Primary Prevention Starts with Moms

Elise Miller, MEd

Why would a group of moms from around the country and varied ethnic backgrounds choose to spend almost three days together learning about environmental health science? As one participant in CHE’s new Environmental Health Primary Prevention Training program, put it: “Every mom is already devoted to prevention. We want keep our kids from getting sick and having any health problems. So of course we want to prevent exposures that could hurt our kids and communities. We’re moms—together we can do anything.”

Held at the Commonweal retreat center in northern California last week and co-sponsored by Making Our Milk Safe (MOMS), this workshop was offered to 12 women, chosen from over 50 applicants. The participants had the opportunity to learn some basic environmental health science from experts in the field. In addition, the meeting offered time for trainees to reflect on how they might apply their new knowledge—from making their homes, schools and communities healthier to pressing for chemical policy reform on state and national levels. What was particularly striking to me about this training was not only how eagerly these women absorbed the scientific information, but how significantly they touched each other on a personal level as well. By sharing their stories of heartache and courage, they made the connection between the science they were learning and the implications for their everyday lives and their children’s future. These moms left the training clearly inspired and ready to make primary prevention not only their personal priority, but a priority for their communities and beyond. For more information on CHE’s Environmental Health Primary Prevention Trainings, please see

Of course, environmental factors that influence health are not only a concern for women of child-bearing years and their children, but for all of us. In this light, CHE is very pleased to host our next national CHE partnership call this Friday, March 11 entitled, “Healthy Aging Starts at Conception: Promoting Health Across the Lifespan.” This call will feature aspects of the scientific basis for CHE’s new Healthy Aging Initiative in relation to the science underlying CHE’s Initiative on Children’s Environmental Health. To reserve a place on this call, please see

With warm wishes to all as the days lengthen in a prelude to Spring.

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