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Your Environment. Your Health.

PEPH E-News August 2017

Volume 8, Issue 8: August 2017

PEPH E-News Header

New Report Offers Recommendations for Citizen Science and Environmental Health Research

A new report recommends the incorporation of citizen science approaches into environmental health research to ensure that community concerns are adequately addressed. The report is the result of two days of stakeholder discussions held in December 2016 at the Research Triangle Environmental Health Collaborative (EHC) Summit, titled Community Engaged Research and Citizen Science: Advancing Environmental Public Health to Meet the Needs of our Communities, in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

"At NIEHS, we recognize citizen science as a community-led research effort that may include an academic partner, with the goal of translating research findings into action that addresses community concerns," said Liam O'Fallon, program lead for the NIEHS Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) program. "The workshop provided a space to acknowledge the value and extensive history of community engagement in environmental health research."

Summit participants developed recommendations to meet citizen science challenges in the key areas of research conduct; uses of data and technology; and ethical, legal, and social issues. While each topic area includes unique challenges and recommendations, three cross-cutting needs emerged:

  • Develop frameworks and best practices to guide citizen science research. Developing frameworks, toolkits, resource databases, and best practices can help guide the design, implementation, and translation of citizen science research.
  • Include citizen science approaches in regulatory standards. Standardizing quality control measures in data collection protocols, integrating citizen science into traditional research training, and publishing citizen science studies in scientific journals are some ways to build acceptance of citizen science research and community-collected data. A reluctance to accept the credibility of citizen science has resulted in data being excluded from regulatory decision making.
  • Engage the community in research efforts. Engaging community members in research efforts from start to finish is essential to the success of community-engaged research. Training community members in data collection, interpretation, and translation empowers them to act on their own behalf, improves their science and data literacy, and enables them to pursue their own citizen science efforts.

"One of the greatest values of citizen science is its ability to empower community members to address local environmental problems on their own terms," said NIEHS program officer Symma Finn, Ph.D., who gave a plenary talk at the workshop. "In addition, raising the capacity of citizen scientists to participate as partners in research can help ensure that project findings and outcomes are sustained beyond the limits of funding and that research addresses both scientific questions and community concerns."

New NIEHS Community-Engaged Research and Citizen Science Webpages

The new Community-Engaged Research and Citizen Science section of the NIEHS website describes the relationship between these collaborative approaches and highlights five recent case studies. Each case study describes the project background, outcomes, challenges, and the ways in which community partners were involved. Check out the new webpages to learn more about CEnR and citizen science.

PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast Series

Environmental Health Chat

In our newest podcast, Flame Retardant Chemicals, hear how researchers and advocates are working to reduce public exposure to flame retardants and communicate with decision makers to further protect human health.

You can find more podcasts on the Environmental Health Chat webpage or subscribe to the series on iTunes. We want your feedback! Send comments and ideas for future podcasts to podcast@niehs.nih.gov.

PEPH Webinars: (1) Community-Based Air Monitoring and (2) Extreme Events, Environmental Health, and the Elderly

Mark your calendars for two upcoming PEPH webinars:

  • On August 24, from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. EDT, PEPH will be hosting a webinar focused on community-based air monitoring. Please register and join us as presenters from two academic-community partnerships discuss their air-monitoring projects.
  • On September 15, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. EDT, join us for a webinar focused on extreme events, environmental health, and the elderly. Please register and stay tuned for more information.

PEPH Grantee Highlights: Frances K. Barg, Ph.D., and Nicholas Newman, D.O.

Frances Barg, Ph.D., is a medical anthropologist at the University of Pennsylvania who uses social science methods to understand the impact of asbestos exposure on the residents of Ambler, Pennsylvania. Barg and her colleagues launched the Resources for Education and Action for Community Health in Ambler (REACH Ambler) initiative to educate residents about asbestos and its risks and to tell the story of the town. Working closely with the community has helped Barg understand the social, lifestyle, and economic factors that influence exposure, as well as the perspective of the residents. "Understanding the realities of living with asbestos in the community from the point of view of the residents really helped REACH researchers to understand the anxieties of the townspeople. This is important because perceived risk and government-designated risk can vary dramatically," she said. Read the PEPH Grantee Highlight to learn more.

Nicholas Newman, D.O., director of the Environmental Health and Lead Clinic at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, has developed an interactive curriculum to help clinicians and medical students better understand the link between environmental health and disease prevention. Developed in collaboration with colleagues from the NIEHS-funded Center for Environmental Genetics (CEG) and experts within the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units, the course helps clinicians consider how lifestyle factors or social determinants may influence a patient's risk of exposure to different chemicals. "As we fine-tune the course content and activities, the long-term goal is to integrate this into the established medical training at the University of Cincinnati," said Newman. "We want to ensure that the curriculum becomes a strong supplement to medical students' education, which will help them be better prepared to address the environmental health concerns of the communities they serve." Read the PEPH Grantee Highlight to learn more.

