As the director of UMass Lowell’s Healthy Homes Program, Turcotte works to reduce asthma among people living in public and subsidized rental housing. States in the Northeast have some of the highest asthma rates in the country, while asthma and other respiratory diseases disproportionately affect people of color and low-income residents, says Turcotte, who can talk about the reasons why. People age 65 and older who have the disease are the most likely to die as a result, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Turcotte is also a national expert in providing workplace health-and-safety training to first responders. As director of the New England Consortium at UMass Lowell, he leads programs for hazardous-materials remediation workers who are cleaning up after natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the consortium expanded its reach to offer employee training programs to help stem the spread of the virus in the workplace.