Goal 6 – Environmental Health Disparities
Implementation Highlights and Accomplishments
Establish an environmental health disparities research agenda to understand the disproportionate risks of disease, and to define and support public health and prevention solutions in affected populations.
- Conduct community-based participatory research that incorporates cultural competencies.
- Include research and education on the ethical, legal, and social implications of EHS research, including human participation issues, research integrity, reporting of results, and other issues.
- Develop and recommend or implement interventions to reduce or eliminate environmental exposures that cause the greatest burden of disease to affected populations.
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
Centers of Excellence on Environmental Health Disparities Research (P50)
This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) encourages grant applications to support Centers of Excellence on Environmental Health Disparities Research to stimulate basic and applied research on environmental health disparities. The proposed research is expected to develop innovative approaches to understand environmentally-driven health disparities and improve access to healthy environments for vulnerable populations and communities. The proposed Centers are expected to support research efforts, mentoring, research translation and information dissemination. RFA-ES-14-010
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
2017 NIEHS Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) Awardee Madeleine Scammell, D.Sc., from Boston University School of Public Health, will research the roles of heat stress, and heavy metal and herbicide exposures on the risk of developing kidney disease among agricultural workers in El Salvador, where death rates from the disease are very high.
On May 25, the National Institutes of Health announced a partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fund five new research centers to improve health in communities overburdened by pollution and other environmental factors that contribute to health disparities. The Centers of Excellence on Environmental Health Disparities Research are jointly funded by NIEHS, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), and the National Center for Environmental Research at EPA. The new centers, funded by five-year grants, are an expansion of a successful pilot program originally started by NIMHD and EPA.
- The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, led by Francine Laden, Sc.D., and Jonathan Levy, Sc.D., will study how housing conditions may affect birth weight, childhood growth trajectories, and risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and whether improved urban housing may benefit health. New NIH-EPA research centers to study environmental health disparities.
- Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, led by Nadia Hansel, M.D., will compare urban and rural effects of poverty on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and the impact of improved dietary intake on preventing or mitigating disease progression. New NIH-EPA research centers to study environmental health disparities.
- The University of Arizona, Tucson, led by Jeff Burgess, M.D., and Stephanie Rainie, Dr.P.H., will work with indigenous populations to examine chemical contamination of traditional foods, water, air, and household environments, and increase environmental health literacy. New NIH-EPA research centers to study environmental health disparities.
- The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, led by Johnnye Lewis, Ph.D., and Melissa Gonzales, Ph.D., will examine how contact with metal mixtures from abandoned mines affects rural Native American populations through exposures related to inadequate drinking water infrastructure, reliance on local foods, and other uses of local resources to maintain their traditional lifestyle and culture. New NIH-EPA research centers to study environmental health disparities.
- The University of Southern California, Los Angeles, led by Frank Gilliland, M.D., Ph.D., and Carrie Breton, Sc.D., will study how environmental factors may contribute to childhood obesity and excessive weight gain during pregnancy in Hispanic and Latino communities. New NIH-EPA research centers to study environmental health disparities.
2015 Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) Awardees Samir Kelada, Ph.D., at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will use innovative approaches to identify genes and pathways that play a role in the effect of ozone on asthma.
William Mack, M.D., at the University of Southern California, will research how particulate matter exposure can be toxic to blood vessels in the brain, and identify risks to cognitive health in vulnerable populations.
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. 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. New NIEHS-funded center focuses on urban environmental stressors
Workshops and Conferences
- National Environmental Justice Conference and Training
- Superfund Worker Training Grantee Meeting & Community Forum
- Women's Health Awareness Day
- Tribal Ecological Knowledge Workshop
- Research to Action Grantee Meeting
- Deepwater Horizon Research Consortia Meeting
- Climate Justice Conference
- Duke Superfund Environmental Justice Meeting
- Environmental Health Disparities and Environmental Justice Meeting
- Latin American Conference on Compatible Mining: Protecting Vulnerable Populations and the Surrounding Environment
- NIEHS Environmental Health Science FEST, December 5 – 8, 2016
- NIH Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) of Citizen Science
- Symposium and Virtual Community Forum on Near Roadway Air Pollution Exposure
- Tribal Environmental Health Summit
- Workers and Climate Change Workshop
- Workshop on Bringing Public Health into Urban Revitalization
Selected Scientific Advances
O' Lenick CR, Chang HH, Kramer MR, Winquist A, Mulholland JA, Friberg MD, Sarnat SE. 2017. Ozone and childhood respiratory disease in three US cities: evaluation of effect measure modification by neighborhood socioeconomic status using a Bayesian hierarchical approach. Environ Health 16(1):36. [Abstract]
Researchers evaluated individual and area-level factors as modifiers of the association between warm-season (May-Sept.) temperature and pediatric respiratory morbidity in Atlanta.