PEPH in the July NIEHS Environmental Factor

Baby teeth link autism with metal uptake, in NIEHS-funded study. Baby teeth from children with autism contain more toxic lead and less zinc and manganese than in children without autism, say NIEHS-funded researchers.

Extreme events conference highlights risks to the elderly. A federal workshop explored the toll of extreme weather and other events on the elderly and vulnerable populations.

Infectious disease training improves airport worker preparedness. Workers at Raleigh-Durham International Airport are now better prepared for infectious disease pathogens, thanks to innovative training.

NIEHS centers blend science and community engagement. The NIEHS Environmental Health Sciences Core Centers meeting promoted collaborative science among researchers and communities.

Prenatal pesticide exposure linked to infant motor function. Prenatal exposure to two pesticides was linked to small but significant decreases in motor function in infants in China.

NLM Fact Sheet on Science and Health Resources for the Classroom

Just as kids are heading back to school, a National Library of Medicine (NLM) fact sheet makes it easy for K-12 teachers to find engaging science and health lessons for the classroom. The fact sheet highlights resources for teaching concepts in biology, chemistry, environmental health science, genetics, and more.

Participate in the Healthy People 2030 Process

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is soliciting written comments on the proposed framework for Healthy People 2030. The framework refers to the Healthy People 2030 vision, mission, foundational principles, plan of action, and overarching goals. It will guide the selection and prioritization of Healthy People 2030 objectives. Members of the public, both individuals and organizations, are invited to submit comments on the proposed framework. Due Date: September 29, 2017.

Fluorinated Compounds Conference Resources Now Available

On June 14 - 15, Northeastern University's Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute (SSEHRI) hosted "Highly Fluorinated Compounds – Social and Scientific Discovery," a two-day conference addressing the social, scientific, political, economic, and environmental health issues raised by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). A summary of the meeting, as well as presentation slides and video recordings of presentations, are now available on the SSEHRI website. SSEHRI also will post materials contributed by conference attendees to provide educational resources for people affected by PFAS and those working to help them. The conference was funded in part through the NIEHS Conference grant program.

Fellowship Opportunity: 2018 APHA Public Health Fellowship in Government

The American Public Health Association (APHA) is now accepting applications for the Public Health Fellowship in Government. The fellowship provides a unique learning experience and demonstrates the value and need for basing policy on sound science. The fellow will have the option of working in the House or Senate on legislative and policy issues such as creating healthy communities, improving health equity, addressing environmental health concerns, population health, or the social determinants of health.

The fellowship is open to all APHA members who are public health professionals. Candidates must have a graduate degree in public health or related discipline and have at least five years of experience as a public health professional beyond graduate or medical training. All candidates must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The fellowship is based in Washington, D.C. and runs from January through December 2018. Applications are due by August 14, 2017.

Postgraduate Training Opportunity: U.S. EPA Office of Children's Health Protection

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Children's Health Protection is currently recruiting a postgraduate trainee to work on children's environmental health topics through the EPA's Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Research Participation Program. The primary focus of this opportunity lies in children's environmental health risk assessment, which includes application of research in developmental biology, as well as exposure, hazard, and dose-response assessment. Applicants must have received a master's or doctoral degree in public health, epidemiology, toxicology, biological or environmental sciences, or closely related discipline within five years of the desired starting date or have completed all degree requirements prior to the start date. Knowledge of children's environmental health and human health risk assessment, including topics such as endocrine disruption and carcinogen risk assessment are desired. The desired start date for this appointment is September 18, 2017. Appointment to this program is full time for one year and may be renewed upon recommendation of EPA (contingent on the availability of funds).

Job Opportunity: EWG Staff Scientist / Toxicology

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is seeking applications for a master's- or doctoral-level scientist with a commitment to the environment and a desire to promote public health protection through innovative research. The successful candidate will be responsible for: developing original science and policy analysis studies; producing written reports; compiling, analyzing and managing toxicology data; working with EWG policy and communication experts to develop frameworks and methods for assessing and presenting toxicology information to the public; and supporting EWG policy work to protect the public from chemical exposures in the environment. The successful candidate must have a master's or Ph.D. in toxicology or a related field with emphasis in toxicology, such as public health or environmental health. Three or more years of experience in a related position for corporate, government, or non-governmental organizations is required. See the EWG job announcement to read more about job responsibilities and qualifications and to apply.

Job Opportunity: CHE Program Associate

The Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) is seeking applications for a Program Associate to support its ongoing educational forums and to develop content for new programmatic areas. The Program Associate will play a pivotal role in supporting new programs to increase environmental health engagement, including contributions to program design, execution, evaluation, and general operational demands. Under the guidance of the Program Director, the Program Associate is responsible for three primary areas: (1) generate environmental health content that is compelling for a wide range of audiences; (2) strategize and execute effective communications and external marketing to amplify the program's work; and (3) provide project management and administrative support for CHE's overall program areas. The position is full-time and based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit the CHE Career Opportunities webpage to read more about job responsibilities and qualifications and to apply.

