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Your Environment. Your Health.

PEPH E-News February 2016

Volume 7, Issue 2: February 2016

PEPH E-News Header

New Interactive Map Displays Exposure Data Collected by Citizen Science Network

To better understand the environmental health implications of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, six non-profit community-based organizations and three universities, led by the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), were funded through NIEHS to create the Gulf Coast Health Alliance: Health Risks related to the Macondo Spill (GC-HARMS). The goal of GC-HARMS is to characterize polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contamination of seafood frequently consumed in Gulf fishing communities and to establish guidelines for safe seafood consumption. Working closely with a Citizen Science Network of community fishermen trained in sampling protocols, the GC-HARMS team has collected thousands of seafood samples from more than 200 sampling sites throughout the Gulf. As a way to share these data with researchers and communities, the project team recently launched an interactive, Web-based Sampling Matrix Map, which organizes and displays the data in a user-friendly format.

"The map provides a simple way to illustrate the sampling coverage used by GC-HARMS in terms of the geographical area targeted, the duration of sampling, the seafood species analyzed, and temporal trends in the PAH levels detected," said GC-HARMS principal investigator Cornelis "Kees" Elferink, Ph.D.

The map displays each specific site where seafood samples were gathered during the project's three-year sampling period. Clicking on an individual site opens a data box with information on the species collected, method and date of collection, and the geographic point where samples were taken. The pop-up data box also displays the average PAH levels detected in the edible tissue of the seafood samples and whether those levels exceed species-specific Levels of Concern for PAH exposure. In addition, a "quick start" guide explains how to use the map and interpret the data, and an FAQ / Glossary Web page helps general audiences understand some of the key scientific terms and processes associated with the map and the GC-HARMS project.

The Sampling Matrix Map demonstrates how a citizen science approach can be coupled with publicly available mapping technologies to help environmental health researchers characterize exposures. Additionally, these maps provide a powerful tool for communicating risks by helping community members and decision makers connect the dots between location, exposures, and health outcomes.

"The citizen science approach in GC-HARMS is a good example of how local knowledge of physical, social and historical context can expand the scope of expertise-driven scientific research. Without this strong collaboration, project scientists would not have known where to sample or how to manage sampling logistics while out on the water. Conversely, without the laboratory analysis component, the fishermen could only guess at the PAH content of their catch," explained John Sullivan, who helps coordinate the community involvement component of GC-HARMS. "The map, itself, was the product of months of planning and deliberation among community representatives, fishermen, the laboratory analysis team, and mapping specialists from UTMB and the Louisiana Environmental Action Network / Lower Mississippi River Keeper."

Check out the Sampling Matrix Map Web page to learn more about the map and the GC-HARMS project. You can also listen to the recent Mapping Environmental Health podcast for more information on how maps can serve as useful tools to characterize and illustrate patterns of environmental exposure and to help researchers and communities understand and communicate potential risks.

Research to Action Program Funding Opportunity Announcement

Research to Action (R2A) is a program whose purpose is to bring together community members and environmental and occupational health researchers to investigate the potential health risks of environmental and occupational exposures that are of concern to the community. Data collection, translation of research into public health action, and project evaluation are all required. Learn more by visiting the Research to Action Web page and reading about current and past projects.

A new Research to Action funding opportunity will open May 5, 2016. This opportunity 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. The overall goal is to support changes to prevent or reduce harmful environmental exposures and improve the health of a community. See the Funding Opportunity Announcement for more information.

Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) Program

To advance our understanding of the effects of environmental exposures on child health and development, the National Institutes of Health has launched a new seven-year initiative called the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program. ECHO will focus on four high-impact public health outcomes: upper and lower airway disease, obesity, birth outcomes, and neurodevelopment. Environmental influences will be broadly defined to include physical, chemical, biological, social, behavioral, natural, and built environments. The studies will share standardized core data elements managed by a central coordinating center and an associated data analysis center. ECHO includes seven funding opportunities. Letters of Intent are due on March 15, and applications are due on April 15. An informational webinar on ECHO funding opportunities is scheduled for February 1, 2016 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. EST. In addition, the NIEHS-led Children's Health Exposure Analysis Resource will be expanded to support analysis of biological samples for ECHO.