Bernardi LA, Carnethon MR, de Chavez PJ, Ikhena DE, Neff LM, Baird DD (DIR), Marsh EE. 2017. Relationship between obesity and anti-Mullerian hormone in reproductive-aged African American women. Obesity 25(1):229-235. [Abstract]
Using data form women participating in an ongoing National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences study, the authors aimed to determine whether there is an association between obesity and anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) among reproductive-aged African American women (AAW).
Renzetti S, Just AC, Burris HH, Oken E, Amarasiriwardena C, Svensson K, Mercado-Garcia A, Cantoral A, Schnaas L, Baccarelli AA, Wright RO, Tellez-Rojo MM. 2017. The association of lead exposure during pregnancy and childhood anthropometry in the Mexican PROGRESS cohort. 2017. Environ Res 152:226-232. [Abstract]
The objective of this study was to determine how lead exposure during pregnancy is associated with children's growth parameters, including height, weight, body mass index and percentage body fat measured between ages 4-6 years old in a Mexico City pregnancy cohort.
Grau-Perez M, CC Kuo, M Spratlen, KA Thayer (NTP), MA Mendez, RF Hamman, D Dabelea, JL Adgate, WC Knowler, RA Bell, FW Miller (DIR), AD Liese, C Zhang, C Douillet, Z Drobna, EJ Mayer-Davis, M Styblo and A Navas-Acien. 2016. The Association of Arsenic Exposure and Metabolism with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes in Youth: The SEARCH Case-Control Study. Diabetes Care 40(1):46-53. [Abstract]
Researchers examined the association of arsenic with type 1 and type 2 diabetes in the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Case-Control (SEARCH-CC) study.
Davé V, Street K, Francis S, Bradman A, Riley L, Eskenazi B, Holland N. 2016. Bacterial microbiome of breast milk and child saliva from low-income Mexican-American women and children. Pediatr Res 79(6):846-54. [Abstract]
Bell MR, Thompson LM, Rodriguez K, Gore AC. 2016. Two-hit exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls at gestational and juvenile life stages: 1. Sexually dimorphic effects on social and anxiety-like behaviors. Horm Behav 78:168-77. [Abstract]
Bell MR, Hart BG, Gore AC. 2016. Two-hit exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls at gestational and juvenile life stages: 2. Sex-specific neuromolecular effects in the brain. Mol Cell Endocrinol 420:125-37. [Abstract]
Bonner MR, LE Beane Freeman, JA Hoppin, S Koutros, DP Sandler (DIR), CF Lynch, CJ Hines, K Thomas, A Blair and MC Alavanja. 2016. Occupational Exposure to Pesticides and the Incidence of Lung Cancer in the Agricultural Health Study. Environ Health Perspect 125(4):544-551. [Abstract]
Parks CG (DIR), JA Hoppin, AJ DeRoos, KH Costenbader, MC Alavanja and DP Sandler (DIR). 2016. Rheumatoid Arthritis in Agricultural Health Study Spouses: Associations with Pesticides and Other Farm Exposures. Environ Health Perspect 124(11):1728-1734. [Abstract]
Rowe C, Gunier R, Bradman A, Harley KG, Kogut K, Parra K, Eskenazi B. 2016. Residential proximity to organophosphate and carbamate pesticide use during pregnancy, poverty during childhood, and cognitive functioning in 10-year-old children. Environ Res 150:128-137. [Abstract]
Huen K, Calafat AM, Bradman A, Yousefi P, Eskenazi B, Holland N. 2016. Maternal phthalate exposure during pregnancy is associated with DNA methylation of LINE-1 and Alu repetitive elements in Mexican-American children. Environ Res 148:55-62. [Abstract]
Gerona RR, Pan J, Zota AR, Schwartz JM, Friesen M, Taylor JA, Hunt PA, Woodruff TJ. 2016. Direct measurement of Bisphenol A (BPA), BPA glucuronide and BPA sulfate in a diverse and low-income population of pregnant women reveals high exposure, with potential implications for previous exposure estimates: a cross-sectional study. Environ Health 15(1):50. [Abstract]
