Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Your Environment. Your Health.

PEPH E-News January 2014

Volume 5, Issue 1: January 2014

PEPH E-News Header

Safe Practices for Digging into Dirty Garden Soil

City-dwellers are turning to urban gardening as a way to gain access to affordable and healthy produce, but urban soils can also expose gardeners to metals and other contaminants. A recent article in Environmental Health Perspectives, "Urban Gardening: Managing the Risks of Contaminated Soil ," features Wendy Heiger-Bernays, Ph.D., the leader of an ongoing urban gardening project from the Boston University School of Public Health. Project results have shown there are elevated levels of lead, arsenic, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in soil samples collected from Boston community and backyard gardens, particularly in gardens adjacent to homes built before 1978. To help gardeners reduce their exposure, Heiger-Bernays and a team from the Boston University Superfund Research Program's Research Translation Core developed a series of safe practices urban gardeners can follow. "The benefits of growing and eating locally grown food are numerous and with awareness of soil conditions and inexpensive interventions, we can decrease the risks associated with exposure to common soil contaminants," said Heiger-Bernays. The safe growing practices include researching property history to understand the prior use of the soil, testing soil for contaminants if desired, or simply gardening in raised beds in which tested soil has been added. Other tips include using lead-tested compost to remediate moderately contaminated soil and teaching gardeners to always wash hands after gardening and to peel and wash produce before eating.

Want to learn more about urban gardening? Listen to the "Safe Urban Gardening" PEPH podcast to hear about an ongoing urban gardening research project in New York City.

SRP Grantees Discuss Environmental Justice Efforts

On a recent conference call, co-hosted by the Boston University Superfund Research Program (SRP) and the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE), three speakers from SRP centers at Brown University, the University of Arizona, and Louisiana State University explained their work to engage communities and promote environmental justice. You can read about these innovative projects in the December NIEHS Environmental Factor. A few of the projects discussed include a science café where citizens learn about local environmental health issues; an effort to teach minority workers in the U.S.-Mexico border region about environmental contamination risks; and a project to enhance the capacity of communities facing multiple exposures to make their environment safer.

New National Health Preparedness Index

The National Health Security Preparedness Index™ (NHSPI™) is a new way to measure the nation's readiness to prevent, mitigate, respond to, and recover from public health threats. Released December 2013 by the Association for State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and 20 development partners, NHSPI™ is the most complete assessment of national health security preparedness to date, and is the first to examine the nation's health security by collectively measuring the preparedness of states. Community planning and engagement is one of five domains used to determine national health preparedness. View the 2013 Index Results here, and use the interactive results Web page to explore the results at both the national and state level.

2014 Health Planners from NIH

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) has created a series of free multicultural health planners for 2014, titled A Year of Health: A Guide to a Healthy 2014 for You and Your Family. These planners provide research-based health tips and information about staying healthy and managing conditions of the bones, joints, muscles, and skin. Four versions of the health planners were created, each one targeting a different multicultural group. Download or order copies of the planners on the NIAMS Multicultural Outreach Web page , where you will also find an electronic toolkit of resources to help you and your organization distribute the health planners in your communities.


EXPOsure toolBOX (EPA-Expo-Box) is a one-stop shop for the latest exposure assessment tools and techniques. The new web-based tool links to models, guidance documents, databases, and other reference materials which are organized by topic such as environmental media, routes of exposure, and chemical classes. With more than 800 resources, EPA-Expo-Box can help scientists evaluate potential risks to human health and the environment.

EPA/NIEHS Children's Centers Webinar on Childhood Leukemia

This month's EPA/NIEHS Children's Centers webinar features two investigators from the University of California, Berkeley, who will share their research on childhood leukemia and the environment. The webinar will be held January 8, 2014 from 1:00-2:30 p.m. ET.

PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast Series

Environmental Health Chat logo

We already have some great podcasts lined up for 2014, but we would like to hear from you! Share your thoughts and ideas for 2014 podcast topics ( For the past year this podcast series has highlighted ways researchers work with community groups to understand and address environmental health issues. You can find past podcasts on the Environmental Health Chat Web page, or subscribe to the series on iTunes .

PEPH Webinar on Alternatives to Animal Testing

The NIEHS has supported a long-term program to develop methods for testing chemicals without using higher vertebrate animals. Some of these alternative methods include using cell culture systems, single cell organisms, and fish. This month's PEPH webinar will be held on January 23, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. ET and will address the challenges and successes from this program. Register online .

Quick Tips for Writing CBPR Grant Proposals

Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH) developed a two-pager of grant writing tips and strategies for researchers and community-based organizations. Knowing how challenging it can be to write research proposals for community-based participatory research (CBPR) projects, CCPH created the guide to help applicants address the unique considerations of CBPR projects. If you are gearing up to write a grant proposal you may also wish to check out the guide to applicants on the PEPH Funding Opportunity Announcements Web page.

