Skip Navigation

Your Environment. Your Health.

Goal 8 – Environmental Health Science Education

Implementation Highlights and Accomplishments

goal 8 image

Enhance the teaching of EHS at all levels of education and training – kindergarten through professional – to increase scientific literacy and generate awareness of the health consequences of environmental exposures.

  1. Empower individuals at all levels of education with knowledge to make better health decisions.
  2. Use leadership and partnerships to strengthen EHS education and literacy, using research on effective EHS education strategies and creating mechanisms for educators to promote EHS education.
  3. Develop critical training programs in EHS research tailored for multiple groups, e.g., students, postdocs, foreign scientists, and science teachers.
  4. Incorporate EHS into medical education and practice, e.g., nursing, M.D., etc., to increase awareness of environmental medicine in health care practice.

Research Funding

BD2K Research Education Curriculum Development: Data Science Overview for Biomedical Scientists (R25)
The NIH Research Education Program (R25) supports research education activities in the mission areas of the NIH. The over-arching goal of this BD2K R25 program is to support educational activities that complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs.

To accomplish the stated over-arching goal, this FOA will support creative educational activities with a primary focus on Curriculum or Methods Development in Big Data Science to augment current institutional curricula for the training of predoctoral level biomedical scientists and provide concentrated instruction in the tools, approaches and quantitative analysis concepts in data science. To facilitate the integration of data science into biomedical curricula nationally, this FOA seeks to support a cohort of institutions that will work collaboratively and collectively to produce curricular materials that are findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR). ES-16-011

NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Enhancing Diversity in Biomedical Data Science (R25)
The NIH Research Education Program (R25) supports research education activities in the mission areas of the NIH.  The over-arching goal of this NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Enhancing Diversity in Biomedical Data Science (R25) program is to support educational activities that enhance the diversity of the biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research workforce. To accomplish the stated over-arching goal, this FOA will support creative educational activities with a primary focus on research experiences and curriculum or methods development. MD-16-002

BD2K Open Educational Resources for Skills Development in Biomedical Big Data Science (R25)
The NIH Research Education Program (R25) supports research education activities in the mission areas of the NIH. The over-arching goal of this Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) R25 program is to support educational activities that complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs.

To accomplish the stated over-arching goal, this FOA will support creative educational activities with a primary focus on Courses for Skills Development for biomedical researchers who need the requisite knowledge and skills to extract knowledge from biomedical Big Data. To extend the reach of the course, each educational activity is required to develop open educational resources (OERs) that adhere to FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable) principles. Ideally, OERs should be useful to individuals at all career levels, from predoctoral students to established investigators. HG-16-016

Worker Training Program (WTP) Ebola Biosafety and Infectious Disease Response Training
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Worker Training Program (WTP) invites applications for cooperative agreements to support the development and implementation of occupational safety and health and infection control training programs for workers who may be at risk during infectious disease outbreaks.  The NIEHS WTP and potential awardees will work collaboratively to develop and target safety and health training for workers in various occupational settings and help establish basic risk assessment skill sets needed to handle other emerging infectious disease outbreaks. RFA-ES-15-018

Superfund Research Program Occupational and Safety Education Programs on Emerging Technologies (R25)
The NIH Research Education Program (R25) supports research education activities in the mission areas of the NIH.  The over-arching goal of this Superfund Research Program (SRP) Occupational and Safety Education Programs on Emerging Technologies is to support educational activities that complement and/or enhance the training of a workforce to meet the nation’s biomedical, behavioral and clinical research needs.  These programs are also meant to expand and complement existing educational programs in occupational and safety and health and industrial hygiene. RFA-ES-15-014

SBIR E-learning for HAZMAT and Emergency Response (R43/R44)
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant applications from small business concerns (SBCs) that propose to further the development of Advanced Technology Training (ATT) products for the health and safety training of hazardous materials (HAZMAT) workers, skilled support personnel, emergency responders in biosafety response and cleanup, community and citizen preparation and resiliency, and for ATT tools to assist in research into the acute and long-term health effects of environmental disasters.  This also includes the training of workers engaged in environmental restoration, waste treatment, and emergency response activities at sites in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear weapons complex. RFA-ES-15-008

Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) Award (R01)
The Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) Award is intended to identify the most talented Early Stage Investigators (ESIs) who intend to make a long-term commitment to research in the Environmental Health Sciences and assist them in launching an innovative research program focused on the understanding of environmental exposure effects on people’s health.   RFA-ES-15-003

Hazmat Training at DOE Nuclear Weapons Complex (UH4)
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) invites applications for cooperative agreements to support the development of model programs for the training and education of workers engaged in activities related to hazardous materials and waste generation, removal, containment, transportation and emergency response within the Department of Energy (DOE) Nuclear Weapons Complex. RFA-ES-14-009

Hazardous Materials Worker Health and Safety Training (U45)
The major objective of this FOA is to prevent work-related harm by assisting in the training of workers in how best to protect themselves and their communities from exposure to hazardous materials encountered during hazardous waste operations, hazardous materials transportation, environmental restoration of contaminated facilities or chemical emergency response.   RFA-ES-14-008

Superfund Hazardous Substance Research and Training Program (P42)
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is announcing the continuation of the Superfund Hazardous Substance Research and Training Program, referred to as Superfund Research Program (SRP) Centers. SRP Center grants will support problem-based, solution-oriented 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. RFA-ES-14-007

Undergraduate Research Education Program (UP) to Enhance Diversity in the Environmental Health Sciences (R25)
The NIH Research Education Program (R25) supports research education activities in the mission areas of the NIH.  The goal of this NIEHS undergraduate research education R25 program is to support educational activities that enhance the diversity of the biomedical, behavioral and clinical research workforce in the environmental health sciences.  To this end, this funding opportunity announcement encourages the development of creative educational activities with a primary focus on research experiences for undergraduates at the junior and senior level. RFA-ES-14-004

Hazardous Materials Worker Health and Safety Training (U45) Administrative Supplements for Hurricane Sandy Response and Recovery (Admin Supp)
This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) invites current grantees under the cooperative agreements to support the development of model programs for the training and education of workers engaged in activities related to hazardous materials and waste generation, removal, containment, transportation and emergency response.  With the major objective to prevent work-related harm by assisting in the training of workers in how best to protect themselves and their communities from exposure to hazardous materials encountered during hazardous waste operations, hazardous materials transportation, and environmental restoration of contaminated facilities or chemical emergency response as authorized under the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986. This supplement funded from the HHS Programs for Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, P.L. 113-2 is to provide safety training to support recovery, rebuilding and resilience in preparing for current and potential future disasters within areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy, specifically to FEMA declared major disaster states. RFA-ES-13-008

Selected Programs and Awards

HHS Green Champion Awards
The NIH NIEHS Preparing the Next Generation of Environmentalists team, consisting of Ed Kang, Cheryl Thompson, Elizabeth Lake, William Steinmetz, Bill Willis, John McLamb, Parker Sims, Claire Long, Paul Johnson won a 2017 HHS Green Champion Award in recognition of outstanding efforts to build awareness of environmental stewardship and enhance outreach in this area to affect an age-diverse audience in meaningful ways.

Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors (CURES)
A new grant from NIEHS, awarded to Wayne State University, will allow researchers to study how exposures to stressors that are prevalent in the urban industrialized environment impact human health in Detroit and beyond. The new Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors (CURES) places special emphasis on understanding how environmental exposures, during life windows of heightened susceptibility, can adversely affect health, particularly in vulnerable persons, such as children and adults of low socioeconomic status, older adults, first responders, and refugees. The center emphasizes broad interactions with the public, as well as leaders of advocacy, community, and government organizations dealing with the environment and health.

