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Your Environment. Your Health.

PEPH E-News April 2016

Volume 7, Issue 4: April 2016

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New Tool May Help Identify Populations Most Vulnerable to Combined Climate and Environmental Exposures

PIE Viz Screenshot
PIE Viz allows users to explore temperature, air pollution, and power outage data sets in any state of the U.S. "Sliders" (left) allow users to highlight those counties with particularly high pollutant levels, which may help decision makers identify those populations most vulnerable to combined climate and environmental exposures.

A multidisciplinary team including NIEHS grantee Julia Gohlke, Ph.D., has developed a national-level data visualization tool that can help decision makers identify areas most likely to experience combined climate and environmental exposures during power outages. The team's PIE Viz tool — short for the Populations, Infrastructures, and Exposures Visualization Tool — integrates data on power outages, temperature, and air pollution levels, as well as social isolation data on a simulated population, into an interactive map that may help decision makers and public health officials prioritize first responders and resources during an extreme heat event.

"Through integration of datasets on power outages, extreme heat, air pollution, and social connectivity, we can begin to develop geographically explicit hypotheses regarding health threat multipliers," explained Gohlke who is an assistant professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).

The tool won Gohlke and her colleagues (Samarth Swarup, Ph.D., and Dawen Xie) first place in the national-level category of the NIEHS Climate Change and Environmental Exposure Challenge, which called for innovators from across the country to create data visualization tools and maps connecting current science on climate change to the exposure pathways for environmental hazards. This type of information can help decision makers prioritize actions to protect communities from the environmental health risks that may shift or arise in the face of climate change, such as changes in air pollution pathways due to increased temperatures.

PIE Viz is based on the idea that our built environment and infrastructure systems protect us from environmental exposures. For example, during a power outage, people may no longer have the indoor environment with air conditioning to buffer their exposure to outdoor temperatures, and opening windows to regulate indoor temperatures may increase exposure to outdoor air pollutants. Furthermore, during an extreme weather event, people who are more socially isolated may not have the means to evacuate or emergency responders may not be aware of them, resulting in poorer health outcomes in these individuals.

"We are hopeful that PIE Viz can be used by decision makers to prioritize communities for first responders and resources prior to, during, and after extreme weather events," said Gohlke.

Watch a short instructional video created by Gohlke and her colleagues for a quick overview of PIE Viz and its capabilities and visit the PIE Viz Web page to explore the new tool!

Read more about the NIEHS Climate Change and Exposure Challenge and the local-level category winners in the April 2016 NIEHS Environmental Factor story.

UA SRP CEC Leader Featured in Smithsonian Magazine Story on Native Americans and Climate Change

Around the world, indigenous peoples are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. In a recent story in Smithsonian Magazine, How Will Native Americans in the Southwest Adapt to Serious Impacts of Climate Change?, Karletta Chief, leader of the Community Engagement Core (CEC) within the University of Arizona (UA) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center, discusses the effects of climate change on tribes in the southwest. Already these conditions are affecting Native American tribes in different ways, said Chief, who is also a member of the Navajo Nation. A loss of soil moisture on Navajo lands in northeastern Arizona, for instance, caused sand dunes to inundate homes, she notes. The Hulapai of Arizona also had to sell much of their livestock during the most recent drought. See the Smithsonian Magazine for the full story.

New Study Shows Switching Personal Care Products Lowers Chemical Levels in Teens

A new study from NIEHS-funded researchers at the University of California, Berkeley suggests that by seeking out personal care products with lower levels of endocrine-disrupting compounds, consumers may be able to reduce their personal exposures to these potentially harmful chemicals. The study participants were 100 teenage girls from the Health and Environmental Research in Make-up of Salinas Adolescents (HERMOSA) Study. HERMOSA was a youth-led, community-based participatory research intervention study examining strategies to reduce adolescent girls' exposure to chemicals in personal care products. The researchers asked the girls to stop using their regular products for three days and instead provided them with replacements whose labels indicated they did not contain phthalates, parabens, triclosan, or benzophenone-3. After the short intervention, the girls showed a 27-45% average decline of these chemicals in their urine. These results suggest that by using simple techniques, such as reading product ingredient labels, consumers may be able to reduce their exposures to certain endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

Listen to the PEPH podcast, Chemicals in Personal Care Products, to learn more about common chemicals found in such products as well as tips to limit exposure and find safer alternatives. And check out the Detox Me smartphone app, developed by Silent Spring Institute, which provides simple, research-based tips to avoid toxic chemicals in everyday products.

