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Your Environment. Your Health.

PEPH E-News April 2015

Volume 6, Issue 4: April 2015

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OSU Scientists Use Social Media to Document and Share Field Research in Real Time

Cardens and Tariq collecting a water sample
This photo, tweeted by Kile with the caption, “Collecting a water sample to test for arsenic in Bangladesh,” shows Cardenas (right) and Tariq, from Dhaka Community Hospital, immersed in field work.

Have you ever wondered what environmental health researchers actually do in the field? To help answer this question, Oregon State University’s (OSU) Molly Kile, Sc.D., and Ph.D. student Andres Cardenas provide a rare glimpse into environmental health field work by chronicling their journey through Bangladesh using the social network service, Storify. The research team, part of OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences, traveled to Bangladesh to study how exposure to arsenic affects development and immune function in children.

Storify allows users to drag and drop tweets, pictures, and links from various social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, onto a single page to tell a story. Kile and Cardenas worked with their college’s marketing team to create their Storify story, Bangladesh 2015, by combining their Twitter posts and pictures into a single timeline that documents their field work as they traveled through Bangladesh.

The research team began its trip on February 21 and returned in mid-March. Its goal was to continue to follow up with approximately 1,600 Bangladeshi children who were born into a birth cohort between 2008 and 2012 and examine how early-life exposure to arsenic and other environmental pollutants may affect their susceptibility to infections and overall immune functioning.

The Bangladesh 2015 Storify story provides readers with a sense of what is involved in environmental health field work. For example, posts show the OSU researchers training their research partners from Dhaka Community Hospital on study protocols, collecting water samples to test for arsenic, and recruiting study participants. The story also gives you a sense of Bangladeshi culture and some of the rewards of conducting environmental public health research abroad.

“People are always interested in our projects in Bangladesh but few people have actually been there. Twitter is such an easy tool use and makes it easy to share pictures and stories from the field, all you need is a smartphone and a Wi-Fi connection,” said Kile, “OSU made the connection to Storify, which was a great way to organize our Tweets into a photo album and give people a glimpse into our field work.”

Kile and Cardenas’s story is a great example of how researchers in the PEPH Network are using social media to highlight environmental health issues and research. Check out Bangladesh 2015 to see what Kile and Cardenas have been up to!

Cleaner Air Means Healthier Lungs for Kids, According to New Research from USC

NIEHS-funded researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) have shown that reducing air pollution leads to improved respiratory function in children. The landmark study appears in the March 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study measured lung development in children between the ages of 11 and 15 and found large gains for children studied from 2007 - 2011, compared to children of the same age living in the same communities in the mid- and late-1990’s. The gains in lung function paralleled improving air quality in the Los Angeles area as state and federal agencies tightened emission standards for cars, diesel trucks, refineries, ships, and trains.

The study has already received a great deal of attention from local, national, and international media outlets. The USC COEC demonstrates the value of social media and infographics to help communicate research findings and capture all of the resulting media coverage. Check out the infographic that summarizes the study on the USC blog post, where you can also read more about the research. And visit their Cleaner Air = Healthier Lungs Storify Web page to check out all of the press coverage!

DWH Meeting Prepares Scientists and Community Partners to Return Results to Communities

A key component of the NIEHS-funded Deepwater Horizon (DWH) Research Consortia program is the community-university partnerships that work to ensure that research relates directly to the needs of Gulf Coast communities. The DWH Research Consortia annual grantee meeting, held January 22 - 24, 2015 in New Orleans, focused on presentations of initial findings and explanations of what these findings mean to those community partners who participated in the studies. Findings to date included confirmation of the long-term mental health effects of proximity or exposure to the oil spill, the safety of the seafood in the Gulf, and the characterization of attributes of individual and community resilience.

Another purpose of the meeting was to prepare scientists and community partners for reporting results more broadly to the Gulf Coast communities affected by the oil spill. The DWH Research Consortium scientists utilized a template developed by NIH staff for their presentations to ensure that they presented information of relevance to the community partners. The researchers and community partners found the template very useful in facilitating an open discussion about the research results. The meeting successfully strengthened the scientists’ ability to present their findings in language understandable to the community partners and non-scientists. The meeting also involved a capacity-building exercise to raise the scientific literacy of the community partners in preparation for the return of results.

