Grand Rapids hires lead specialist

350
Paul Haan. Courtesy city of Grand Rapids

The city of Grand Rapids hired the founding executive director of Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan to advance efforts to reduce childhood lead poisoning.

The city said on Thursday, Feb. 17, it recently named Paul Haan, a longtime community advocate for healthier conditions in children’s homes, its lead programs specialist. Haan, who started in the newly created position on Dec. 27, was hired to provide dedicated support in alignment with the city’s strategic plan, as well as community development and code compliance outcomes in reducing childhood lead poisoning.

His initial work focuses on opportunities to address lead-based paint hazards in residential rental properties and participation in countywide initiatives. Other focus areas include policy changes related to lead-based paint hazards, conducting stakeholder engagement and implementing adopted policies and programs.

Haan also will act as a liaison to city departments and programs, outside agencies and governmental units.

Haan formerly served as project coordinator for the 2001 Get the Lead Out! campaign at the Aquinas College Community Leadership Institute in coordination with the city. After five years with the initiative, he remained a partner with the city at the Healthy Homes Coalition.

“As a strong advocate and leader, Paul has been in the forefront of this work in our community and throughout the state of Michigan for 20 years,” said Connie Bohatch, managing director of community services. “I am happy to have him aboard, and even happier to have dedicated resources for this important work.”

Haan said he is driven to protect the environment and promote human health through effective collaboration.

“The city’s commitment toward that end is why I’m excited to join the team at the city,” Haan said. “Healthy people and healthy places start with healthy relationships. Together, we can make Grand Rapids an equitable community where all home environments are safe and people continue to thrive.”

Haan began his career as a community organizer at Creston Neighborhood Association and became its executive director in 1995. He holds a bachelor’s degree with majors in communications and philosophy, a minor in English and a second bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Calvin University.

Facebook Comments