Join the New PEPH Group on LinkedIn!

Share your ideas, resources, and announcements more widely within the environmental public health community and form new connections on the new PEPH LinkedIn Group! The purpose of the Group is to foster the exchange of ideas and resources among NIEHS grantees, their partners, and others on LinkedIn with a shared commitment to environmental public health. The group is open to everyone, and members are encouraged to participate in discussions and to share information, such as job openings, recent findings, funding announcements, and other environmental health topics.

Well Water Community Action Toolkit Now Available Online

The Dartmouth Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center has developed a Well Water Community Action Toolkit to help communities ensure the safety of private well water. Designed to help communities increase private well water testing and treatment, the toolkit contains background information, a step-by-step guide for planning community activities, useful resources, and communication materials. See the Toolkit for more information.

Duke SRP Invites Public Participation in Flame Retardant Study

The Duke Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center invites you to be part of a study aimed at examining the use of flame retardant chemicals in furniture. Members of the public can submit a foam sample to see whether specific chemical flame retardants were applied to furniture in their homes. The study will allow individuals to make more informed decisions on the types of products they want to have in their homes and will help the Duke SRP better understand which flame retardant chemicals are currently being used in furniture. The data collected will allow for investigations into how people are exposed to these chemicals in the home and whether the chemicals impact human health. Visit the Duke SRP Web page for more information about the study and the sample submission process. You can also check out an infographic showing an overview of the 604 samples the researchers have analyzed to date and the chemicals found in those samples.

QuickStart Training to Learn about CBPR Approaches to Address Breast Cancer

The California Breast Cancer Research Program, Commonweal, and Plumbline Coaching and Consulting are accepting applications to QuickStart, a training opportunity in community-based participatory research (CBPR) that addresses breast cancer. Applicants are collaborative community-academic research teams that must include a community Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) and a scientific Co-PI. The program will help teams learn how to build and maintain healthy collaborative partnerships, understand the environmental causes of and disparities in breast cancer, understand the importance of research data in developing policy, and more. The training includes online sessions, two three-day face-to-face trainings, written assignments, and a mock review of a draft grant proposal. Priority will be given to applications received by February 15, 2016. Visit the California Breast Cancer Research Program QuickStart Training Web page for more information.

PEPH Healthy Homes Webinar - Rescheduled for February 4

Due to a logistical conflict, we have rescheduled the Health Homes webinar for February 4, 2016, from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. EST. If you registered for the old session, you will need to re-register for the webinar in order to participate. If you had not yet registered, now is your chance to do so! We regret any inconvenience and hope you can join us for this informative session on February 4!

In the Healthy Homes webinar, we will hear from three groups that have been working on healthy homes issues for over a decade as part of their efforts within NIEHS-funded Centers programs. Even though they have focused on similar community concerns, each group has used a variety of approaches to address them. In their presentations, they will highlight the evolution of the community-engaged work they have been doing, the resources they have developed for different audiences, and their outcomes. Furthermore, they will discuss the challenges and new approaches needed to confront the complexities of healthy homes. The presenters then will participate in a moderated discussion on cross-cutting issues and challenges they face as they work to meet the needs of their community partners. Registration is required.

PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast Series

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Every community is vulnerable to disaster, and every disaster presents a unique set of health hazards. Fortunately, it is possible to reduce disaster risk and improve the resilience of our communities.

In Part 1 of the 2-part Dealing with Disasters series, we heard how research helps to reduce the health-related impacts of disasters. In this follow-on episode, we'll take a look at what it takes to carry out research when disaster strikes and also learn what NIEHS is doing to improve researchers' ability to collect data, track recovery, and inform future disaster preparation and response as part of a national disaster risk reduction effort.

