Elaine Symanski, Ph.D.

Elaine Symanski, Ph.D., co-director of the Maternal and Infant Environmental Health Riskscape Research Center, works with Houston communities to understand how biological, physical, social, and built environments affect maternal and infant health.

“There’s probably no more important group to focus on than mothers and their children,” she stressed. “When you improve mothers’ and family health, you are really improving the health of the entire community.”

Symanski envisions the center as the anchor for the conduct of environmental health disparities research in Houston and the surrounding areas. She hopes to gain new insights on the lived experiences of those affected by environmental pollution to better inform research strategies and communication approaches.

“Through our conversations with the community, we have heard that Black mothers want to talk to us about their experiences, particularly about giving birth,” said Symanski. So, we’re developing a forum for mothers to talk to us about their experiences and concerns.”