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Your Environment. Your Health.

PEPH E-News October 2016

Volume 7, Issue 10: October 2016

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Communication is Key to Zika Prevention and Control

NIEHS-funded researchers studying the Zika virus in Puerto Rico continue to reach out to communities to raise awareness about the virus and ways to avoid exposure. A multi-institution research team, made up of members from the Center for Research on Early Childhood Exposure and Development in Puerto Rico (CRECE) and the Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT), has been educating Puerto Ricans about Zika prevention since January, when the virus first arrived on the island.

"Ensuring that pregnant women, as well as women contemplating pregnancy and their partners, are protected from Zika is an urgent matter," said José Cordero, M.D., PROTECT co-director and CRECE Core Leader. "This infection in pregnancy poses a serious risk of birth defects to the baby, and Zika prevention must be our highest priority."

CRECE and PROTECT are involved in the Zika in Infants and Pregnancy (ZIP) Study, a collaborative, multi-country study to assess the outcomes of Zika infection during pregnancy on both mother and child. The ZIP Study aims to enroll 10,000 pregnant women from 15 locations; PROTECT will recruit about 900 women in Puerto Rico and follow them throughout their pregnancies. The infants will be followed for at least one year after birth.

CRECE and PROTECT communication efforts about Zika prevention have reached a range of audiences in Puerto Rico, including college students, professors, and healthcare professionals. Cordero and Gredia Huerta-Montañez, M.D., a CRECE and PROTECT researcher, also have collaborated with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Puerto Rico CDC to develop effective community engagement strategies and improve Zika messaging. They also joined efforts with the March of Dimes to develop training sessions and public service announcements to inform pregnant women how to protect themselves against mosquito bites and what to do if they develop Zika-like symptoms.

To control the spread of Zika, CRECE and PROTECT recommend an Integrated Vector Management (IVM) approach that focuses on prevention and uses chemical pesticides only as needed. "An IVM approach recognizes children's increased vulnerability and susceptibility to pesticide environmental exposures," explained Huerta-Montañez. "IVM involves monitoring mosquito populations, promoting sustained changes in cultural practices to eliminate breeding sites, exploring biologic and chemical controls with rigorous regulatory oversight, and assessing all interventions for impact."

Cordero, in collaboration with the Brain Trust for Tropical Diseases Research and Prevention, convened a workshop of over 40 experts to make recommendations for an IVM approach in Puerto Rico. One of the group's recommendations called for eliminating standing water, where mosquitos may lay eggs. People can do this by getting rid of outdoor items that can hold standing water, such as tires.

PROTECT and CRECE have provided mosquito nets to all their study participants to protect babies from mosquito bites. They also have coordinated with the Puerto Rico Department of Health and Puerto Rico CDC to ensure that PROTECT and CRECE study participants receive Zika kits that include items to prevent mosquito bites, such as insect repellents.

Visit the CDC Web page to access Zika communication resources, including videos, factsheets, posters, and toolkits.

Both the CRECE and PROTECT Centers are part of a multi-institution collaboration involving Northeastern University, the University of Michigan, the University of Puerto Rico, and the University of Georgia.

Request for Information: NIEHS Translational Research Framework

Over the last year, a small group of staff from the NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training has been working to adapt a Translational Research Framework that better captures the translational research supported and conducted by its grantees. The Institute now is seeking input on the proposed framework and a series of case studies. Individuals from the environmental health sciences and translational research communities are invited to review and provide comments on the proposed framework and case studies by October 30.

New Factsheet on NTP Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation Studies

A new factsheet provides an overview of studies conducted by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) to help clarify any potential health hazards, including cancer risk, from exposure to cell phone radiation. The factsheet summarizes NTP study approaches and design and provides tips for reducing exposure to cell phone radiation, such as using speaker mode or a headset to place more distance between one's head and the phone. NTP released partial findings from its cell phone studies in May 2016; complete results from these studies will be available by the end of 2017.

PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast Series

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A growing body of research shows that the antibacterial agents triclosan and triclocarban are linked to many adverse health effects, including endocrine disruption and antimicrobial drug resistance. These antibacterial agents are common in consumer products, such as soap, lotion, and toothpaste. In this podcast with Rolf Halden, we discuss what the science is telling us about the impacts of triclosan and triclocarban, the recent FDA decision to ban their use in hand and body washes, and what consumers need to know.

