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PEPH E-News August 2014

Volume 5, Issue 8: August 2014

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Training the Next Generation of Environmental Health Scientists

Recruiting and training the next generation of environmental health scientists is essential to sustain the pipeline of future environmental health researchers. This is the goal of the University of California, Berkeley’s (UCB) "STEER Program: Short Term Educational Experiences for Research in Environmental Health for Undergraduate Students",  funded by the NIEHS Summer Research Experience Program. Through the program, a select group of undergraduate students spend their summer working alongside an experienced UCB faculty mentor, gaining research experience and learning how to navigate an academic research career in the environmental health sciences (EHS).

“There is a worldwide shortage of scientists in environmental health, yet with global issues such as increasing levels of air pollution and climate change, it is likely to become one of the most relevant and important fields in public health,” said program Director Michael Bates, Ph.D. “Our students gain a wide exposure to many sub-disciplines of environmental health, including toxicology, environmental epidemiology, and exposure science, as well as an introduction to the current and emerging issues on which the field is focused.”

At the start of the program, the students are paired with a faculty mentor who is researching a topic in which they share an interest. Throughout the 9-week program, each student works with his/her research team collecting data, reviewing relevant literature, performing laboratory experiments, or analyzing data. The students also attend twice-weekly seminars that include presentations given by faculty on their research programs and various aspects of EHS, as well as talks on ethics in science and advice on getting into graduate school.

The students don’t spend all of their time in the lab or lecture rooms. Each summer, the group takes field trips to sites of occupational and environmental health relevance, such as a stone quarry and a wastewater treatment plant. There is also a social program, including barbecues, hikes, and a baseball game. Activities are aided by a contribution to the program from the Northern California Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH).

At the end of the summer, the students get the opportunity to hone their science communication skills by presenting the results of their 9-week research project to the other students, faculty, and guests.

The UCB program is funded through NIEHS’s participation in the NIH Summer Research Experience Program . To learn about NIEHS programs to educate and train science teachers, high school students, and college undergraduates, check out the NIH Summer Internship Program and the Administrative Supplements for Summer Research Experiences for Students and Science Teachers Program.

Students visit the Lake Herman Stone Quarry in Vallejo, California
Students visit the Lake Herman Stone Quarry in Vallejo, California, where they learn about occupational exposures and the types of protective equipment and occupational health measures used to protect the quarry workers’ health.

Resources for Teaching about Environmental Health

Media-based resources are a great way to get students excited to learn. A diverse collection of resources, developed by WGBH Teacher’s Domain (funded in part by NIEHS), contains videos and supporting educational materials to help K-12 teachers incorporate environmental health into the classroom. Check out the Careers in Environmental Health  activity, which introduces students to career opportunities in six environmental health disciplines and teaches them how environmental public health professionals prevent disease, create safe environments, and help the public make healthy decisions. Sign up for free to access this collection of resources on the PBS LearningMedia website. 

PEPH Annual Meeting to Focus on Environmental Health Literacy

We are excited to announce that Environmental Health Literacy (EHL) is the central theme for the 2014 PEPH Annual Meeting. The meeting will be held September 22-24 at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences main campus in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The first two days of the meeting will include oral presentations and panel discussions, as well as ample opportunity for small group interactions. The third day will be composed of hands-on workshops related to EHL. Submit a poster abstract by August 8 and register by September 8, 2014. Please register early since space is limited to 150 participants.

PEPH in the Environmental Factor

The July issue of the NIEHS Environmental Factor features several stories highlighting our PEPH colleagues. Take a moment to catch up with some of the latest projects, events, and activities happening in the PEPH network:

Duke SRP Updates Wikipedia Page on a Common Flame Retardant

In the latest entry  on the Duke Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center blog, ToxInsider, Eileen Thorsos, a member of the Duke SRP Research Translation Core, talks about working with Ph.D. student Laura Dishaw to update Wikipedia and provide the public with sound information on chlorinated tris, a chemical commonly used as a flame retardant in furniture foam. The chlorinated tris Wikipedia page, which originally had just three sentences, now contains reliable information about where the chemical is found in the environment, human exposure routes, health effects, and more. Check out the new and improved Wikipedia page  and watch for future posts from the Duke SRP about other Wikipedia updates!

Boston College Faculty Position: Environmental Justice and Social Inequality

The Boston College Graduate School of Social Work is seeking a junior or senior faculty member whose scholarly expertise is in the area of environmental justice and social inequality. The school is especially interested in faculty whose research and teaching have included examining the outcomes of climate change, environmental hazards and disparities, as well as the impact of water discrimination affecting elders, youth, and vulnerable populations. For more information and to apply, visit the job posting. 

NACCHO and RESOLVE Fracking Webinar

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) has been participating in a multi-stakeholder Working Group convened by RESOLVE  to advise the creation of a guidebook on community health and shale development. The goal is for health officials, community members, and industry representatives to use this guidebook to get facts about the potential health issues and where they can go to find more in-depth resources from a variety of perspectives, as well as to learn about options for responding to challenges. Provide your input and help shape the guidebook by participating in the webinar, Shale Development and Communities: Introducing a Guidebook for Health Officials,  which will take place Wednesday, August 6, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. EDT.

PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast Series

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Schools built on hazardous waste sites? Yes, it really happens. Listen to the podcast, Protecting Children from Contaminants at School, to hear how researchers and community members teamed up to investigate contamination at Rhode Island schools.

You can find past podcasts on the Environmental Health Chat Web page, or subscribe to the series on iTunes .


