Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH)
NIEHS is engaged in a number of on-going research initiatives that address important areas in environmental public health. These include the Children's Environmental Health Centers, The Breast Cancer and Environment Research Centers, Superfund Basic Research Program and the Superfund Worker Education and Training Program, and several trans-NIH programs in community-based participatory research, health literacy, and health disparities. These projects are included in the Partnerships for Environmental Public Health Program (PEPH) network.
NIEHS will also develop new opportunities to support research in environmental public health. Topics of interest will be broad and diverse and include understanding the health burden associated with risks in populations with inequities in environmental exposure and disease, existing and emerging concerns regarding environmental justice, quantifying exposures to the many chemical, biological, and social stressors people experience over their lifetime at home, work, and play, and health impacts of emerging environmental threats. The research program will focus on burdens identified by communities and will have the potential for public health action at the local, regional, or national levels. The research will be focused in three areas.
- Descriptive studies necessary for communities to collect information and/or data to support an action. Some examples include research on the prevalence and sources of exposures or diseases in populations using existing or new technology to measure exposures in communities.
- Study of the linkage between exposure and disease. The study of chemical and biological exposures coupled with social factors in order to better understand the health impact of multiple and cumulative exposures over time in vulnerable populations. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods may be appropriate depending on the questions studied.
- Intervention and prevention studies. Testing effective strategies for exposure reduction and disease prevention using behavioral, education, nutritional, biological, or policy/regulatory strategies.
All research projects will include teams of researchers and community members and hypotheses should be developed jointly to reflect the concerns of the community. Translating research findings to community and other stakeholders will be required as part of the project and evaluation of the research processes and outcomes will also be necessary. Outreach and education materials will be created as part of these research projects. Training of community members in environmental health research methods can be provided as part of the research experiences by engaging them as active members of the research team involved in data collection, analysis, and discussion of interpretation and dissemination. A variety of mechanisms will be used over the next ten years to assure continued support for the best science and translation projects.