You can find more podcasts on the Environmental Health Chat Web page or subscribe to the series on iTunes. We want your feedback! Send comments and ideas for future podcasts to

PEPH Grantee Highlight: James Fredrick

James Fredrick is making the workplace safer for immigrant day laborers, an underserved population in terms of occupational health and safety. Fredrick is the assistant director of the United Steelworkers (USW) Health, Safety, and Environment Department, which provides a variety of workplace health and safety services, such as occupational health, safety, and environmental training in English and Spanish. The courses provide workers with an understanding of OSHA requirements and workplace hazards, while also giving them access to jobs that require the OSHA training. Read the Grantee Highlight to learn more.

PEPH in the September NIEHS Environmental Factor

Appalachian forum emphasizes community. The Appalachian Health and Well-Being Forum, held in southeastern Kentucky, focused on long-standing health disparities in the region.

Disaster Research Response takes next steps. Aubrey Miller explains National Institutes of Health efforts to initiate studies after disasters, ensuring community involvement.

New group will develop disaster research best practices. A working group to develop guidelines for research in the aftermath of disasters drew a broad group of stakeholders to its inaugural meeting.

Safety training for community members involved in cleanup. Local residents received training to protect health and safety in new jobs cleaning up lead contamination in a battery recycling plant.

Microbe-rich environments may trigger immune system, prevent asthma. An NIEHS-supported study in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that life on farms with livestock may help Amish children avoid asthma.

Fellowship Opportunity: Pediatric Environmental Health

Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School invite applications for a two-year, EPA-sponsored, advanced fellowship training in pediatric environmental health. The program focuses on clinical instruction in children's environmental health, women's reproductive environmental health, and fundamentals of environmental toxicology, and it intends to build core competencies in environmental health. The program emphasizes clinical service delivery, teaching, mastering of scientific and grant-writing skills, advanced training in biostatistics and epidemiology, development of advocacy skills, critical review of the environmental health literature, risk assessment, and risk communication. Fellowship training includes tuition subsidy and eligibility to apply to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's M.P.H. program in environmental health. Prospective applicants must be board-eligible or board-certified in pediatrics. The application requires three letters of recommendation, one of which should be from a training program director. Completed applications and all letters are due by November 1.

Fellowship Opportunity: Reproductive and Pediatric Environmental Health at the University of Washington

The University of Washington-based Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU), along with the Departments of Pediatrics and Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, offer a two-year, EPA-sponsored fellowship in reproductive and pediatric environmental health. The fellow will develop a broad knowledge base of environmental health topics with directed mentorship from long-standing Northwest PEHSU co-directors, Drs. Catherine Karr and Sheela Sathyanarayana. Core components of the fellowship will include development of skills in environmental medicine clinical consultation, patient education, outreach, and risk communication. At the end of the training, fellows will be prepared for clinical, public health, and advocacy-based jobs in reproductive and pediatric environmental health. The fellowship provides a stipend and tuition for obtaining a master's in public health at the University of Washington's School of Public Health.

Academic Pediatric Association Environmental Health Scholars Retreat (January 6 - 8, 2017)

The Academic Pediatric Association invites applications from pre- and postdoctoral trainees, as well as clinical fellows, to attend its annual Environmental Health Scholars retreat in Washington, D.C. The 2.5-day event is designed to promote academic development for trainees interested in Children's Environmental Health; this year's theme is "Community Engagement in Environmental Health." Erin Haynes, Dr.P.H., from the University of Cincinnati, and Liam O'Fallon, PEPH Program Lead, will be the two keynote speakers. Each fellow will present a 10-minute work-in-progress talk, wherein an assigned faculty attendee will moderate discussion among the larger group. Didactic sessions related to the meeting theme are mixed in with the trainee talks. For more information or to submit an abstract to be a fellow, please e-mail The due date for abstracts is November 1. Fellows will be notified by November 15, if awarded.

Upcoming PEPH-Related Events

October 25 - 26, 2016: National Resources and Training Summit to Revitalize Vulnerable Communities in Arlington, Virginia. The Summit will enhance collaboration around environmental, health, and economic concerns and ensure vulnerable populations have access to information, services, and data for increased resilience, engagement, and sustainability. Online registration is required and is limited. Select portions of the Summit will be available to view via webcast.