Thorne PS, Mendy A, Metwali N, Salo P, Co C, Jaramillo R, Rose KM, Zeldin DC. 2015. Endotoxin Exposure: Predictors and Prevalence of Associated Asthma Outcomes in the United States. J Respir Crit Care Med 192(11):1287-97. [Abstract]
Upson K (DIR), Harmon QE (DIR), Baird DD (DIR). 2015. Soy-Based Infant Formula Feeding and Ultrasound-Detected Uterine Fibroids among Young African-American Women with No Prior Clinical Diagnosis of Fibroids. Environ Health Perspect 124(6):769-75. [Abstract]
Harley KG, Engel SM, Vedar MG, Eskenazi B, Whyatt RM, Lanphear BP, Bradman A, Rauh VA, Yolton K, Hornung RW, Wetmur JG, Chen J, Holland NT, Barr DB, Perera FP, Wolff MS. 2015. Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphorous Pesticides and Fetal Growth: Pooled Results from Four Longitudinal Birth Cohort Studies. Environ Health Perspect 124(7):1084-92. [Abstract]
Yeramaneni S, Dietrich KN, Yolton K, Parsons PJ, Aldous KM, Haynes EN. 2015. Secondhand Tobacco Smoke Exposure and Neuromotor Function in Rural Children. J Pediatr 167(2):253-9. [Abstract]
This community-based participatory research study of 404 children and their families in Ohio assessed the association of second hand smoke exposure and increased risk of neuromotor effects in children finding exposure to secondhand smoke was significantly associated with poor fine motor and gross motor development in children highlighting the need for intervention to reduce childhood exposure and prevent adverse effects in children.
Lebov JF, LS Engel, D Richardson, SL Hogan, JA Hoppin and DP Sandler (DIR). 2015. Pesticide use and risk of end-stage renal disease among licensed pesticide applicators in the Agricultural Health Study. Occup Environ Med 73(1):3-12. [Abstract]
This work examined environmental risk factors for kidney disease in male pesticide applicators participating in the Agricultural Health Study and found the risk of end-stage kidney disease was significantly greater for pesticide applicators that were hospitalized and had multiple medical visits due to pesticide use.
Li Y, Xie C, Murphy SK, Skaar D, Nye M, Vidal AC, Cecil KM, Dietrich KN, Puga A, Jirtle RL, Hoyo C. 2015. Lead Exposure during Early Human Development and DNA Methylation of Imprinted Gene Regulatory Elements in Adulthood. Environ Health Perspect 124(5):666-73. [Abstract]
This research examined epigenetic changes, which alter gene activity without changing DNA sequence, in blood samples taken from women of the Cincinnati Lead cohort 30 years ago and compared the results to babies born to these women finding lead concentrations were associated with the epigenetic state of more than half of the genes examined suggesting early childhood exposure to lead may result in epigenetic changes which could alter gene activity.
Medehouenou TC, Ayotte P, St-Jean A, Meziou S, Roy C, Muckle G, Lucas M. 2015. Overweight and Obesity Prevalence Among School-Aged Nunavik Inuit Children According to Three Body Mass Index Classification Systems. J Adolesc Health 57(1):31-6. [Abstract]
Researchers examined the suitability of obesity classification methods in Inuit children using the Nunavik Child Development Study and found the International Obesity Task Force method is able to more specifically identify overweight and obese children in this population.
Ojo KD, Soneja SI, Scrafford CG, Khatry SK, LeClerq SC, Checkley W, Katz J, Breysse PN, Tielsch JM. 2015. Indoor Particulate Matter Concentration, Water Boiling Time, and Fuel Use of Selected Alternative Cookstoves in a Home-Like Setting in Rural Nepal. Int J Environ Res Public Health 12(7):7558-81. [Abstract]
This work evaluated alternative cookstoves in rural Nepal and found a significant reduction in indoor air pollution for all stoves tested. This work also evaluated fuel usage and cooking times, which may affect the likelihood of use.