Upcoming PEPH-Related Events

September 15, 2017: Global Environmental Health Day 2017 at NIEHS's main campus in Durham, North Carolina. NIEHS invites you to its second annual Global Environmental Health Day, which will focus on global community empowerment through community-engaged research. Please register early as seating is limited.

September 18 - 19, 2017: National Native Health Research Training Conference in Denver, Colorado. The conference theme is "Healing Ourselves: Cultural and Traditional Medicine-Based Approaches to Sustainable Health."

September 18 - 20, 2017: Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) Meeting at NIEHS's main campus in Durham, North Carolina. This year's working meeting will have in-depth conversations about different engagement approaches and the partners with whom we work. We are coordinating with the Disaster Research Response (DR2) network to discuss the different partnerships required for an effective response in the aftermath of a disaster. Seating is limited, so register today.

September 24 - 28, 2017: 29th Annual Conference of the International Society of Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) in Sydney, Australia. This year's theme: "Healthy places, healthy people – where are the connections?"

October 13 - 14, 2017: 4th International Moving Forward Network Conference in Carson, California. This free educational conference will provide data, insights, and shared practices to create effective policies and strategies for communities impacted by ports, rail yards, intermodal facilities, distribution centers, trucking routes, and other goods movement expansion activities.

October 15 - 19, 2017: International Society of Exposure Science (ISES) Annual Meeting in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. This year's meeting theme is "Integrating Exposure Science Across Diverse Communities." There are several PEPH-related sessions, including pre-conference workshops on using handheld air monitoring sensors and science communication.

October 22 - 25, 2017: American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America Meeting in Tampa, Florida. This year's theme is "Managing Global Resources for a Secure Future." NIEHS grantee Monica Ramirez-Andreotta is co-organizing and moderating a session titled "Community Engagement and Public Participation in Environmental Research."

November 4 - 8, 2017: APHA Annual Meeting & Expo in Atlanta, Georgia. This year's theme is "Creating the Healthiest Nation: Climate Changes Health." NIEHS grantees and partners, let us know if you have a session or poster at the meeting.

Funding Opportunities

Visit the Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) page for more PEPH-related funding opportunities.

NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings (Parent R13). To support investigator-initiated scientific meetings that will advance the field of environmental health sciences. See the NIEHS Conference Grant webpage for more information about the types of conferences and meetings the Institute is interested in supporting. Deadline: August 12, 2017

National Priorities: Transdisciplinary Research into Detecting and Controlling Lead in Drinking Water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking applications proposing to (1) identify communities that are at a high risk of experiencing the adverse health effects of lead in drinking water; (2) identify opportunities to mitigate these risks; and (3) conduct educational and outreach efforts so that water system managers and the public are aware of these risks and opportunities. Deadline: August 15, 2017.

2017 HHS SBIR and STTR Omnibus Grant Solicitations (R41/R42, R43/R44). Invites eligible United States small business concerns to submit Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant applications. An informational webinar will be held Thursday June 29, 2017 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. EDT. Deadline: September 5, 2017.

Kresge Foundation Healthy Housing and Neighborhoods Initiative. This is an open grant opportunity for organizations working to address: (a) policies, systems change, and communication to connect health and housing; (b) policies that promote healthy housing and mitigate the impacts of substandard housing and/or; (c) innovative investments that connect community development, health, and housing. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

Addressing Health Disparities through Effective Interventions among Immigrant Populations (R01). Supports innovative research to develop and implement effective interventions to address health disparities among U.S. immigrant populations. Deadline: October 5, 2017.

Spatial Uncertainty: Data, Modeling, and Communication (R01). Supports innovative research that identifies sources of spatial uncertainty in public health data, incorporates the inaccuracy or instability into statistical methods, and develops novel tools to visualize the nature and consequences of spatial uncertainty. Deadline: October 5, 2017.

Research to Action: Assessing and Addressing Community Exposures to Environmental Contaminants (R01). Encourages applications using community-engaged research methods to investigate the potential health risks of environmental exposures of concern to the community and to implement an environmental public health action plan based on research findings. Deadline: October 5, 2017. Check out the Research to Action Currently Funded Grantees webpage with project descriptions, which will provide you with a sense of the types of projects supported through this FOA.

Environmental Exposures and Health: Exploration of Non-Traditional Settings (R01, R21). Encourages interdisciplinary research aimed at promoting health, preventing and limiting symptoms and disease, and reducing health disparities across the lifespan for those living or spending time in non-traditional settings (i.e., playgrounds and nursing homes). Deadlines: October 5, 2017 (R01); October 16, 2017 (R21).

Education and Health: New Frontiers (R01, R03, R21). Supports research that will further elucidate the pathways involved in the relationship between education and health outcomes and in doing so will carefully identify the specific aspects and qualities of education that are responsible for this relationship and what the mediating factors are that affect the nature of the causal relationship. Deadlines: October 5, 2017 (R01); October 16, 2017 (R03, R21).

Health Disparities and Alzheimer's Disease (R01). Supports research to study health disparities in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related disorders. Health-disparities research related to AD should include the study of biological, behavioral, sociocultural, and environmental factors that influence population-level health differences. Deadline: October 5, 2017.

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