Centers of Excellence on Environmental Health Disparities Research

Overall Center Goal

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death in the United States. The prevalence, morbidity, and mortality of this disease is higher among low-income populations. COPD is a complex disease exacerbated by many environmental factors, including air pollution. Previous research has shown that indoor air pollution is higher in lower income homes compared to higher income homes.

The Comparing Urban and Rural Effects of Poverty on COPD (CURE COPD) Center aims to examine how the interaction between obesity, diet, and air pollution increases susceptibility to COPD in low-income adults. Investigators will study these interactive effects in a community in urban Baltimore, Maryland, and one in rural Appalachia, both of which suffer disproportionate prevalence and morbidity from COPD, obesity, and poor diet. Research findings will be translated into practical targeted interventions to improve COPD health in the highest risk subpopulations.

The specific aims of this center's projects are to:

  • Explore obesity and dietary patterns as susceptibility factors to pollutant exposure in low-income adults with COPD residing in Baltimore.
  • Measure and determine sources of household air pollution in rural Appalachia and determine whether indoor pollutant concentrations are associated with COPD morbidity in a rural setting.
  • Collect, integrate, and disseminate research findings and study-related health promotion activities to local community members, policy makers, and local clinical professionals to use to protect the health of impacted communities.

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