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Your Environment. Your Health.

PEPH E-News April 2014

Volume 5, Issue 4: April 2014

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UWM Education Program Sparks Student Interest in Environmental Health Sciences

Students participating in the 2014 WInSTEP Student Research Conference.

Students participating in the 2014 WInSTEP Student Research Conference.

(Photo courtesy of Liam O'Fallon)

By allowing students to become the scientists, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) Wisconsin Inquiry-based Scientist-Teacher Education Partnership (WInSTEP) program  is helping change students' attitudes towards science in the classroom. The program, which is funded by the NIEHS through the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA)  program out of the Office of the Director, NIH, lets high school students conduct experiments on environmental health issues, such as lead poisoning and the impact of toxic chemicals on neurodevelopment, and also hone their scientific communication skills. "Our program provides students with the opportunity for immersion experiences in doing and communicating science. Many find that they like it, respond enthusiastically, and are looking for more," said David Petering, Ph.D., a co-principal investigator on the SEPA grant.

During the school year, the students study the effects of environmental toxicants on zebrafish embryo development, earthworm behavior, and fathead minnow reproductive behavior, which serve as models for understanding human health effects. To develop their scientific communication skills, students write scientific research papers, create posters, and are challenged to translate the knowledge gained through their research to human health. The year-long program culminates with an annual Student Research Conference, where students share their research with a diverse crowd, including environmental health scientists and graduate students.

The 2014 WInSTEP Student Research Conference was held April 1 on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) campus. Over 300 high school science students attended to share their papers and posters, answer questions about their research, and listen to presentations from environmental health scientists. Students report enjoying WInSTEP's hands-on approach to science and that participating in the program has increased their knowledge about environmental health. "The Student Research Conference gives students the opportunity to communicate their original research with others," said Renee Hesselbach, Outreach Specialist for the WInSTEP Program, "the event celebrates the work of young scientists and encourages them to continue in STEM-related fields in the future."

The 2014 conference papers and posters will be posted on the WInSTEP Teen Connection  website in May. Visit the website to view the outstanding work done by these high school science students!

NIEHS to Host Virtual Forum on Autism and the Environment

April marks National Autism Awareness Month, and to help raise awareness NIEHS is hosting a Virtual Forum on Autism and the Environment. The virtual forum will be webcast live on Tuesday, April 22 from 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. ET, and will feature a panel discussion and Q&A session on autism spectrum disorders and the environment. The panel of experts includes:

  • Linda Birnbaum, NIEHS/NTP
  • Alan Brown, Columbia University
  • Irva Hertz-Picciotto, UC Davis MIND Institute
  • Cindy Lawler, NIEHS
  • Avi Reichenberg, Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Seaver Center for Autism Research and Treatment
  • Heather E. Volk, Keck School of Medicine, and Saban Research Institute, Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Duke SRP Involves Public in Flame Retardant Study

The Duke Superfund Research Program (SRP) is inviting the public to be part of a study   aimed at examining the use of flame retardant chemicals in furniture. Members of the public can submit a sample  of furniture foam to see if specific chemical flame retardants were applied to furniture in their homes. The study will allow individuals to make more informed decisions on the types of products they want to have in their homes and will help the Duke SRP better understand which flame retarding chemicals are currently being used in furniture. The data collected will allow for investigations into how people are exposed to these chemicals in the home and if the chemicals impact human health.

PEPH in the Environmental Factor

The March 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 and activities happening in the PEPH network:

Birnbaum highlights human health effects at Gulf oil spill conference (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2014/3/spotlight-gulfoil/index.htm)

At the 2014 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference Jan. 26-29, NIEHS and NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., emphasized the need for prospective research to understand the health effects of the Gulf oil spill on workers, the community, and especially, on sensitive populations.

PEPH webinar highlights alternative testing methods (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2014/3/science-peph/index.htm)

The NIEHS PEPH program sponsored a webinar Jan. 23 highlighting the Institute's commitment to develop, apply, and validate cutting-edge scientific methods aimed at ensuring human and animal health, while protecting the environment.

Conference highlights the known and unknown in fracking debate (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2014/3/spotlight-fracking/index.htm)

At a Feb. 18 symposium presenters from industry, academia, government, and the community discussed what is known -- and especially what is not known -- about the public health impacts of hydraulic fracturing.

PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast: Citizen Science

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Tracking pollutants and investigating their health impacts requires expensive equipment and years of specialized training...or does it? In the Citizen Science podcast, we're taking a look at some real-world science being done by everyday people with low-cost research tools. The podcast highlights the benefits of citizen science and some key considerations to ensure it is done properly.

Stay tuned for our upcoming podcasts! Future topics include obesity and the environment. You can find past podcasts on the Environmental Health Chat Web page, or subscribe to the series on iTunes  .