A Story of Health Wins CDC Communications Award

The National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) have honored the A Story of Health Team with an "Excellence in Communications" award. The award honors the development of a medical education product that highlights the importance of environmental health. A Story of Health is a multimedia eBook designed to harness the power of storytelling to improve environmental health literacy for health professionals, policy makers, and health advocates. It was developed by a team from the University of California, San Francisco's Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit, ATSDR, the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE), the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, California EPA, and the Science and Environmental Health Network. Read the full story on CHE's blog.

PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast Series

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Children are particularly vulnerable to environmental contaminants, and three-quarters of American children under age five spend at least 20 hours per week at an out-of-home child care facility. In the Healthy Child Care Environments podcast, we speak with an expert about ways to reduce harmful exposures and create healthy environments in child care settings.

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 March issue of the NIEHS Environmental Factor featured several stories highlighting topics and activities of interest to the PEPH community:

Arcury discusses long-term study of pesticides and farmworker health. NIEHS grantee Thomas Arcury, Ph.D., discussed long-term studies of pesticide exposures and migrant farmworker health.

NIEHS science informs federal response to Flint water crisis. Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., presented data on lead and current plans for addressing the Flint water crisis at a meeting of NIH directors.

Friends of NIEHS gather for annual meeting. The Friends of NIEHS held its annual meeting in the Washington office of the American Academy of Pediatrics, one of the group's members.

Breysse highlights CDC environmental health activities. Patrick Breysse, Ph.D., visited NIEHS on February 19 to highlight work done by the two CDC agencies that he now directs.

Framework for Educating Health Professionals to Address the Social Determinants of Health

Educating health professionals about the social determinants of health generates awareness about the potential root causes of ill health and the importance of addressing them in and with communities, contributing to more effective strategies for improving health and health care of underserved individuals, communities, and populations. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a committee of experts to develop a high-level framework for such health professional education. The resulting report, A Framework for Educating Health Professionals to Address the Social Determinants of Health, aligns education, health, and other sectors to better meet local needs in partnership with communities.

HHS Seeks Nominations for Healthy People 2030 Advisory Committee

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has begun planning for Healthy People 2030, scheduled for release in 2020. The Healthy People initiative establishes disease prevention and health promotion objectives for the Nation. As HHS prepares to produce objectives for the next decade, it seeks nominations for members of the Secretary's Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2030. Expertise is sought in specific specialty areas such as biostatistics, business, epidemiology, health communications, health economics, health information technology, health policy, health sciences, health systems, international health, outcomes research, public health law, social determinants of health, special populations, and state and local public health and from a variety of public, private, philanthropic, and academic settings. Nominations are due by April 18, 2016. See the Federal Register notice for more information.

CHCI Accepting Applications for Congressional Internship Program

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's (CHCI) Congressional Internship Program provides promising Latino undergraduate students experience in what it's like to work in a congressional office while participating in weekly professional and leadership development and civic engagement through community service. This paid internship program is open to all majors, and participants may be eligible to receive academic credit at their college or university. Visit CHCI's Web page for more on eligibility criteria. Applications are due April 22, 2016.

Job Opportunity: Program Assistant at CEHN

This is an exciting opportunity to support the activities of the Children's Environmental Health Network (CEHN), a national, multi-disciplinary, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting safe and healthy environments for all children. The position's primary role will be to assist with producing high-quality program activities, events, and reports, including administrative tasks. This position offers opportunities for growth according to the successful candidate's interests and aptitude, and CEHN's workflow. See the CEHN Employment Opportunities Web page for more information.

Upcoming PEPH-Related Events

April 5, 2016 (Webinar): Public Health's Legal Authority and Safe Drinking Water. Co-hosted by the American Public Health Association and the American Water Works Association, this webinar will examine the regulation of drinking water quality as a health equity issue and identify some potential ways public health practitioners can address it. Specifically, presenters will describe the Flint water crisis and explain what role public health can help play in maintaining the quality of drinking water. The webinar will take place from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. EDT.

April 7, 2016: Children's Environmental Health Symposium in Sacramento, California. Join the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, the Western States Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) at the University of California (UC), San Francisco, and the UC Berkeley Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Leukemia (CIRCLE) for this symposium exploring the latest science in children's environmental health.

April 26, 2016 (Webinar): Working Together to Address Lead Exposure in our Communities. Co-hosted by the American Public Health Association and the American Water Works Association, this webinar will provide information about lead exposure, focus on community solutions to lead exposure, and provide tools for preventing lead exposure in the home. The webinar will take place from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. EDT.