Young MT, Sandler DP (DIR), DeRoo LA (DIR), Vedal S, Kaufman JD and London SJ (DIR). 2014. Ambient Air Pollution Exposure and Incident Adult Asthma in a Nationwide Cohort of U.S. Women Am J Respir Crit Care Med 190(8):914-921. [Abstract]
The Sister Study, a cohort of ~50,000 sisters of women who have had breast cancer, found air pollution exposure increases the risk of developing asthma in women or increased the risk of developing wheeze (asthma symptom) in women.
Nichols HB, LA DeRoo, DR Scharf and DP Sandler (DIR). Risk-benefit profiles of women using tamoxifen for chemoprevention. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 107(1):1-8. [Abstract]
The Sister Study examined the use of tamoxifen in sisters of breast cancer patients to prevent breast cancer and found even though the majority of women would benefit from this prevention measure, almost half of women discontinued use of tamoxifen after less than 5 years.
Myers SL (DIR), Yang CZ, Bittner GD, Witt KL (NTP), Tice RR (NTP), Baird DD (DIR). 2014. Estrogenic and anti-estrogenic activity of off-the-shelf hair and skin care products. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 25:271-277. [Abstract]
This study examined endocrine disrupting activity of hair products predominately used by African Americans and found 50% of the products tested (4/8) had estrogenic activity and 37.5% (3/8) had anti-estrogenic activity suggesting hair products commonly used by African Americans may have adverse health outcomes resulting from endocrine disruption.
Jukic AM (DIR), Steiner AZ and Baird DD (DIR). 2015. Association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and ovarian reserve in premenopausal women. Menopause 22(3):312-6. [Abstract]
Scientists examined Vitamin D in plasma samples and hormone levels in urine samples of women in The Uterine Fibroid Study and showed an inverse relationship between Vitamin D and hormone in a population of premenopausal women suggesting Vitamin D levels may contribute to decreased ovarian reserve and fertility.
Furlong MA, Engel SM, Barr DB, Wolff MS. 2014. Prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides and reciprocal social behavior in childhood. Environ Int 70:125-31. [Abstract]
Adding to the literature that supports potential adverse neurobehavioral outcomes result from prenatal organophosphate pesticide exposure, this work also highlights a potential health disparity in blacks and boys exposed to specific pesticides.
Shelton JF, Geraghty EM, Tancredi DJ, Delwiche LD, Schmidt RJ, Ritz B, Hansen RL, Hertz-Picciotto I. Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticides: The CHARGE Study. Environ Health Perspect 122(10):1103-9. [Abstract]
The Childhood Autism Risk from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) Study provided additional evidence that autism spectrum disorders are linked to prenatal pesticide exposures and highlights a risk of autism spectrum with pyrethroid exposure, a chemical that is supposed to be a safe alternative to organophosphates that were shown to increase risk of autism spectrum disorder by 60%.
Ware DN, Lewis J, Hopkins S, Boyer B, Montrose L, Noonan CW, Semmens EO, Ward TJ. 2014. Household reporting of childhood respiratory health and air pollution in rural Alaska Native communities. Int J Circumpolar Health 73:1-10. [Abstract]
Scientists investigated the respiratory health of children in Alaskan Native communities and found some exposures may be preventable.
Moreno-Estrada A, Gignoux CR, Fernández-López JC, Zakharia F, Sikora M, Contreras AV, Acuña-Alonzo V, Sandoval K, Eng C, Romero-Hidalgo S, Ortiz-Tello P, Robles V, Kenny EE, Nuño-Arana I, Barquera-Lozano R, Macín-Pérez G, Granados-Arriola J, Huntsman S, Galanter JM, Via M, Ford JG, Chapela R, Rodriguez-Cintron W, Rodríguez-Santana JR, Romieu I, Sienra-Monge JJ, del Rio Navarro B, London SJ (DIR), Ruiz-Linares A, Garcia-Herrera R, Estrada K, Hidalgo-Miranda A, Jimenez-Sanchez G, Carnevale A, Soberón X, Canizales-Quinteros S, Rangel-Villalobos H, Silva-Zolezzi I, Burchard EG, Bustamante CD. 2014. The genetics of Mexico recapitulates Native American substructure and affects biomedical traits. Science 344(6189):1280-5. [Abstract]
Scientists examined the fine-scale genomic structure across Mexican populations revealing genetic diversity as extensive as that between Europeans and Chinese populations. In addition, they suggest the genetic substructure of Mexican populations is similar to Native American population substructure.
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 122:545-552. [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.