You can find more podcasts on the Environmental Health Chat Web page or subscribe to the series on iTunes. We want your feedback! Send comments and ideas for future podcasts to

PEPH in the Environmental Factor

The latest issue of the NIEHS Environmental Factor features several stories highlighting topics and activities of interest to the PEPH community. Take a moment to catch up with some of the latest projects, events, and activities happening in the PEPH Network:

Community Impact

Neighbors of large ports address diesel emissions and health. NIEHS-funded research linking serious health risks to diesel exhaust exposures inspired air quality improvements around megaports.

Annual Partners meeting fosters fruitful exchange. The NIEHS Partners meeting fostered a two-way information exchange between grassroots health organizations and NIEHS leadership.

Nadadur raises awareness of health effects of air pollution in India. NIEHS scientist Sri Nadadur, Ph.D., helped increase awareness of the health effects of air pollution during his Embassy Fellowship in New Delhi.

Science Highlights

NIEHS considers value of tribal ecological knowledge in research. Tribal leaders and scientists discussed how tribal ecological knowledge can inform environmental health and biomedical research.

NIH expands research on children's environmental health. The National Institutes of Health announced a new initiative, called ECHO, to study environmental impacts on child health and development.

Papers Published

Lead exposure linked with children's sleep problems. Grantees and colleagues studying children in China linked lead exposure in early childhood with increased risk for sleep problems later.

Persistent pollutants linked to poor vaccine response. New research indicates that exposure to pollutants such as DDT and PCBs may dampen infants' immune response to the tuberculosis vaccine.

Awards & Recognition

Wetterhahn Award honors Superfund Research Program trainee. Nishad Jayasundara, Ph.D., winner of the 2016 Wetterhahn award, studies a fish that has become resistant to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Society of Toxicology honors NIEHS grantees. The Society of Toxicology named several NIEHS grantees for contributions to better public health.

HUD Webinar on Mold and Moisture Problems in Housing

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes invites you to join a webinar on mold and moisture problems in housing. In the webinar, participants will hear from two experts – Terry Brennan from Camroden Associates and Tiina Reponen from the University of Cincinnati – on the latest research and techniques for addressing these problems. The webinar is scheduled for February 9, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. EST. Visit the HUD Web page and click on the name of the webinar, "Mold and Moisture Problems in Housing: Not a Dry Science!" (Note: The webinar may not be listed yet. You may need to check the HUD website at a later time.)

EPA Invites Alaskans to Share their Climate Change Stories

EPA recently announced a new project, Alaskan Voices on Climate, to collect and disseminate videos from Alaskans that demonstrate the impacts of a changing climate on Alaska today. EPA invites Alaskans from all walks of life to submit videos, filmed in Alaska, that illustrate how changes in climate are affecting Alaskan communities or tribes, how Alaskans are adapting or responding to a changing climate, lessons to help other communities become more resilient, and more. Read more about the guidelines for participating and instructions for submitting a video on the Alaskan Voices on Climate Web Page.

New Toolkit Highlights Ways to Improve School-Based Health

In January 2016, the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services jointly released a new toolkit to help state and local stakeholders take practical steps to strengthen the link between health and education services. The toolkit details five high-impact opportunities for states and local school districts to support strong communities through collaboration with education and health sectors and highlights best practices and key research in both areas. Check out the new toolkit to learn more about how to improve school-based health and help children grow into healthy and well-educated adults.

Apply for Community-Academic CBPR Training Opportunity!

The Detroit Urban Research Center (URC) is accepting applications for the second annual Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) Partnership Academy, a nationwide, year-long capacity-building opportunity for "community-academic" teams focused on improving health equity. The Academy is intended for community-academic teams involved in newly formed or early-stage CBPR partnerships, as well as teams of community-academic pairs that are interested in working together but have not yet developed a partnership. Through a competitive review process, a total of 12, two-person teams will be selected, with all program expenses covered. Applications are due February 15, 2016. See the Detroit URC web page for more information.

