KCUR News
11:01 am
Thu May 12, 2011

Children's Health Center to Focus on Environment-Related Illnesses

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Children's Mercy Hospital has opened a new center for environmental health. The head of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, joined local health leaders yesterday for the announcement.

Dr. Jennifer Lowry is medical director of the new center and says it will better coordinate already existing hospital programs, like home assessments for children with asthma and environment-related drug research. The center will also operate a clinic focused on identifying and caring for kids with environmental exposures to substances like lead.

Dr. Lowry says she was encouraged to hear Administrator Jackson emphasize the connection between the environment and children's health during her visit to the hospital.

"The focus of children has not been part of EPA. In addition, health hasn't been a focus of the EPA," says Dr. Lowry. "Administer Jackson has been able to kind of start the tie-in with it, which is obviously very exciting for us here."

Jackson also touted newly proposed EPA rules, which would curb asthma and other chronic disease-triggering pollution from power plants.

About one in ten kids in Missouri has asthma. It's the second leading cause of ER visits at Children's mercy and one of the most common reasons for hospitalizations there.

Find more Health Coverage on KCUR.

Funding for health care coverage on KCUR has been provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

Download recent health stories or subscribe to the KCUR Health Podcast.

Find out what's going on in and around Kansas City, follow @KCURnews on Twitter or become a KCUR fan on Facebook.