Selected Scientific Advances

2014

  • Stotland NE, Sutton P, Trowbridge J, Atchley DS, Conry J, Trasande L, Gerbert B, Charlesworth A, Woodruff TJ. 2014. Counseling patients on preventing prenatal environmental exposures--a mixed-methods study of obstetricians. PLoS One 9(6):e98771. [Abstract]
    Scientists conducted a national survey of American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists fellows and three focus groups of U.S. obstetricians and found the majority of respondents recognized the potential impact of environment on reproductive health, yet 50% do not take environmental health history from patients, less than 20% routinely ask about environmental exposures in pregnant patients, and less than 7% of physicians had received training on counseling patients about environmental exposures and reproductive health highlighting a need for incorporating EHS training into medical education and practice.
  • Whitworth KW, RM Bornman, JI Archer, MO Kudumu, GS Travlos (NTP), RE Wilson (NTP) and MP Longnecker (DIR). 2014. Predictors of Plasma DDT and DDE Concentrations among Women Exposed to Indoor Residual Spraying for Malaria Control in the South African Study of Women and Babies (SOWB). Environ Health Perspect 122(6):545-552. [Abstract]
    Researchers analyzed the blood of women across eight villages in South Africa and found higher levels of DDT in women whose indoor walls were likely to have been sprayed with the pesticide. A potential exposure reduction strategy found women who took a series of steps to prepare their home before spraying had lower blood levels of DDT.

Other Implementation Activities

MOU with Nanjing University
NIEHS has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with one of the largest universities in China, Nanjing Medical University. Established in 1934, the university has 17 schools and one independent school, 23 affiliated hospitals, and more than 50 teaching hospitals. The agreement will permit up to three early-stage university scientists to do research for two to three years at NIEHS, and allow NIEHS senior scientists to lecture at seminars, workshops, school courses, and meetings at the university.

NIEHS Biomedical Career Symposium
This annual symposium targets postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, and provides young scientists with an opportunity to explore a myriad of career options and create a contact network as they plan for their future careers in the biomedical sciences.

Scholars Connect Program
The program is designed to provide an opportunity for highly motivated science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) focused undergraduate students from the surrounding Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) and other nearby academic institutions with students from underrepresented groups to solidly connect with NIEHS and engage in many of its educational, informational, training, and career-oriented outlets. 

Science, Teachers, and Research Summer (STaRS) Institute
In this program, public school teachers join NIEHS during summer for two-weeks, during which they take part in hands-on laboratory research, science talks, facility tours, and discussion sessions. Presented in cooperation with North Carolina New Schools (NCNS), the professional development opportunity aims to enhance high school science teachers’ understanding of basic biomedical research. The teachers create lesson plans and classroom projects based on what they learn and present them, demonstrating how they will translate their experiences into practice. NIEHS opens doors for area teachers.

Partnerships for Environmental Public Health Resource Center
The educational and outreach materials on this page have been developed by Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) grantees and their community partners to increase awareness of environmental health issues. Resources.

Worker Training on Infectious Disease
The NIEHS Worker Training Program has launched an innovative program focused on raising awareness among workers of the hazards of future infectious disease outbreaks, ranging from influenza and Ebola hemorrhagic fever to newly emerging biological threats. The approach targets workers beyond direct health care providers, to train others who might be affected by an infectious disease outbreak, from lab techs and janitors, to garbage handlers, first responders, and morticians. The program, which is covered through dedicated funding for Ebola, is more comprehensive than the immediate, single-disaster responses that were mounted following hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the World Trade Center attack, and the Gulf oil spill. The training is planned for multiple sites across the country.

Transdisciplinary Environmental Health Fellowships in Epigenetics and Stem Cell Research
Trainees gain extensive laboratory training in either epigenetics research or stem cell research in the NIEHS Division of Intramural Research (DIR), as well as experience in the Division of Extramural Research and Training (DERT) and the Division of the National Toxicology Program (DNTP) in grants administration, data analysis, environmental health policy, and toxicology. Individuals are mentored by faculty from each of the three divisions, providing a broad-based experience in environmental health-focused basic laboratory research; grant preparation; program development, review, and analysis; and applied toxicological research and testing.

Superfund Promotora Pilot Training Program
The NIEHS-funded University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) and Dean Carter Binational Center for Environmental Health Sciences piloted a new training module, “Health Risks from Environmental Exposures,” that covers topics such as everyday risks, dose response, hazard consequences, and biological variability. The risk module was developed for use by promotoras de salud, or Latina community health advocates. Promotoras are peer educators who receive specialized training to promote healthy living in their communities, and are a proven method of information transfer, especially within disadvantaged populations.