EPA/NIEHS Children’s Centers Webinar

The August EPA/NIEHS Children’s Centers Webinar will focus on environmental exposures and neurodevelopmental health outcomes. The webinar will take place Wednesday, August 13, 1:00-2:30 p.m. EDT. Register online .

Upcoming PEPH-Related Meetings

August 19-21, 2014: National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media  in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference, co-hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Public Health Information Coalition, is an excellent opportunity to meet with colleagues and shape the future of health communication, marketing, and media practice.

September 8-10, 2014: Latin American Conference on Compatible Mining: Protecting Vulnerable Populations and the Surrounding Environment  in San Luis Potosí, México. The goal of this multi-stakeholder conference is to assemble an international group of experts, government officials, non-governmental organizations, and community and industry leaders to discuss how to implement compatible mining appropriate to the needs and perspectives of vulnerable populations and the surrounding environment. The University of Arizona Superfund Research Program is co-hosting the conference.

September 22-24, 2014: 2014 PEPH Annual Meeting on the NIEHS main campus in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. This year’s theme is “Communication Research in Environmental Health Sciences: Environmental Health Literacy.” Submit a poster abstract by August 8 and register by September 8, 2014.

October 5-9, 2014: Eighth International PCB Workshop: PCBs in Schools, Exposures, Effects, Remediation and Regulation  in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. A primary objective of the PCB Workshops is to provide a unique, single forum for experts on issues of analysis, fate and transport, exposure assessment, metabolism and disposition, toxicity, and public health policy to come together and learn from each other.

October 6-8, 2014: NIEHS WTP 2014 Fall Awardee Meeting and Workshop on the NIEHS main campus in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The NIEHS Worker Training Program’s (WTP) awardee meeting and workshop will focus on the serious health risks that workers in various industries will face as the consequences of climate change become more prominent. Register by September 12, 2014.

October 26-29, 2014: PPTOX IV  in Boston, Massachusetts. PPTOX IV hosts the world’s leading experts in endocrinology, toxicology, and environmental health. One conference goal is to identify implications for public health and clinical medicine in building research agenda consensus for the next five years. See the draft program  for information on conference sessions.

November 3-4, 2014: Health Literacy Research Conference  in Bethesda, Maryland. This is an interdisciplinary meeting for investigators dedicated to health literacy research. It is an opportunity to advance the field of health literacy, a method to raise the quality of our research, and a venue for professional development.

November 12-14, 2014: Save the date for the 2014 Superfund Research Program Annual Meeting in San Jose, California!

November 15-19, 2014: 2014 American Public Health Association  in New Orleans, Louisiana. This year’s conference theme is “Healthography: How where you live affects your health and well-being.” Let us know if you will be presenting at APHA this year! We will compile the “PEPH at APHA” booklet later this summer.

December 1-3, 2014: 2014 National Institute on Minority Health & Health Disparities Grantees’ Conference  in National Harbor, Maryland. This year’s conference theme is “Transdisciplinary Collaborations: Evolving Dimensions of U.S. and Global Health Equity.

February 4-6, 2015: Save the date for the Children's Environmental Health Network 2015 Research Conference  in Austin, Texas. The conference will explore how the interaction between food and environmental factors affects children’s health. The abstract submission deadline is September 11, 2014.

Funding Opportunities

Visit the PEPH Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) page for more PEPH-related funding opportunities.

Superfund Hazardous Substance Research and Training Program  (P42). Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center grants will support research Centers that consist of multiple, integrated projects representing both the biomedical and environmental science and engineering disciplines, as well as cores tasked with administrative, community engagement, research translation, training, and research support functions. Deadlines: August 3, 2014 (letter of intent); September 3, 2014 (application). Please also see the accompanying notice. 

Undergraduate Research Education Program to Enhance Diversity in the Environmental Health Sciences  (R25). To support educational activities that enhance the diversity of the workforce in the environmental health sciences. Deadline: August 15, 2014.

NIMHD Basic and Applied Biomedical Research on Minority Health and Health Disparities  (R01). To solicit research on fundamental biological mechanisms involved in disease conditions that disproportionately affect health disparity populations and therapies or interventions that can contribute to reducing or eliminating health disparities. Deadlines: August 28, 2014.

Environmental Contributors to Autism Spectrum Disorders ( R01 , R21 ). To stimulate and foster research to (1) identify environmental contributors to risk and expression of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and (2) understand how environmental factors impact the underlying biologic processes implicated in ASD. Deadlines: August 26, 2014.

Air, Climate and Energy (ACE) Centers: Science Supporting Solutions  EPA is interested in supporting research on the development of sound science to inform policymakers regarding the development of innovative approaches to enable effective implementation of air pollution control strategies. Deadline: September 4, 2014.

Air Pollution Monitoring for Communities  The EPA, as part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, is seeking applications that create knowledge to empower communities and individuals to take action to avoid air pollution exposure, using low-cost portable air pollution sensors. Deadline: October 7, 2014.

Fulbright-Fogarty Fellows and Scholars in Public Health.  To promote the expansion of research in public health and clinical research in resource-limited settings. Deadlines: August 1, 2014 ( Postdoctoral ); October 14, 2014 ( Fellows ).

Notice of Intent to publish FOA for Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers  (P01). The NIEHS and EPA intend to publish a joint FOA to solicit applications for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers. This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects and cores.

Do you have an announcement to share with the PEPH community? Send us your news for the next issue of the PEPH Newsletter ( peph@niehs.nih.gov ).
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