoning
  • Partnered with COLE (Coalition on Lead Emergency), a comprehensive and reliable lead messaging resource, on lead testing and the effects of lead poisoning for the City of Milwaukee
  • Hosted two webinars focused on the clinical and community perspectives and an overview on the history of lead in Milwaukee

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