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Your Environment. Your Health.

PEPH E-News November 2016

Volume 7, Issue 11: November 2016

PEPH E-News Header

Social Science-Based Framework Clarifies Academic Roles in Community Partnerships

In a new publication, NIEHS grantees and staff set forth a social science-based framework to guide academic partners through the process of working with community organizations to implement systems change, such as changes in public policies, professional practices, and behavioral norms. The framework is the first of its kind and will help academic and community partners initiate, implement, and evaluate their efforts to promote environmental health in the communities in which they work.

"This paper grew out of conversations with Community Outreach and Engagement Core (COEC) colleagues about the diversity of our work with community partners. We all had the experience of working on single issues over a long period of time and realizing that our roles in supporting science-based decisions changed dramatically as the process of community problem-solving evolved. Having shared this experience, we thought it might help other academics plan for, participate in, and evaluate their partnerships if we distilled these lessons into a conceptual framework" said lead author Katrina Smith Korfmacher, Ph.D.

The framework is centered on a community-academic partnership and divided into four phases: initiation, developing solutions, implementing change, and sustainability. Each phase includes different activities, such as identifying problems, collecting and analyzing information, and identifying alternate solutions, that may help partnerships accomplish systems change. It focuses on the different roles academic partners can play at each of these stages to meet their partners' needs most effectively.

To demonstrate the framework's utility for identifying the roles of academic partners in systems change, the authors apply it to three longstanding community-academic partnerships supported by the NIEHS-funded Community Outreach and Engagement Cores (COECs) at the University of Rochester, Columbia University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The environmental health issues addressed by the three case studies range from local lead policy, pests and pesticide use in city housing, and maternal environmental health. The case studies also represent a range of community settings, decision-making arenas, and types of community-academic partnerships. A common thread across all three case studies was the use of social science concepts, expertise, approaches, and methods throughout the systems change process.

"As we analyzed our experiences, we recognized the many ways that social science had informed our translational approaches in each case. It really spotlighted for us how environmental health researchers and outreach professionals can benefit from collaborations with social scientists," said Korfmacher, who directs the COEC within the Environmental Health Sciences Core Center at the University of Rochester.

The article is part of a special issue of New Solutions, which explores collaborations between environmental health scientists, social scientists, and community organizations, and highlights NIEHS's support of community-academic partnerships as an important catalyst for these collaborations. This article and three others in the special issue are open-access for the next two months. Check them out today!

Wylie S, Schultz K, Thomas D, Kassotis C, Nagel S. 2016. Inspiring collaboration: the legacy of Theo Colborn's transdisciplinary research on fracking. New Solut 26(3):360-388. [Full Text Wylie S, Schultz K, Thomas D, Kassotis C, Nagel S. 2016. Inspiring collaboration: the legacy of Theo Colborn's transdisciplinary research on fracking. New Solut 26(3):360-388.]

Finn S, Gollman, G. 2016. The pivotal role of the social sciences in environmental health sciences research. New Solut 26(3):398-411. [Full Text Finn S, Gollman, G. 2016. The pivotal role of the social sciences in environmental health sciences research. New Solut 26(3):398-411.]

Vera L. 2016. Community health impacts from oil and gas development in Texas: the perspective of Sharon Wilson. New Solut 26(3):496-507. [Full Text Vera L. 2016. Community health impacts from oil and gas development in Texas: the perspective of Sharon Wilson. New Solut 26(3):496-507.]

NIH to Recognize 12 Champions of Environmental Health Research

Twelve individuals will receive the first-ever Champion of Environmental Health Research Award from the NIEHS for their significant contributions to the field. The champion awards recognize outstanding researchers, leaders, and communicators who have contributed to the NIEHS mission to discover how the environment affects people in order to promote healthier lives. The awards will be presented November 1 at the NIEHS campus in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, as part of its 50th Anniversary celebration. Several of our PEPH colleagues will be honored with the award; see the NIH press release to learn more

New Article Highlights Environmental Health Problems at Schools

A new article in Environmental Health Perspectives makes recommendations about how to deal with the issue of environmental health problems in schools. Environmental health threats in child care centers and schools compromise children's health and learning, and yet, there is no government agency that is authorized, funded, and staffed to protect children from environmental health hazards at school. The article discusses children's health effects resulting from poor indoor and outdoor air quality, moisture and mold, and pesticide use at child care facilities and schools. They also make several recommendations to begin to tackle these problems, such as establishing programs to educate and train parents, teachers, health care providers, and public health professionals about environmental health at school. The recommendations were the result of a November 2015 meeting organized by the Healthy Schools Network, Inc. and funded in part by NIEHS.

Comment Opportunity: Proposed Rule on Pesticide Use Near Schools

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) is seeking public comment on a proposed statewide standard on agricultural pesticide use near schools and childcare centers. The proposed action would require growers to notify public K-12 schools, child day care facilities, and county agricultural commissioners when certain pesticide applications near a school site are planned in the coming year (and also a few days prior to the applications). In addition, certain pesticide applications near these school sites would be prohibited at certain times. Public comments are due December 9 and can be sent via email ( or fax (916-324-1491).

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 this 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 Grantee Highlight: Patrice Sutton

Patrice Sutton directs the Community Outreach and Translation Core (COTC) of the University of California, San Francisco's Pregnancy Exposures to Environmental Chemicals (PEEC) Children's Center. In that capacity, she has helped create a series of educational materials for reproductive health professionals so they can talk to their patients about environmental exposures. She also is working to make environmental health a core component of medical curricula, and she weighs in on public policies to protect pregnant women and children from exposure to toxic chemicals. Read the Grantee Highlight to learn more.

PEPH in the October NIEHS Environmental Factor

NIH launches new programs for children's environmental health. New initiatives by the National Institutes of Health encourage study of how a child's early environment may affect health and development.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – NIEHS prioritizes prevention. NIEHS efforts to fight breast cancer focus on environmental exposures that affect risk and translating that knowledge into prevention.

FDA ban on antibacterials in soaps informed by SRP research. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's ban on certain antibacterials in soaps was informed in part by Superfund Research Program studies.

Brain benefits of aerobic exercise lost to mercury exposure. NIEHS grantees found that cognitive function improved with exercise -- but not for people exposed to high levels of mercury before birth.

Fracking tied to adverse health effects in Pennsylvania. NIEHS-funded researchers at Johns Hopkins reported that fracking in Pennsylvania was associated with migraines, fatigues, and sinus problems.

Furniture manufacturers invite talk on assessing safer chemicals. A group of furniture manufacturers invited Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., to speak on finding safer alternatives to chemicals used in the industry.

Upcoming PEPH-Related Events

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."

November 16 - 17, 2016: Personal Environmental Exposure Measurements: Making Sense and Making Use of Emerging Capabilities in Washington, D.C. Hosted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, this workshop will explore the nuanced implications of citizen access to individual-level environmental exposure data. The workshop will bring together environmental health researchers, social scientists, business and consumer representatives, science policy experts, and other professionals at the forefront of emerging technologies, ethics, science communication, and public engagement. Register to attend in person or to watch the webcast.

December 1, 2016: Big Data to Knowledge Open Data Science Symposium in Bethesda, Maryland. The Open Data Science Symposium will feature discussions with leaders in big data, open science, and biomedical research while also showcasing the finalists of the Open Science Prize. The symposium is open to the public and will be available through a webcast. Register by November 18.

December 6 - 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.

December 14 - 15, 2016: 9th Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health in Washington, D.C. Co-hosted by NIH and AcademyHealth, this Conference aims to grow the dissemination and implementation research base by bridging the gap between evidence, practice, and policy in health and medicine.

January 24 - 26, 2017: NCSE 2017 Integrating Environment and Health in Washington, D.C. Organized by the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE), this conference will bring together researchers, educators, students, policy makers, and entrepreneurs to explore environmental and human health connections.

March 1 - 3, 2017: Migrant Labor and Global Health (MLGH) Conference on the University of California, Davis campus. The MLGH Conference serves as a platform to explore the multidisciplinary aspects of migration and their impact on health.

March 9 - 11, 2017: Save the date for the Association for Community Health Improvement (ACHI) National Conference in Denver, Colorado.

April 5 - 7, 2017: Children's Environmental Health Translational Research Conference in Arlington, Virginia. Hosted by the Children's Environmental Health Network (CEHN), this conference will highlight cutting-edge research on some of the biggest emerging threats to children's environmental health. Submit an abstract for an oral or poster presentation by October 31.

May 17 - 20, 2017: Citizen Science Association (CSA) Conference in St. Paul, Minnesota. Please join CSA for CitSci2017 and be part of conversations to create a field of citizen science. There will be more news regarding conference plans and a Call for Proposals in the coming weeks.

Funding Opportunities

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

Advancing Basic Behavioral and Social Research on Resilience: An Integrative Science Approach (UG3/UH3). To elucidate mechanisms and processes of resilience within a general framework that emphasizes its dynamics and interactions across both time and scale, multiple contexts, multiple outcomes, and multiple time frames. Deadlines: November 1, 2016 (letter of intent); December 1, 2016 (application).

Asthma Empowerment Collaborations to Reduce Childhood Asthma Disparities (U01). Supports clinical trials to evaluate Asthma Care Implementation Programs (ACIP) that provide comprehensive care for children at high risk of poor asthma outcomes. A recorded presentation and answers to Frequently Asked Questions is available for interested applicants. Deadline: November 16, 2016.

Oil and Gas Development (OGD) in the Appalachian Basin. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seeks applications for multidisciplinary research that will foster a better understanding of how the rapid increase of OGD activities in the Appalachian Basin may impact the surrounding environment and public health. Specifically, research projects are sought that can quantify air and water quality impacts associated with OGD activities and inform related human and ecological exposures. Deadline: November 23, 2016.

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, 2016 (R01); October 16, 2016 (R21).

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: Standard receipt dates apply (October 5, February 5).

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, 2017.

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: February 5, 2016 (R01); October 16, 2016 (R03, R21).

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