PEPH Webinar: Assessing Population Vulnerability to Climate Change

Certain populations are particularly vulnerable to the health effects of climate change, including children, pregnant women, the elderly, individuals from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds, and those living in urban or coastal areas. The PEPH webinar, "Assessing Population Vulnerability to Health Impacts of Climate Change," will describe ongoing research focused on assessing factors that may mediate increased risks among select vulnerable populations. The webinar will be held April 25, 2014, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. ET. Register online  .

EPA/NIEHS Children's Centers Webinar on Prenatal Exposures and Prevention

In this month's EPA/NIEHS Children's Centers Webinar, four presenters will discuss their research on preconception and prenatal exposures, and preventing harmful exposures before and during pregnancy. The webinar will be held April 9, 2014 from 1:00-2:30 p.m. ET. Register online  .

Call for Abstracts for 2014 International Symposium on Minority Health and Health Disparities

Start preparing your abstracts for the 2014 International Symposium on Minority Health and Health Disparities  ! Abstracts are categorized into broad thematic areas related to domestic and global transdisciplinary collaborations on minority health, health disparities, and health equity. The symposium will take place December 1-3, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland; abstracts  are due June 2, 2014.

Call for Abstracts: Our Health and Our Housing Conference

WE ACT for Environmental Justice and the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health's NIEHS Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan announce a call for abstracts of papers to be presented at conference entitled "Our health and our housing: Creating affordable healthy housing through advocacy, organizing and research." The conference will be held in Fall/Winter 2014 in New York City. Abstract submissions are invited for research, reports, or presentations to be published in the conference primer. In addition, a subset of papers will be published in a special edition of a prominent journal, Environmental Justice. Submissions can include work that is unpublished and original work that has been previously published. Submit abstracts via the online form  by April 15, 2014; contact Ms. Ogonnaya Dotson Newman with questions about the submission process.

Upcoming PEPH-Related Meetings

April 30-May 3, 2014: Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH) Conference  , in Chicago, Illinois. Also be sure to check out the preconference workshops  !

May 7-9, 2014: National Training Conference on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and Environmental Conditions in Communities  , in Arlington, Virginia. The conference serves as the main public outreach and training event for EPA's TRI program, which provides communities with information about toxic chemical releases and waste management activities.

June 9-21, 2014: Summer Institute in Environmental Health Sciences  . The Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health is offering a two-week Summer Institute for students in degree programs and for public health professionals interested in learning more about environmental health sciences concepts.

July 7-10, 2014: National Environmental Health Association Annual Educational Conference and Exhibition  , in Las Vegas, Nevada.

August 11-22, 2014: "NIMHD Translational Health Disparities Course: Integrating Principles of Science, Practice and Policy in Health Disparities Research" in Bethesda, Maryland. The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) will host a course on the science of health disparities to provide specialized instruction on the concepts, principles, methods, and applications of health disparities science, practice, and policy. It will also integrate principles and practice of community engagement. The course is free, but admission is competitive. Submit an application via the NIMHD website  from April 14, 2014 to May 22, 2014. For additional information contact: NIMHDHealthDC@mail.nih.gov.

Funding Opportunities

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

Community Partnerships to Advance Research (R01  , R15  , R21  ). Encourages researchers to partner with communities using Community Engaged Research (CEnR) methodologies that will enhance relationships leading to better interventions and positive health outcomes. Deadlines: June 5, 2014 (R01); June 25, 2014 (R15); June 16, 2014 (R21).

National Indoor Environments Program: Reducing Public Exposure to Indoor Pollutants. EPA has issued an RFA for demonstration, training, outreach and/or education cooperative agreements that will have a national scale impact to reduce exposure to indoor air contaminants and yield measurable environmental outcomes. Program priority areas include: radon, indoor environmental asthma triggers, and multiple indoor air quality contaminants. Download the RFA from the Office of Air and Radiation page  . Deadline: April 21, 2014.

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. The FOA is expected to be published in April 2014 with an expected application due date in July 2014.

Environmental Health Sciences Core Centers (EHS CC)  (P30). An EHS CC is designed to establish leadership and support for programs of excellence in environmental health sciences by providing scientific guidance, technology, and career development opportunities for promising investigators. Deadline: April 22, 2014.

Translational Research to Improve Diabetes and Obesity Outcomes  (R01). Deadline: June 5, 2014.

Interventions for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Native American Populations  (R01). Deadlines: April 15, 2014 (Letter of Intent); May 15, 2014 (Application).

Behavioral and Social Science Research on Understanding and Reducing Health Disparities   (R01  and R21  ). Deadlines: June 5, 2014 (R01); June 16, 2014 (R21).

Health Promotion Among Racial and Ethnic Minority Males (R01  and R21  ). Deadlines: June 5, 2014 (R01); June 16, 2014 (R21).

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