We held a seminar with speakers David Jacobs and Nevil Pierse. What did it take to get healthy housing on the agenda in the US? Closer to home, the Healthy Homes Initiative seeks to keep kids out of hospital by making their homes warm and dry. Video coming soon.

Dr David Jacobs will discuss how the US built a broad-based coalition to foster political support for healthy homes. The Coalition was launched a decade ago at a National Healthy Housing Policy Summit owing to the realisation that, although the US healthy homes movement started in 1999, it was insufficiently cohesive to attract broad political support. The Summit was led by the National Center for Healthy Housing and included many leading organisations such as the American Public Health Association among others. The Coalition has worked over the years to rebuff various attempts to reduce funding and support for the US healthy homes efforts. David will also share reflections on the US healthy homes research agenda.

Dr Nevil Pierse will talk about the Healthy Homes Initiative which recently won the Prime Minister’s first annual Spirit of Service Awards celebrating ‘outstanding public services delivering great outcomes for New Zealand’. The Healthy Homes Initiative was a collaboration led by the Ministry of Health with Housing New Zealand, the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority and Auckland Council. The goal of the initiative was to reduce hospitalisations of vulnerable children by helping to create warm, dry, healthy homes for low-income families. Nevil will discuss the He Kainga Oranga/the Housing and Health Research Programme project he led to provide the evidence base for the Healthy Homes Initiative and to evaluate the impact on children.

Presentations (PDF)

Jacobs David

Dr David Jacobs


Dr David Jacobs is Chief Scientist at the National Center for Healthy Housing in the US, where he directs the US Collaborating Center for Healthy Housing Research and Training for the World Health Organization. He is also an adjunct associate professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. David was a contributing author to the recently released WHO International Housing & Health Guidelines. He helped launch the Healthy Homes Initiative in the US and has led research related to childhood lead poisoning prevention, lead exposure assessment and mitigation, healthy housing, asthma, green building design and policy development. David is also President of Lincoln Westmoreland Housing in Washington DC, a non-profit organization providing low-income housing for over 150 families.

Dr Nevil Pierse is deputy director of He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme. Originally a statistician by training, his current work is done in partnership with a wide variety of stakeholders including government and community organisations, and is focused on the design and implementation of randomised trials in the home and community. His previous studies have shown the benefits of efficient home heating and insulation, which was instrumental in the $300 Million EECA, Warm Up New Zealand, Heat Smart programme. Nevil’s other previous work includes the HRC funded Home Injury Prevention Intervention, which showed that simple home repairs and modification reduced the number of falls in homes by 27%. He is currently working on the SHELTHER study which looks at home interventions to prevent rehospitalisation of children with respiratory disease. Nevil also leads the ‘Ending Homelessness in New Zealand: Housing First’ MBIE funded research programme.

This seminar took place on 4 November 2019 at the Adam Auditorium, City Gallery, 101 Wakefield St, Wellington.

For further information please contact libby.grant@otago.ac.nz.

Equity Health Housing & Building NZ Policy