Upcoming PEPH-Related Meetings

February 13-15, 2014: "New Partners for Smart Growth Conference " in Denver, Colorado. See a new brochure for conference sessions focused on equitable development and environmental justice. A special half-day Equitable Development Workshop will be held the first day of the conference. Pre-registration and a $25 fee are required to attend the workshop.

March 5-7, 2014
: "Association for Community Health Improvement Conference ," in Orlando, Florida. This year's conference theme is The Critical Role of Community in Moving from Individual to Population Health.

March 20-21, 2014
: "Teaching Prevention 2014: Convergence of Technology, Innovation & Collaboration ," in Washington, DC; share and learn about the skills, infrastructure, and resources needed to practice and promote preventive health.

March 26-28, 2014: "National Environmental Justice Conference and Training Program ," in Washington, DC, will focus on the needs and challenges of communities, governments, tribes, and other groups with an interest in environmental justice. Register by February 25, 2014.

April 30-May 3, 2014: "Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH) Conference ," in Chicago, Illinois. Registration is now open. There are also several preconference workshops of interest to the PEPH community.

May 7-9, 2014: "National Training Conference on the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and Environmental Conditions in Communities ," in Arlington, Virginia. The conference will include sessions on pollution prevention, environmental justice, and environmental public health, along with TRI and other sources of environmental information.

May 27-31, 2014 or June 9-13, 2014: "Summer Institutes on Critical Participatory Action Research ," at the City University of New York Graduate Center in New York City. The 5-day trainings introduce the theory, methods, and ethics of critical participatory action research to graduate students, faculty, and members of community-based organizations. Apply by January 6, 2014.

Funding Opportunities

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

Environmental Health Sciences Core Centers (EHS CC) (P30). An EHS CC is designed to establish leadership and support for programs of excellence in environmental health sciences by providing scientific guidance, technology, and career development opportunities for promising investigators. Deadlines: March 22, 2014 (Letter of Intent); April 22, 2014 (Application).

NIH Revision Awards for Creating Virtual Consortium for Translational/Transdisciplinary Environmental Research (ViCTER) (R01). The purpose of the ViCTER program is to foster and promote transdisciplinary collaborations and/or translational research efforts among researchers who have come together in common interest around a particular environmental stressor(s). Deadlines: February 4, 2014 (Letter of Intent); March 4 2014 (Application).

Outstanding New Environmental Scientist (ONES) Award (R01). To identify Early Stage Investigators who intend to make a long-term commitment to environmental health research and assist them in launching a research program focused on understanding how environmental exposures affect people's health. Deadlines: January 28, 2014 (Letter of Intent); February 28, 2014 (Application).

Chronic Condition Self-Management in Children and Adolescents (RO1 and R21 ). To encourage research to improve self-management and quality of life in children and adolescents with chronic conditions. Deadlines: February 5, 2014 (R01); February 16, 2014 (R21). EPA's Environmental Education Grants Program. To support environmental education projects that increase the public's awareness about environmental issues. Deadline: February 4, 2014.

EPA's Environmental Education Grants Program . To support environmental education projects that increase the public's awareness about environmental issues. Deadline: February 4, 2014

Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Funding Opportunity. EPA will fund projects to help communities understand and address exposure to multiple environmental risks at the local level. EPA is hosting a series of pre-application assistance calls to address questions about the EJCPS program and this solicitation. Deadline: February 18, 2014.

Research on the Health Determinants and Consequences of Violence and its Prevention, Particularly Firearm Violence (RO1 , RO3R21 ). Deadlines: February 5, 2014 (R01); February 16, 2014 (R03 and R21).

Translational Research to Improve Diabetes and Obesity Outcomes. Deadline: February 5, 2014. Research on the Health Determinants and Consequences of Violence and its Prevention, Particularly Firearm Violence (R01, R03, R21). Deadlines: February 5, 2014 (R01); February 16, 2014 (R03 and R21).

Interventions for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Native American Populations (R01). Deadlines: April 15, 2014 (Letter of Intent); May 15, 2014 (Application).

Behavioral and Social Science Research on Understanding and Reducing Health Disparities (RO1 and R21 ). Deadlines: February 5, 2014 (R01); February 16, 2014 (R21).

Health Promotion Among Racial and Ethnic Minority Males (RO1 and R21 ). Deadline: February 5, 2014 (R01); February 16, 2014 (R21).


Do you have an announcement to share with the PEPH community? Send us your news for the next issue of the PEPH Newsletter (

To subscribe to our mailing list, remove your name from our mailing list, or submit a question/comment, please email


to Top