New NLM Twitter Account Solely for K-12 Environmental Health Teaching Tools

Are you looking for ways to incorporate environmental health into the classroom? Follow the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) new Twitter handle, @NLMK_12! Geared toward K-12 teachers, @NLMK_12 makes it easy for teachers to find videos and animations, activities, experiments, and lesson plans that make learning about environmental health a fun, engaging, and rewarding experience for students.

APHA Global Public Health Film Festival: Call for Film/Video Submissions

The American Public Health Association’s (APHA) Global Public Health Film Festival showcases films from around the world that explore and highlight public health locally, nationally, and globally. The film festival features public health films of all varieties (feature films, documentaries, narratives, public service announcements, educational videos, short clips, etc.) and related multimedia that demonstrate, educate, inspire, and encourage change for a healthier future. The film festival will be presented at the APHA Annual Meeting this fall. Submissions are being accepted through April 24, 2015; see the APHA Web page for more information.

Job Opportunity: Tenure-Track Faculty Position at UNC

The Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC) is seeking applicants to fill a tenure-track position in Environmental Health at the rank of Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor. The successful candidate must have a Ph.D. in environmental health, toxicology, biology, biochemistry, or a closely related field. For more information and to apply, visit the job posting.

Job Opportunities at Silent Sprint Institute

The Silent Spring Institute (SSI) is hiring at all levels for projects that involve data management, analysis, and visualization for novel studies of chemical exposures and toxicity. For BA/BS/MS/MPH/Post-doc applicants, assets include: R programming and coursework in math, statistics, biology, chemistry, computer science, and informatics. Senior scientist applicants should expect to develop and lead an independent research program within SSI’s mission. See the job announcement for additional details and to apply.

SSI is also looking to fill a senior scientist position and several internship positions. Visit the Opportunities at Silent Spring InstituteWeb page to view all openings.

PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast Series

Environmental health chat logo

Phthalates are a family of chemicals used in many plastics and scented products. Recent research has linked prenatal and early childhood phthalate exposure with a variety of adverse health effects. In our latest podcast, All About Phthalates, Robin Whyatt, Dr.P.H., of Columbia University tells us about the latest scientific findings and offers tips on how to reduce your exposure.

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

PEPH Grantee Highlight: Katrina Smith Korfmacher, Ph.D.

As a policy scientist, Katrina Smith Korfmacher, Ph.D., explores how environmental health knowledge is created, communicated, and used and how these processes are affected by the values of different stakeholder groups. As the Director of the Community Outreach and Engagement Core at the University of Rochester’s Environmental Health Science Core Center, Korfmacher focuses on community engagement and translating environmental health research to help inform relevant policy at the local, state, and federal levels. Her primary efforts are directed toward building partnerships within and surrounding Rochester, New York to address environmental health issues like lead poisoning and hydraulic fracturing and considering the role of community groups in the policy process. She has initiated outreach programs and responded to community needs, including concerns about risks from air pollution, the consumption of Lake Ontario fish, and environmental contributors to obesity. Read the Katrina Smith Korfmacher PEPH Grantee Highlight to learn more about her efforts to address community environmental health concerns.

PEPH in the Environmental Factor

The latest 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:

Upcoming PEPH-Related Meetings

April 13, 2015: Achieving Health Equity through Community Partnerships: Innovations in Community-Based Participatory Research in New York City. The all-day symposium will promote and discuss achieving health equity through community partnerships, with a focus on community-based participatory research.

May 6 - 8, 2015: NIH Regional Seminars on Program Funding and Grants Administration in Baltimore, Maryland. Each year, the NIH Office of Extramural Research sponsors these seminars to help demystify the application and review process, clarify Federal regulations and policies, and highlight current areas of special interest or concern. The seminars are appropriate for grants administrators, researchers new to NIH, and graduate students. These seminars often reach capacity, so register today!

May 21 - 22, 2015: Social Science - Environmental Health Interdisciplinary Collaborations Conference, at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. The Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute (SSEHRI) and Silent Spring Institute, with co-sponsorship from the Puerto Rico Test Site for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT - Superfund Research Program) will hold a first-ever conference on “Social Science - Environmental Health Interdisciplinary Collaborations.” Funded by the NIEHS, the conference will bring together scholars, government agency professionals, and community-based organizations working at the intersection of social science and environmental health to review the field, develop best practices for future research, and support training and transdisciplinary environmental health research. In addition to regular speakers, there will be workshops and discussion groups. Additional details and registration information are available on the conference website.

