National Center for Farmworker Health

Healthy Environment, Healthy Lungs

Economic growth has negatively impacted the environment, health, and quality of life of the residents throughout the U.S. and especially for those who live along the U.S.-Mexico border. These negative impacts have raised the incidence of respiratory problems among its residents, specifically when it comes to asthma. In order to help C/MHCs respond to the community’s environmentally related health problems, the National Center for Farmworker Health (NCFH) developed a Border Environmental Health Project, entitled Healthy Environment, Healthy Lungs, supported with funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and HRSA.  The overall goal of this project was to increase community health promotion activities targeting respiratory problems attributable to air pollution in three targeted U.S. border communities.   The project used results of focus groups conducted with communities along the U.S./Mexico Border in order to guide the products and services of the project.  Products that resulted from this effort include The Health Effects of Air Pollution on the U.S. Mexico Border:  Results of a Series of Focus Groups with Stakeholders, a comprehensive literature review, a community assets mapping with resources and programs, and a training curriculum for lay health workers with accompanying training materials described below.


Healthy Environment, Healthy Lungs is a comprehensive educational program especially designed for lay health workers. This culturally sensitive English and Spanish program and the accompanying materials provide basic information on the environment and how pollution affects health. The three modules contained in the curriculum address the environment and its impact on disease, general asthma information, and a section on empowering the community. This program includes a training curriculum and an educational flip chart to be used by the lay health workers in the community. The intent of the program is that it will empower individuals with the knowledge they need to manage their asthma, and to access the proper channels for improving the environment.

The comprehensive training curriculum includes detailed lessons, interactive activities, and visual aides to assist in the learning process. Healthy Environment, Healthy Lungs will give program planners the guidance they need to implement a successful asthma education program, and lay health workers will love it!

Healthy Environment, Healthy Lungs includes the following materials:

A lay health worker training curriculum that contains the following lessons:
  • The Environment and our Health
  • All about Asthma
  • Community Empowerment
  • A PowerPoint presentation facilitates the training process by providing the trainer with the tools to deliver the most important messages contained in the curriculum. This enhances the training experience by providing visual aids.
  • A bilingual flipchart assists lay health workers while conducting education sessions. This flipchart has the printed information on one side for the lay health worker to read and the picture/illustration on the other for the participants to see. It can be used for a one-on-one presentation or for small groups.
To see a sample lesson plan, click here

Training opportunities are available to interested organizations. For more information on the Healthy Environment, Healthy Lungs training, please contact Monica Fossi by email at:

(*This program was funded by the Health Resources & Service Administration (HRSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).)