October 25 - 26, 2016: Research Community Forum in Hartford, Connecticut. Sponsored by the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP), day one of this symposium will focus on ethical issues around engaging community participation in research, and day two will be an interactive opportunity to engage with OHRP staff.

October 29 - November 2, 2016: American Public Health Association (APHA) 2016 Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado. This year's conference theme is "Creating the Healthiest Nation: Ensuring the Right to Health."

December 6 - 8, 2016: NIEHS Environmental Health Science FEST (EHS FEST) in Durham, North Carolina. As part of its 50th Anniversary celebrations, NIEHS is organizing the EHS FEST to bring together researchers, community engagement teams, trainees, and young investigators, all supported by NIEHS, for several days of scientific dialog. Registration for EHS FEST is open.

December 14 - 15, 2016: 9th Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health in Washington, D.C. Co-hosted by NIH and AcademyHealth, this Conference aims to grow the dissemination and implementation research base by bridging the gap between evidence, practice, and policy in health and medicine.

January 24 - 26, 2017: NCSE 2017 Integrating Environment and Health in Washington, D.C. Organized by the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE), this conference will bring together researchers, educators, students, policy makers, and entrepreneurs to explore environmental and human health connections.

March 1 - 3, 2017: Migrant Labor and Global Health (MLGH) Conference on the University of California, Davis campus. The MLGH Conference serves as a platform to explore the multidisciplinary aspects of migration and their impact on health.

March 9 - 11, 2017: Save the date for the Association for Community Health Improvement (ACHI) National Conference in Denver, Colorado.

May 17 - 20, 2017: Citizen Science Association (CSA) Conference in St. Paul, Minnesota. Please join CSA for CitSci2017 and be part of conversations to create a field of citizen science. There will be more news regarding conference plans and a Call for Proposals in the coming weeks.

Funding Opportunities

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

Environmental Exposures and Health: Exploration of Non-traditional Settings (R01, R21). Encourages interdisciplinary research aimed at promoting health, preventing and limiting symptoms and disease, and reducing health disparities across the lifespan for those living or spending time in non-traditional settings (i.e., playgrounds and nursing homes). Deadlines: October 5, 2016 (R01); October 16, 2016 (R21).

Research to Action: Assessing and Addressing Community Exposures to Environmental Contaminants (R01). Encourages applications using community-engaged research methods to investigate the potential health risks of environmental exposures of concern to the community and to implement an environmental public health action plan based on research findings. Deadline: Standard receipt dates apply (October 5, February 5).

Spatial Uncertainty: Data, Modeling, and Communication (R01). Supports innovative research that identifies sources of spatial uncertainty in public health data, incorporates the inaccuracy or instability into statistical methods, and develops novel tools to visualize the nature and consequences of spatial uncertainty. Deadline: October 5, 2016.

Reducing Health Disparities Among Minority and Underserved Children (R21). Encourages research that targets the reduction of health disparities among children. Specific targeted areas of research include biobehavioral studies that incorporate multiple factors that influence child health disparities; studies that target the specific health promotion needs of children with a known health condition and/or disability; and studies that test and evaluate the comparative effectiveness of health promotion interventions conducted in traditional and nontraditional settings. Deadline: October 16, 2016.

Education and Health: New Frontiers (R01, R03, R21). Supports research that will further elucidate the pathways involved in the relationship between education and health outcomes and in doing so to carefully identify the specific aspects and qualities of education that are responsible for this relationship and what the mediating factors are that affect the nature of the causal relationship. Deadlines: October 5, 2016 (R01); October 16, 2016 (R03, R21).

Advancing Basic Behavioral and Social Research on Resilience: An Integrative Science Approach (UG3/UH3). To elucidate mechanisms and processes of resilience within a general framework that emphasizes its dynamics and interactions across both time and scale, multiple contexts, multiple outcomes, and multiple time frames. Deadlines: November 1, 2016 (letter of intent); December 1, 2016 (application).

Oil and Gas Development (OGD) in the Appalachian Basin. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeks applications for multidisciplinary research that will foster a better understanding of how the rapid increase of OGD activities in the Appalachian Basin may impact the surrounding environment and public health. Specifically, research projects are sought that can quantify air and water quality impacts associated with OGD activities and inform related human and ecological exposures. Deadline: November 9, 2016.

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