May 26 - 29, 2015: C2UExpo in Ottawa, Ontario. C2UExpo is an international conference designed to showcase best practices in community-campus partnerships; create space for collaboration around key issues; and foster ideas, connections, and frameworks with the purpose of strengthening communities. Registration is now open!

July 13 - 15, 2015: National Environmental Health Association Annual Educational Conference & Exhibition (NEHA AEC) in Orlando, Florida. NEHA’s AEC is the nexus for environmental health training, education, networking, and advancement. This year’s educational agenda highlights innovations in approaches, partnerships, research, and technology as well as evidence-based practices with proven track records.

August 4 - 6, 2015: 2015 U.S. EPA Community Involvement Training Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. This dynamic conference brings together more than 450 people from EPA and the Agency’s partners and stakeholders who plan and implement environmental community involvement, partnership, stewardship, outreach, and education programs. The theme of this year's conference is “Making a Visible Difference in Communities.” Registration is expected to open late May 2015.

August 10 - 13, 2015: 16th International Conference of the Pacific Basin Consortium (PBC) in Depok, Indonesia. Traditional areas covered by PBC conferences include: hazardous waste management and remediation, e-waste, air pollution, persistent toxic substances, emerging pollutants, global climate change, and children’s environmental health. Registration is now open!

October 31 - November 4, 2015: Save the date for the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting & Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. This year’s meeting theme is “Health in All Policies.” Registration will open in June.

Funding Opportunities

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

Infrastructure to Support Comprehensive Exposure Analysis for Children’s Health Studies. NIEHS is establishing an infrastructure, the Children’s Health Exposure Analysis Resource (CHEAR), to provide the extramural research community access to laboratory and statistical analyses to add or expand the inclusion of environmental exposures in their research. CHEAR is being solicited through three distinct, but interrelated, FOAs. Click the links below for more information about each FOA. Deadline: April 30, 2015.

Interventions for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Native American Populations (R01). The purpose of this FOA is to develop, adapt, and test the effectiveness of health promotion and disease prevention interventions in Native American populations. Deadlines: May 12, 2015 (application); a letter of intent is due 30 days before the application due date.

National Workforce Diversity Pipeline Program. The Office of Minority Health’s (OMH) National Workforce Diversity Pipeline Program (NWDP) seeks to address health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities by supporting networks of institutions with demonstrated commitment and capacity to establish pipeline programs to increase minority and disadvantaged students’ awareness and pursuit of careers in health care and behavioral health and to increase the availability of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education programs. Deadline: May 18, 2015. A technical assistance webinar will be held April 9 from 2:30 - 4:00 p.m. EDT. Information to access the webinar will be posted on the OMH FOA Web page.

State Partnership Initiative to Address Health Disparities (SPI). This solicitation from the Office of Minority Health (OMH) will support state partnership initiatives to: (1) produce a Health Disparities Profile on one to three Healthy People 2020 leading health indicator (LHI) topics chosen by the applicant for geographical hotspots (in the applicant’s state or tribal community) selected by the applicant, using existing baseline measures; (2) implement community intervention activities in the geographical hotspots, using strategies to improve health outcomes and address health disparities for chosen LHI topics; and (3) by the fifth year of the grant, publish the results of the implementation project and/or produce scholarly articles or brief reports. See the OMH FOA Web page for more information. Deadline: May 24, 2015. A technical assistance webinar will be held April 16 from 2:30 - 4:00 p.m. EDT. Information to access the webinar will be posted on the OMH FOA Web page.

Understanding and Promoting Health Literacy (R01, R03, R21). The goal of this program announcement is to encourage methodological, intervention, and dissemination research for understanding and promoting health literacy. Deadlines: June 5, 2015 (R01); June 16, 2015 (R03, R21). Learn more about NIEHS areas of interest.
 

Addressing Health Disparities in Maternal and Child Health through Community-Based Participatory Research (R03). This FOA supports community-based participatory research projects planned and developed by recipients of the Phase I Academic-Community Partnerships Conference Series awards under PAR-09-092 and PAR-12-102. Deadlines: November 20, 2015 (application); a letter of intent is due 30 days before the application due date.

Contact

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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