Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Health Disparities and the Exposome: From Zip Code to Genetic Code

The NIEHS Exposure Science and the Exposome Webinar Series
September 29, 2015


The NIEHS Strategic Plan places a significant emphasis on transforming exposure science through the development of new approaches to exposure assessment, the definition and dissemination of the exposome concept, and the development and demonstration of the exposome as a tool for both epidemiological and mechanistic research. In order to achieve this goal, NIEHS launched the Exposure Science and the Exposome Webinar Series on April 4, 2014 to foster discussions on international efforts in advancing exposure science and the exposome concept as well as challenges and opportunities in incorporating this concept in environmental health research (view previous webinars on YouTube).


Health Disparities and the Exposome: From Zip Code to Genetic Code

Speaker: Paul D. Juarez, Ph.D., Meharry Medical College
Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Time: 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM EDT


Despite the increased attention to racial/ethnic health disparities over the past 30 years, little progress has been made in reducing them. The exposome, as first introduced into the literature in 2005 by Christopher Wild, encompasses the totality of lifetime exposures, at critical life stages, and over the lifespan. By addressing both external and internal exposures, the exposome presents a paradigm shift for understanding the etiology of health disparities with implications for translational and intervention research. This new paradigm is responsive to how chemical and non-chemical exposures that occur in everyday life, affect the biological mechanisms and pathways that lead to increased susceptibility for disease. As such, the exposome supports a place-based approach for conceptualizing exposure pathways and the etiology of population-based health disparities. While most of the research that uses an exposome approach to date, had been limited to internal exposures, this presentation provided an integrated health disparities conceptual frame that linked external and internal exposures. It concluded with a discussion of exposomics research approaches, methods and analytics that can be used to increase our understanding of the effects of exposures from zip code to genetic code and its relevance for conducting population-based, health disparities research.


Paul D. Juarez recently returned to Meharry Medical College in September 2015 as Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Family and Community Medicine and Director of the Health Disparities Research Center of Excellence. He previously held the position of Professor, Preventive Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center and was co-director of the Research Center on Health Disparities, Equity, and the Exposome. His current research focuses on applying an exposome approach to a range of health disparities, including pre-term birth, infant mortality, neuro-cognitive development, asthma, and lung cancer. This focus has led to the establishment of a trans-disciplinary team of investigators from multiple academic and research institutions, including Meharry Medical College, UTHSC, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the Ohio State University, Rutgers University, Tennessee State University, Tulane University, University of Maryland, University of Memphis, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Oak Ridge National Laboratories and the USRA/National Space Science and Technology Center™ NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

to Top