Weinberg CR, Shi M, Deroo LA, Taylor JA, Sandler DP and Umbach DM. 2014. Asymmetry in family history implicates nonstandard genetic mechanisms: application to the genetics of breast cancer. PLoS Genet 10(3):e1004174. [Abstract]
The Sister Study, a cohort of ~50,000 sisters of women who have had breast cancer, identified nonstandard genetic mechanisms that may be important contributors of breast cancer risk.
Xu Z, Taylor JA. 2014. Genome-wide age-related DNA methylation changes in blood and other tissues relate to histone modification, expression and cancer. Carcinogenesis 35(2):356-364. [Abstract]
This work identified age-associated epigenome-wide changes in the Sister Study, a cohort of ~50,000 sisters of women who have had breast cancer, that may play a role in increased risk of cancer in the aging population.
Ji JS, Schwartz J, Sparrow D, Hu H, Weisskopf MG. 2014. Occupational Determinants of Cumulative Lead Exposure: Analysis of Bone Lead Among Men in the VA Normative Aging Study. J Occup Environ Med 56(4):435-40. [Abstract]
Using the Normative Aging Study, this work examined the bone lead concentration in 1,320 men across 14 occupation categories and found service workers, construction workers, extractive craft workers, installation, maintenance, and repair craft workers had the highest bone lead concentrations suggesting occupation is a good predictor of lead exposure.
Proper SP, Saini Y, Greenwood KK, Bramble LA, Downing NJ, Harkema JR, LaPres JJ. 2014. Loss of Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 2 Alpha in the Lung Alveolar Epithelium of Mice Leads to Enhanced Eosinophilic Inflammation in Cobalt-Induced Lung Injury. Toxicol Sci 137(2):447-457. [Abstract]
This work investigated a mechanism behind an occupational lung disease resulting from cobalt inhalation using mouse models and identified a role for inflammation pathway signaling in response to occupational cobalt exposure.
Fabian MP, Adamkiewicz G, Stout NK, Sandel M, Levy JI. 2013. A simulation model of building intervention impacts on indoor environmental quality, pediatric asthma, and costs. J Allergy Clin Immunol 133(1):77-84. [Abstract]
Researchers employed simulation models to evaluate health care costs, intervention costs and energy savings in low-income multifamily housing units.
Bensen JT, Xu ZL, McKeigue PM, Smith GJ, Fontham ETH, Mohler JL, Taylor JA. 2014. Admixture Mapping of Prostate Cancer in African Americans Participating in the North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project (PCaP). Prostate 74(1):1-9. [Abstract]
Scientists performed genetic analyses on the DNA of 997 African American participants of the North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Study and found a new region of the genome associated with prostate cancer risk.
Hernández-Valero MA, Rother J, Gorlov I, Frazier M, Gorlova O. 2013. Interplay between polymorphisms and methylation in the H19/IGF2 gene region may contribute to obesity in Mexican-American children. J Dev Orig Health Dis 4(6):499-506. [Abstract]
Scientists analyzed the relationships between obesity, epigenetic state, and polymorphisms of a genetic region in Mexican-American children and found the epigenetic state of the genetic region may play a role in childhood obesity of Mexican-American children in a sex-specific way.
Other Implementation Activities
President's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children
This task force, which comprises representatives of 17 federal departments and White House offices, is charged with: identifying priority issues of environmental health and safety risks to children that are best addressed through interagency efforts; developing strategies to protect children’s environmental health and safety; recommending and implementing interagency actions; and communicating information to federal, state, and local decision makers for use in protecting children from environmental health and safety risks. NIEHS staff engages on this task force as members of the Steering Committee and co-chairs of the Subcommittees on Chemical Exposures and on Climate Change. President's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children
Zika in Infants and Pregnancy Study
Zika in Infants and Pregnancy Study - The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz (the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, also known as Fiocruz), a scientific research organization based in Rio de Janeiro, have begun a study to evaluate the magnitude of health risks that Zika virus infection poses to pregnant women and their developing fetuses, as well as infants. The study will begin in Puerto Rico and expand to several locations in Brazil, Colombia, and other areas experiencing active local transmission of the virus.
The Zika in Infants and Pregnancy (ZIP) study aims to enroll as many as 10,000 pregnant women, ages 15 and older, at 15 locations. The participants, who must be in their first trimester of pregnancy when joining, will be followed throughout their pregnancies to determine if they become infected with the virus and, if so, what outcomes result for both mother and child. The infants will be carefully followed for at least one year after birth.
Tribal Ecological Knowledge PEPH Webinar
This webinar discussed Tribal Ecological Knowledge’s (TEK) value from the perspective of representatives of indigenous communities, and it provided an opportunity for thoughtful dialogue about traditional knowledge and how it should inform the research process. The webinar included an overview of TEK, as well as presentations about (a) the development of Indigenous Health Indicators that reflect a holistic view of health held by tribal communities and (b) how TEK is used to understand the relationship between toxic exposures, health, and the environment in the Arctic. PEPH Tribal Ecological Knowledge (TEK) Webinar.
NIEHS Advancing Environmental Justice Report: This report is the first to highlight the contributions to environmental justice by DERT. It provides a brief history of the environmental justice movement, the role of and funding investments made by DERT, an analysis of those contributions, conclusions, and suggested next steps. Advancing Environmental Justice. In addition, the Advancing EJ Annotated Bibliography was developed as a compendium to the report to provide researchers, communities, and stakeholders with more accessible information about key outcomes reported in environmental justice projects. The annotated bibliography lists and summarizes peer-reviewed research articles from several of the projects highlighted in the report. Advancing Environmental Justice: Annotated Bibliography.
Tribal Stories of Health and the Environment
More than 115 tribal community members representing some 20 tribes joined the University of Arizona Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center (SWEHSC) and NIEHS for a tribal community forum, “Tribal Stories of Health and the Environment,” held on April 16 in Tucson, Arizona. Sessions of discussion focused on drinking water exposures from arsenic, uranium, cryptosporidium, and other contaminants; dust, pesticide use in agriculture and communities, and indoor air quality; health effects of climate change and epidemiological perspectives on tribal issues; environmental health concerns ranging from health disparities and cancer prevalence, to health education and children’s health; and resources available to address tribal health disparities.
Alaska Community Forums
Over a five-day period, Dr. Linda Birnbaum, NIEHS Director, participated in twelve community meetings on public health and the environment in Savoonga, Nome, Chickaloon, and Anchorage, Alaska. During the visit, Dr. Birnbaum met with native tribal leaders, village elders, women’s talking circle, local officials, community organizations, health care providers, village traditional councils, researchers, students and public health officials. There was widespread enthusiasm for the meetings and discussions, especially in St Lawrence Island, as it was the first time an NIH institute director had come to learn about their issues and concerns. Pam Miller, Executive Director, and Viola Waghiyi, Environmental Health and Justice Program Director (and NAEHS Council member) of the Alaska Community Action on Toxics organized the forums. Alaska community forums highlight tribal health disparities.
A Community Conversation on Toxics, Climate Change & Health
On May 21, 2015, NIEHS Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., D.A.B.T., participated in a Community Forum in Brooklyn, NY. The event was hosted by UPROSE, Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community based organization. UPROSE is an intergenerational, multi-racial, nationally-recognized community organization that promotes the sustainability and resiliency of the Sunset Park community in Brooklyn through community organizing, education, leadership development and cultural/artistic expression. The industrial waterfront is one of the city’s last working waterfronts. It is known for its port facilities, maritime commerce, and vibrant industrial sectors. The waterfront is home to several manufacturers ranging from apparel to woodwork. Due to the industrial and manufacturing nature of the waterfront the community has faced a number of disproportionate environment and health burdens such as a bus depot, numerous truck routes, including the overtaxed Gowanus Expressway, two New York Power Authority electrical turbine engines with 100 tons of yearly emissions, three antiquated power plants, a sludge transfer facility and dozens of brownfield sites.
Detroit Community Forum
An NIEHS Community Forum, in which Dr. Linda Birnbaum engages directly with communities on their issues of environmental health concern, was held on June 18, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Concerns discussed included contaminated sites of former tire plants along the Detroit waterfront; the high-volume Ambassador Bridge, which carries more than 7,000 trucks daily between the U.S. and Canada; Zug Island, a significant source of industrial pollution along the river; and a 250-acre oil refinery in southwest Detroit. Dr. Birnbaum spoke specifically on a persistent concern in the community—respiratory diseases triggered by environmental exposures to industrial chemicals, inhaled fibers and particles, and combustion-related air pollution.
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. Superfund pilots new promotora training module in Mexico and Arizona.