NIEHS has developed and sustained a strong base of children’s environmental health (CEH) research projects for more than 20 years. A new program, the NIEHS Collaborative Centers in Children’s Environmental Health Research and Translation, builds upon that foundation and aims to establish a national network of centers to develop strategies to translate key CEH research findings to relevant stakeholders.
Effective translation of research findings requires collective expertise and collaboration of researchers from various disciplines, such as environmental health sciences, communication, behavioral and social sciences, dissemination and implementation science, medicine, policy, and more. These centers are leaders in CEH research translation and research methodology development.
The centers support collaborations among researchers in these fields and others, with the goals of enhancing the broad base of knowledge surrounding CEH and creating actionable steps to move evidence-informed CEH research findings to the broader community. This collaborative network of centers also serves as a research resource to support response efforts to emerging environmental exposures that affect children.
Grantees currently funded by NIEHS are examining risk factors associated with increased vulnerability to health impacts of global climate change, covering a variety of topics, including how heat and air pollution interact to influence population vulnerability among elderly adults, children and pregnant women, and other vulnerable populations (such as Native Americans); the health impacts of climate change-related increases in forest fires and pollen exposure; and the health impacts of adaptive response to climate change (such as home weatherization and increased use of air conditioning) as well as co-benefits of mitigation of greenhouse gasses for addressing climate change. Other NIEHS-funded grantees are developing new methodological approaches to predict health vulnerabilities to climate change.
Currently, there are six centers across the country. These centers utilize research findings to create new tools, approaches, and interventions that can be used or adapted by stakeholders to improve children’s health in communities with increased exposure to environmental hazards. Additionally, they provide mentorship opportunities to build a pathway of new investigators in CEH with an emphasis on translation of research into practical tools and risk-management strategies.
The centers share the common goal of being a resource to researchers, federal and state agencies, health care professionals, and community members in developing practical solutions to protect children’s health through the following core activities:
- Translation Core: Supports multidisciplinary collaborations with a focus on developing specific strategies to expedite the bridging of research findings into practice, including the development of products. The core also measures the adoption of these products and shares insights with researchers, federal and state agencies, health care professionals, communities, and others to improve CEH.
- Developmental Core: Supports projects that address time-sensitive issues relevant to CEH. The core includes pilot projects that generate preliminary data and implement and evaluate new interventions, strategies, concepts, and tools to address CEH concerns. The core also fosters an innovative space to mentor early-stage investigators in CEH research with an emphasis on research translation approaches.
- Administrative Core: Develops formal plans for prioritization of resources, access guidelines, and quality control to enhance the impact of the center on the scientific community and stakeholders.
- Coordinating Center: One center serves as the Coordinating Center to manage activities across the entire program. The Coordinating Center is responsible for developing and maintaining a central web portal, promoting the activities of the program across the research community, and hosting conferences and other interactions among principal investigators.
- National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council Meeting (February 15 – 16, 2022). The Collaborative Centers in Children’s Environmental Health Research and Translation will be announced during the February 16 session at 1:30 p.m. EST.
- Advancing Environmental Health Equity Through Implementation Science workshop (February 28 – March 1, 2022). The workshop is free and open to the public.
Kimberly Gray, Ph.D.
Health Scientist Administrator
530 Davis Dr
530 Davis Drive (Keystone Bldg) 3070
Durham, NC 27713