Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Howard Gordon

Second Committee Member

Clifford McClain

Third Committee Member

Dale Pehrsson

Fourth Committee Member

Shawn Gerstenberger

Fifth Committee Member

Shawn Gerstenberger

Number of Pages



It has been 236 years since Benjamin Franklin voiced his concerns about lead poisoning from the occupational exposures in his printing shop, yet, in 2012 childhood lead poisonings and adult occupational exposures are still serious public health issues in the United States. Lead poisoning is a 100% preventable affliction if the ingestion or inhalation of lead from environmental exposures can be avoided.

The quality of blood lead detection methods and brain function studies have improved dramatically over the last few decades and far more is now known about the adverse health effects from low level (microgram- µg) exposures to lead. National health professionals state that there is no safe threshold of lead exposures for children (CDC, 2011).

Although long standing federal laws addressing lead in consumer products and lead-safe abatement practices exist; and recently promulgated state laws are trying to enhance the federal mandates, one million children are still afflicted with lead poisoning in the United States (EPA, 2012).

The experts involved in the area of lead assessment or abatement, nation-wide, were surveyed to collect their opinions on what they would list as the critical factors that are necessary to produce a successful lead poisoning prevention program. The group's opinion was unswerving and the most frequently given list was: enforcement, primary prevention, awareness, dedication, funding, blood testing and data sharing.

Qualitative research methods, based on the triangulation of historical data, survey and interviews, as well as personal interaction, were utilized to review the Philadelphia Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. The understanding of the phenomenon, which was the success of the Philadelphia program, was evaluated by considering all aspects of the program and exploring the complexity of the variables, which, in this case, were the critical factors unique to the Philadelphia experience.

The qualitative research, designed as an explanatory case study (Yin, 1994, 2003) was constructed to analyze the Philadelphia lead program. This analysis concentrated on one purposeful sampling, the Philadelphia experience, pulling it apart and putting it back together, "factor by factor," in order to make use of the evidence and explain the- "how" and "why"- of Philadelphia's success.

In their own words, the advocates of the Philadelphia Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) organization describe what it took to make the Philadelphia program work. ... "a phenomenal success, Philadelphia's lead program is a prime example of how a confluence of forces inside and outside government, along with commitment and collaboration can bring about powerful, effective system change to benefit the public good in big cities" (PCCY, 2009).

Yin (1994) says that theory can be used to guide the case study in an exploratory way. As John Kingdon suggests in his Garbage Can Theory (Kingdon, 2003), public policy can be explored metaphorically as three streams that cross in a manner where by "problems, solutions, and participants" come together to create a policy. "These three elements can move from one choice opportunity to another in such a way that the nature of the choice, the time it takes, and the problem it solves all depend on a relatively complicated intermeshing of elements" (Cohen, et al., 1972, p.16). The intermeshing of the critical factors, powered by the dedication of the Philadelphia program advocates has built a lead poisoning prevention program that the western states can emulate.


Lead; Lead abatement – Government policy; Lead poisoning – Prevention; Lead poisoning in children; Pennsylvania – Philadelphia; Poisoning; Policy; Program


Educational Leadership | Environmental Public Health | Public Health

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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