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 CDC's 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.

May 11 - 13, 2016: NIH Regional Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration in Baltimore, Maryland. The NIH Regional Seminar offers a comprehensive program for the NIH extramural community about the NIH grants process and related policies.

June 1 - 3, 2016: URISA's 2016 GIS and Health Symposium. The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), in partnership with the American Public Health Association, will host the 2016 GIS and Health Symposium. This year's theme is "Mapping the Way to Healthy Communities."

June 12 - 17, 2016: Emory Exposome Summer Course on the campus of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. This weeklong course is designed to provide a comprehensive and intensive overview of the emerging science of the exposome. Leading experts will provide updates on scientific progress on the exposome and related areas. In addition, interactive laboratory sessions will allow the participants to use cloud-based programs to analyze exposome-related datasets. Poster abstracts are due April 22. Meeting registration closes May 1.

June 19 - 23, 2016: Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists 2016 Annual Conference in Anchorage, Alaska. Attendees from across the country will meet to share 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. Register.

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 Engagement." Poster abstracts are due April 30.

September 8, 2016: Disaster Health Education Symposium in Bethesda, Maryland. Save the date for the National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health's (NCDMPH) "Disaster Health Education Symposium: Innovations for Tomorrow." The symposium will bring together health professionals from across the country to learn about training approaches in disaster medicine and public health. There is no cost to attend this workshop. News on registration and poster submission will be available in the near future on NCDMPH Web page.

October 21 - 22, 2016: Integrating Genetics and the Social Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The goal of this conference is to showcase behavioral and molecular genetic studies that enhance demographic and social scientific inquiry. The two-day conference will include a four-hour advanced statistical genetics workshop. Researchers from any of the biological or social sciences are encouraged to participate. To be considered for this conference, please submit a complete paper, working draft, or extended abstract (including data description, methods, and preliminary results) as a PDF file by April 20, 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."

December 5 - 8, 2016: NIEHS Environmental Health Science FEST (EHS Fest) in Durham, North Carolina. As part of its 50th Anniversary celebrations, NIEHS is organizing the EHS FEST to bring together researchers, community engagement teams, trainees, and young investigators, all supported by NIEHS, for several days of scientific dialog. Please hold these dates on your calendar and RSVP online.

Funding Opportunities

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

Integrating Human Health and Well-Being with Ecosystem Services. The EPA seeks applications for community-based research that will foster better understanding of how ecosystems support human health and well-being. Specifically, this research should examine how communities can integrate ecosystem services with human health and well-being to inform their decision making and management practices. Partnerships and community engagement are strongly encouraged. Deadline: April 21, 2016.

Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control (LBPHC) Grant Program and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration (LHRD) Grant Program. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's LBPHC and LHRD programs help units of local government create and implement programs to address lead-based paint hazards and make homes lead safe. Deadline: April 28, 2016.

Interventions for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Native American Populations (R01). The purpose of this FOA is to develop, adapt, and test the effectiveness of health promotion and disease prevention interventions in Native American populations. Deadlines: April 12, 2016 (letter of intent); May 12, 2016 (application).

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. Open Date: May 5, 2016. Deadline: Standard receipt dates apply (February 5, June 5, October 5).

Immunity in Neonates and Infants (U01). Invites applications from institutions and organizations to participate in a cooperative research group, focusing on elucidating mechanisms regulating the development and function of the immune system in neonates (0-28 days) and infants (29 days - 12 months), including immune mechanisms triggered by non-pathogenic or pathogenic microbes, vaccines, exposure to allergens, or alterations in immune function due to environmental exposures to pollutants. The purpose of this FOA is to advance current knowledge of the developing immune system during the first year of life and to encourage innovative approaches to more fully understand the distinct characteristics of neonatal/infant immune responses. Deadlines: June 29, 2016 (letter of intent); July 29, 2016 (application).

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 to 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: June 5, 2016 (R01); June 16, 2016 (R03, R21).

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: June 5, 2016.

Health Promotion Among Racial and Ethnic Minority Males (R21). Specifically, this initiative is intended to (1) enhance our understanding of the numerous factors 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: June 16, 2016.

Understanding and Promoting Health Literacy (R01, R03, R21). Encourages methodological, intervention, and dissemination research for understanding and promoting health literacy. Deadlines: June 5, 2016 (R01); June 16, 2016 (R03, R21). Learn more about NIEHS areas of interest.


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