Community and Public Health Environmental Initiative (CPHEI)

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Leading the fight for a healthy, safe environment for children in Maryland

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The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) Community and Public Health Environmental Initiative (CPHEI) provides health oversight for children and families served by Baltimore City Early Head Start (EHS), Head Start (HS), and Family Support Centers (FSCs). Graduate and undergraduate nursing students, under the supervision of licensed faculty and staff, conduct well-child physical exams and health screenings, as well as education. 

What We Do:

We provide these services to children in EHS, HS, and FSCs in Maryland:

  • Well Child Exams 
  • Hearing and Vision Screening  
  • Blood Pressure Screening  
  • Height, Weight, Body Mass Index and Head Circumference screening  
  • Health history and chart reviews to ensure compliance with the state’s Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) schedule (Healthy Kids program). 
  • Health education  
  • Eco-Healthy Child Care® endorsements for EHS, HS centers in Baltimore City  
  • Medication administration training 
  • Identification of high-risk children, development of care plans, and referrals for follow-up care 
  • Ongoing education for EHS, HS, and FSC staff on a variety of topics, such as COVID-19 and vaccines. 
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health screenings for children

including hearing, vision, height, weight and blood pressure checks

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Eco-Healthy Child Care® endorsements

at Early Head Start and Head Start centers that are now using eco-healthy best practices

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classes and workshops

including health fairs and staff workshops conducted at Early Head Start and Head Start centers

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Well Child Exams

provided to date; we provide free, confidential exams and screenings

More Information:

Mission and Vision


To improve the environmental health and health oversight for children enrolled in Maryland Early Head Start (EHS), Head Start (HS), and Family Support Centers (FSCs) and their families.   


To integrate health and wellness into high quality early child care and education programs including Early Head Start, Head Start, and Family Support Centers.

Project History

Bar chart of student involvement with CPHEI by program. 242 CNL, 138 BSN, 120 FNP, 52 RN-to-BSN, 41 PNP, 5 MSN, 1 MPHFunding for the CPHEI began in 2016 with a gift to UMSON from the Mary Catherine Bunting Foundation. UMSON and the Maryland Family Network (MFN), the largest grantee of EHS funds in Maryland, have worked in partnership to provide direct and indirect nursing services to EHS and Head Start (HS) centers in Baltimore City.

UMSON students earning their bachelor's, master’s, and doctoral degrees provide health oversight and nursing services to children, their families, and staff members in EHS and HS programs.

Over 600 nursing students have participated in programming through the fall of 2023.

Faculty and Staff


Laura Allen, MA, MS, RN
Clinical Instructor and Program Director, Community and Public Health Environmental Initiative

Robyn Gilden, PhD, RN
Associate Professor and 
Director of the Environmental Health Certificate program


Amy Nahley, MS, RN, OCN
Program Manager

Funders and Partners

Current and Past Funders


Toolkit for EHS, HS, and FSCs

We compiled a toolkit with protocols for the different nursing services we provide to EHS, HS, and FSCs.  Also included are samples of several of the forms and letters we use to document our work and communicate with families and staff. 

View the Toolkit

For toolkit access, please fill out the "Contact Us" form in the dropdown below.

The toolkit is provided at no cost.

Contact Us

Fill out my online form.

About the Eco-Healthy Child Care (EHCC)® Program

Eco-Healthy Child CareWe at CPHEI understand that children’s surroundings, including the air they breathe, the water and food they consume, and where they live, learn, and play, influence their health. That is why we have chosen to implement the EHCC® program in CPHEI-affiliated EHS, HS, and FSCs.  

The national, award-winning program is sponsored by the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN). Child care facilities receive an endorsement as "Eco-Healthy" after meeting criteria based on environmental health best practices. 

The EHCC® program is endorsed by Maryland Excels.  CPHEI provides education and technical support for early care and education facilities interested in receiving endorsements. 

More Information: