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Your Environment. Your Health.

PEPH E-News March 2017

Volume 8, Issue 3: March 2017

PEPH E-News Header

Case Study Highlights How Community Partnerships Inform Research Translation

In a new publication, NIEHS grantees describe a case study in multidirectional communication of environmental health science in community settings. The team emphasizes the benefits of partnerships with community groups and other stakeholders to enhance development of educational tools for Detroit area residents.

"Stakeholder partnerships are very powerful collaborations in a research effort. For example, when the community contributes to the direction of a project, it helps to ensure their overarching needs are met at the ground level. Research that embraces this approach can often be translated to action much more quickly than if it is done in isolation" said Stakeholder Advisory Board (SAB) Co-lead Donele Wilkins.

The fact sheets, video, and maps that were developed are relevant for diverse audiences, including the public, educators, health practitioners, and policy makers. These tools aimed to improve public health and reduce health inequalities in the community. Together, the communication materials:

  • Describe the pattern of local air pollution sources in the community;
  • Convey how air pollution, through the mechanism of oxidative stress, is associated with chronic health problems; and
  • Show the distribution of accessible antioxidant rich foods in the community, which are important for reducing oxidative stress in the body.

The paper describes the iterative process between researchers and Community Outreach and Engagement Core (COEC) members from the NIEHS-funded Michigan Center on Lifestage Environmental Exposures and Disease and an SAB to develop educational tools that were relevant to the community's environmental health concerns.

"One of the strengths of multidirectional communication in research is that it assumes all parties add value in discovering solutions to health disparities," noted Wilkins. The SAB members helped identify air pollution and associated chronic health conditions, such as asthma, metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes, and cancer, as a priority concern for Detroit residents. M-LEEaD scientists explored research questions relevant to these topics and reviewed the educational materials for scientific accuracy. SAB and COEC members ensured that the images, language, and dissemination strategy appropriately reached the desired audience.

The team notes that while the materials may be most relevant to Detroit, they emphasize how this process may be useful to similar projects using community-engaged research approaches. "This work helps to bring clarity to overarching health issues commonly experienced in marginalized communities, makes connections between environmental exposures and health outcomes, and will ideally reduce the burdens that may result from those exposures," said Wilkins.

BU SRP Launches New Website for HEAR Database

The Boston University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center has launched a new website for the Health and Environment Assistance Resources (HEAR) database. A collaborative project of the BU SRP Center and two long-term community partners, Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE) and Toxics Action Center, the HEAR database is a tool for linking legal, scientific, and technical experts with community groups that have questions or concerns about environmental issues in their neighborhoods, empowering residents to take action for a healthy environment. HEAR experts support groups in a variety of ways, including answering questions on health impacts, reviewing legal documents, and more. Visit the HEAR database website to browse stories from successful partnerships, learn more about how the database works, and consider becoming a HEAR expert.

Tox Town Gets a Facelift for 2017

The recently updated Tox Town, a resource from the National Library of Medicine, uses engaging neighborhood illustrations to provide information on everyday locations where one might find toxic chemicals. Users can explore the environmental health risks in a city, farm, port, town, or the U.S. Southwest. Tox Town's target audience comprises students above the elementary-school level, educators, and the general public. It is a companion to the extensive information in the TOXNET collection of databases that are typically used by toxicologists and health professionals.

Announcing Updated PEPH Resources Webpage

PEPH recently launched its new and improved Resources webpage. The page features a collection of materials organized around three broad areas: Healthy Families, Healthy Spaces, and Healthy Communities. The Healthy Families theme considers issues faced by families and individuals, with an emphasis on how to reduce harmful exposures. Healthy Spaces focuses on those spaces where people interact outside the home, such as schools, parks, and hospitals. Healthy Communities examines the complex interactions of different social and environmental elements that affect the health of community residents, such as water quality and environmental justice issues. We hope you will take a few minutes to explore our updated Resources webpage!

All of Us Research Program Announces Funding Opportunity for Community Partners

On February 1, the NIH announced a new funding opportunity for organizations interested in helping engage volunteers in the All of Us Research Program, part of the Precision Medicine Initiative. All of Us is an ambitious effort to gather data over time from 1 million or more people living in the United States, with the ultimate goal of accelerating research and improving health. This funding opportunity will support activities to promote enrollment and retention in the All of Us Research Program across diverse communities. In addition to conducting engagement activities, awardees will provide input on program plans and share feedback about community needs. Eligible organizations include nonprofits, community- and faith-based organizations, minority-serving institutions, and local governments, among others. Applications are due March 24, 2017, and NIH plans to issue awards in May 2017. See the NIH News Release for more information.

PEPH Webinars: Windows of Susceptibility and Immigrant Health

PEPH is pleased to be hosting two webinars over the next several weeks. The first will cover recent research on windows of susceptibility, with a focus on (1) the impact of exposure on the methylome and (2) normal breast tissue biomarkers of environmental exposure. The second webinar will address occupational health concerns of immigrant populations. We hope you can join us!

Windows of Susceptibility
March 8, 2017 • 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. EST

Immigrant Health
March 22, 2017 • 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. EDT

PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast Series

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Our latest podcast, Children, Nature, and the Importance of Getting Kids Outside, explores how spending time in nature can increase physical activity, reduce the risk of chronic disease, and improve children's sense of emotional wellbeing. Plus, learn how health professionals and unique initiatives are working to prescribe nature to improve the health of children and their communities.

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

PEPH Grantee Highlight: Jani Ingram, Ph.D.

Jani Ingram, Ph.D., professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Northern Arizona University (NAU), encourages students in the Navajo community to get involved in research to address local environmental health concerns. For example, Ingram and a group of undergraduate students tested water wells, open mine sites, and sheep on three sites in the Navajo Reservation. In the water wells, they found high levels of uranium and arsenic. Moving forward, Ingram hopes to use the data they have collected to influence behaviors in the community. "Problems on the reservation are going to be best solved by the Navajo students who help their community by going forward," said Ingram. Read the PEPH Grantee Highlight to learn more.

PEPH in the February NIEHS Environmental Factor

Award-winning resource benefits communities near busy roadways. More people living near busy roads will benefit from an innovative resource on health risks, thanks to a Transportation Research Board award.

Translating sensor data and citizen science into public health. Exposure sensors and citizen science offer exciting possibilities for improving public health, based on a recent data science roundtable.

Two NIEHS grantees win prestigious White House awards. Manish Arora, Ph.D., and Catherine Karr, Ph.D., are among the winners of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers.

NIEHS supports tribal emergency preparedness in North Dakota. With NIEHS support, Cliff Whitman, Sr. trains Ft. Berthold Reservation's tribal members to respond to potential oil well emergencies.

NTP supports first study of BPA levels in U.S. factory workers. A study supported by the National Toxicology Program is the first to look at exposure to bisphenol A among U.S. manufacturing workers.

Upcoming PEPH-Related Events

March 2 - 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 8 - 10, 2017: National Environmental Justice Conference and Training Program in Washington, D.C. Leaders from various sectors will engage in three days of free exchange of ideas and approaches to achieving environmental justice. The program will highlight the needs and challenges of communities, governments, municipalities, tribes, faith-based organizations, and others with an interest in environmental justice.

March 9 - 11, 2017: 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 event will highlight cutting-edge research on some of the biggest emerging threats to children's environmental health.

May 17 - 20, 2017: Citizen Science Association (CSA) Conference in Twin Cities, Minnesota. Join CSA for CitSci2017 and be part of conversations to create a field of citizen science.

June 14 - 15, 2017: Highly Fluorinated Compounds – Social and Scientific Discovery in Boston, Massachusetts. This conference will address the social, scientific, political, economic, and environmental health issues raised by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). To be notified when registration opens, please send your email address to Stephanie Knutson (

August 14 - 18, 2017: Health Disparities Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. Hosted by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), this program supports the career development of promising minority health / health disparities research scientists. The application period will open soon.

November 4 - 8, 2017: APHA Annual Meeting & Expo in Atlanta, Georgia. The American Public Health Association (APHA) is now accepting abstracts for the APHA 2017 Annual Meeting & Expo. This year's theme is "Creating the Healthiest Nation: Climate Changes Health." Abstract submission deadlines for some programs have been extended to March 3; see the APHA Abstract Submissions page for specific deadlines.

Funding Opportunities

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

Using a Total Environment Framework (Built, Natural, Social Environments) to Assess Lifelong Health Effects of Chemical Exposures. The U.S. EPA, through its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, seeks applications for research on how pollution affects human health in the context of the total environment – built, natural, and social environments interacting together with inherent characteristics and interactions. Deadline: March 2, 2017.

Research on the Health of Women of Underrepresented, Understudied, and Underreported (U3) Populations (Administrative Supplement). The purpose of this FOA is to provide Administrative Supplements to active NIH parent grants for one year to address health disparities among women of populations in the U.S. who are underrepresented, understudied, and/or underreported in biomedical research. Deadline: March 6, 2017.

Partnerships to Achieve Health Equity. The Office of Minority Health seeks projects to demonstrate that multi-partner collaborations that address social determinants of health and have a nationwide or regional reach, focus, or impact can efficiently and effectively do one of the following: (1) improve access to and utilization of care by racial and ethnic minority and/or disadvantaged populations; (2) develop innovative models for managing multiple chronic conditions; (3) increase the diversity of the health workforce; or (4) increase data availability and utilization of data that increases the knowledge base regarding health disparities and facilitates the development, implementation, and assessment of health equity activities. Deadline: March 31, 2017.

Public Participation in STEM Research. The National Science Foundation (NSF) encourages proposals for (a) Research Coordination Networks to build Public Participation in STEM Research (PPSR) capacity and community; (b) conference proposals to bring together specific communities and to envision future directions for PPSR activities; and (c) PPSR-focused supplements to existing NSF-funded awards that enhance existing research activities through the introduction of PPSR components. Deadline: April 11, 2017.

Public Participation in Engineering Research: Water Quality. The Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) within the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Engineering invites proposals in the area of Public Participation in Engineering Research, focusing on the use of citizen science and crowdsourcing, to enhance community engagement with water quality engineering research. Deadline: May 1, 2017.

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: May 12, 2017 (application); a letter of intent is due 30 days before the application due date.

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: June 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: June 5, 2017.

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: June 5, 2017 (R01); June 16, 2017 (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: June 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 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: June 5, 2017 (R01); June 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: June 5, 2017.

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