Call for Abstracts – Community-Based Public Health Caucus at APHA 2016

The Community-Based Public Health Caucus (CBPHC) invites abstracts related to the science and practice of community-based public health for the American Public Health Association (APHA) 2016 Annual Meeting and Exposition to be held October 29 – November 2 in Denver, Colorado. The theme of APHA 2016 is "Creating the Healthiest Nation: Ensuring the Right to Health," and the CBPHC has particular interest in abstracts and proposals that reflect this theme. Abstracts are due February 23, 2016. See the CBPHC Abstracts Web page for more information on community-engaged research topics of interest.

Upcoming PEPH-Related Events

February 11 - 13, 2016: New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in Portland, Oregon. The conference includes sessions and tours that will showcase strategies for encouraging equitable development.

May 3 - 4, 2016: Environmental Public Health Tracking Virtual Conference. This virtual conference will serve as a platform to raise awareness and inform state health department chronic disease directors and appropriate staff of the value and usage of National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network. Conference topics will include asthma, air quality, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, heart disease, health equity and the environment, and others. The Conference is free of charge for all attendees. Poster abstracts are due February 26, 2016.

May 11 - 13, 2016: Save the date for the NIH Regional Seminar on Program funding and Grants Adminstration in Baltimore, Maryland. The NIH Regional Seminar offers a comprehensive program for the NIH extramural community about the NIH grants process and related policies. Registration is expected to open in early 2016.

May 11 - 14, 2016: 14th International Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH) Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. The annual CCPH conference will bring together community partners, faculty members, students, funders, and policymakers to highlight partnerships and research collaborations addressing health equity through social justice.Registration is now open.

June 12 - 17, 2016: 7th Annual Health Equity Leadership Institute (HELI) at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. HELI is an intensive weeklong "research boot camp" focused on increasing the number of researchers, particularly minority investigators, engaged in health disparities / health equity research and competing successfully for tenure-track and leadership positions. The HELI application opens January 27, 2016 and is due February 17, 2016. See the HELI Application Questions Web page for more information.

June 19 - 23, 2016: Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists 2016 Annual Conference in Anchorage, Alaska. Attendees from across the country will meet and share their expertise in surveillance and epidemiology, as well as best practices in a broad range of areas, including informatics, infectious diseases, immunizations, environmental health, occupational health, chronic disease, injury control, and maternal and child health. Registration opens February 2, 2016.

August 25 - 26, 2016: Advancing the Science of Community Engaged Research Conference Series, in Washington D. C. This year's conference theme is "Innovative and Effective Methods of Stakeholder Engagement in Translational Research." A call for abstracts will be issued in February and will close in mid-April.

October 17 - 18, 2016: 8th Annual Health Literacy Research Conference in Bethesda, Maryland. The conference's "to attract a full range of investigators engaged in health literacy research including those involved in a broad array of public health, health services, epidemiology, translational, and interventional research activities." Call for Abstracts Opens: May 2, 2016. Early-Bird Registration Opens: August 2016.

October 29 - November 2, 2016: American Public Health Association (APHA) 2016 Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado. This year's conference theme is "Creating the Healthiest Nation: Ensuring the Right to Health." The call for abstracts is now open! Please view member groups and their topics carefully to determine the best fit for your abstract.

December 5 - 8, 2016: NIEHS Environmental Health Science FEST in Durham, North Carolina. Save the date to join NIEHS in celebrating 50 years of environmental health science research! Please RSVP if you plan on attending the meeting and stay tuned for more information.

Funding Opportunities

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

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: February 5, 2015.

Understanding and Promoting Health Literacy (R01, R03, R21). Encourages methodological, intervention, and dissemination research for understanding and promoting health literacy. Deadlines: February 5, 2015 (R01); February 19, 2015 (R03, R21). Learn more about NIEHS areas of interest.

Breast Cancer and the Environment Communication Research Initiative (R03, R21). The purpose of these announcements is to encourage research projects focused on the process of effective communication of research findings about breast cancer and the environment. A central objective of this new initiative is to ensure that risk messaging is designed for dissemination and effectively implemented and leads to individual behavior change or policy change. The ultimate goal is to assess the most effective approaches for the development, dissemination, and implementation of communication-based prevention efforts to reduce the risk of breast cancer from environmental factors. If you have questions, contact Symma Finn (NIEHS) at or Gila Neta (NCI) at Deadline: February 10, 2016.

Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement. The EPA is seeking applications for EJCPS grants to be awarded in 2016. Cooperative agreements will be awarded to local community-based organizations seeking to address environmental and/or public health concerns in their communities through collaboration with other stakeholders, such as state and local governments, industry, academia, and non-governmental organizations. Deadline: February 12, 2016.

Gulf Research Program Exploratory Grants. The Gulf Research Program is now accepting applications for innovative research projects that address one of the following topics: (1) Scenario Planning to Advance Safety Culture and Minimize Risk in Offshore Oil and Gas Operations or (2) Informing Coastal Community Planning and Response to Environmental Change in Regions with Offshore Oil and Gas Operations. Deadlines: February 17, 2016 (letter of intent) and April 13, 2016 (application).

Health Promotion Among Racial and Ethnic Minority Males (R21). Specifically, this initiative is intended to (1) enhance our understanding of the numerous factors (e.g., sociodemographic, community, societal, personal) influencing the health promoting behaviors of racial and ethnic minority males and their subpopulations across the life cycle and (2) encourage applications focusing on the development and testing of culturally and linguistically appropriate health-promoting interventions designed to reduce health disparities among racially and ethnically diverse males and their subpopulations age 21 and older. Deadline: February 19, 2016.

The Open Science Prize. A partnership between the NIH, Wellcome Trust, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Open Science Prize provides funding to encourage and support the prototyping and development of services, tools, or platforms that enable open content – including publications, datasets, codes, and other research outputs – to be discovered, accessed, and re-used in ways that will advance discovery and spark innovation. It also aims to forge new international collaborations that bring together open science innovators to develop services and tools of benefit to the global research community. The challenge consists of a two-phase competition. Deadline: February 29, 2016 (Phase I). The funders held a webinar December 10 for potential applicants – visit the Open Science Prize Web page to download webinar presentations, as well as a full recording.

International Research Scientist Development Award (K01). The purpose of the International Research Scientist Development Award (IRSDA) is to provide support and protected time to advanced postdoctoral U.S. research scientists and recently appointed U.S. junior faculty for an intensive, mentored research career-development experience in a low- or middle-income country (LMIC) leading to an independently funded research career focused on global health. See the IRSDA Web page for more information. Deadline: March 2, 2016.

Systems for Action - Systems and Services Research to Build a Culture of Health. Systems for Action (S4A) is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) that studies novel ways of aligning the delivery and financing systems that support a Culture of Health. Building on a foundation of scientific progress from both health services research and public health services and systems research, S4A uses rigorous methods to test strategies for improving the reach, quality, efficiency, and equity of services and supports that promote health and well-being on a population-wide basis. Studies funded through this call for proposals (CFP) will identify system innovations and interactions that drive collaboration and integration across the multiple financing and delivery systems that support a Culture of Health. Deadline: March 11, 2016 (only those applicants selected based on letter of intent (deadline passed) should submit a full proposal).

Evidence for Action. Evidence for Action is a National Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) committed to developing the evidence base to align with RWJF's vision of building a Culture of Health by supporting investigator-initiated research. RWJF is especially interested in research that will help develop the data and evidence necessary to improve health and equity in communities across the country. Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis; applicants must first submit a letter of intent.


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