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Your Environment. Your Health.

PEPH E-News June 2017

Volume 8, Issue 6: June 2017

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Hands-on Education Builds Understanding of Environment and Health

New kits for hands-on science education may help increase the public's environmental health literacy. The collaborative effort expands options for environmental health "Science Take-Out" kits, which are fully assembled lab activities that require no advance preparation or additional equipment.

"These Science Take-Out kits provide a convenient and cost-effective way for teachers to incorporate hands-on environmental health learning into their curriculums," said Dina Markowitz, Ph.D, who directs the University of Rochester (UR) Life Sciences Learning Center and is a member of the Community Outreach and Engagement Core (COEC) within the UR Environmental Health Sciences Center.

With support from the NIEHS Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Grants (SBIR/STTR) program, Markowitz and UR COEC Director Katrina Korfmacher, Ph.D., partnered with Science Take-Out, a small business that manufactures the ready-to-use kits. They developed 21 different environmental health kit ideas and used feedback from surveys and focus groups to select eight topics for pilot testing in high school biology classrooms.

With a new SBIR/STTR grant, the project team is now modifying the kits for use outside the classroom. Markowitz and Korfmacher will partner with COECs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Texas Medical Branch, as well as West Harlem Environmental Action, to review and adapt the kits for use in community settings.

"We look forward to working with partners through the COEC network to adapt and pilot these kits with diverse audiences," said Korfmacher. "The new community kits will support environmental health engagement activities throughout the country."

The team will also develop and evaluate instructional materials for each kit. These materials will be used by peer-presenters, who are teachers or community outreach professionals who will lead workshops to show colleagues how to use the kits. According to Markowitz, one benefit of using peer-presenters is that they are already familiar with their state's curriculum standards or the local environmental health issues of concern. Peer-led workshops also promote distribution of the kits throughout the U.S. and increase capacity for teaching environmental health concepts in classroom or community settings.

"Educating students and the general public about the link between the environment and their health allows them to make informed decisions and behavior changes to protect themselves from environmental exposures," said Markowitz.

Pest Management Education May Reduce Asthma Symptoms

Teaching families how to reduce mouse allergens in their homes can reduce asthma symptoms in children and adolescents, according to a study partially funded by NIEHS. Researchers compared pest management education alone to professional pest management plus education in households in Baltimore and Boston. Both groups experienced similar reductions in mice allergens and asthma symptoms. The pest management education included written materials and a demonstration of how to set traps and seal holes that could serve as entry points for mice.

Promoting Environmental Health Education with Training Modules

A new paper describes efforts to collaboratively develop environmental health training for Mexican community health workers, or promotores de salud. The authors, from the University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center, say the promotores de salud can empower communities to ease negative health outcomes.

Through a series of surveys, interviews, and trainings, project partners provided favorable feedback for three of the four environmental health modules developed. They also learned that development could be improved by engaging technically trained promotores de salud as co-creators. According to the authors, this project may be able to decrease information disparities in environmental justice communities.

PEPH Grantee Highlight: Panagis Galiatsatos, M.D.

Panagis Galiatsatos, M.D., a pulmonary and critical care fellow at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, studies how environmental exposures and health disparities impact people with lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. Working with the Comparing Urban and Rural Effects of Poverty on COPD (CURE COPD) Center at Johns Hopkins University, Galiatsatos studies how obesity, diet, and air pollution may increase susceptibility to COPD in low-income homes in Baltimore and rural Appalachia. "One of the primary questions we're thinking about at the CURE COPD Center is how researchers can provide culturally sensitive findings to stakeholders, promote engagement with community members, and build capacity in environmental health literacy and risk prevention," said Galiatsatos. Read the PEPH Grantee Highlight to learn more.

PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast Series

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In the Understanding Bioavailability of Arsenic and Lead in Soils at Hazardous Waste Sites podcast, learn how metals like arsenic and lead can be absorbed into the body following contact with contaminated soil - and learn how to reduce your exposure.

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 in the May NIEHS Environmental Factor

In Alaska and Australia, von Hippel involves locals in research. Whether in the Arctic or in the tropics, Frank von Hippel's research involves indigenous populations and model species from the local area.

Flint water crisis opens path to new employment. Three years after the Flint water crisis began, residents who received NIEHS worker training are helping repair the broken water system.

Science and art shed light on air pollution, health. Scientists reviewed air pollution's health effects at a North Carolina conference and lecture, while new displays make air pollution more evident to the public.

Women's Health Awareness Day draws more than 600 participants. The third Women's Health Awareness Day, co-sponsored by NIEHS, drew hundreds of participants from the local area.

Breast Cancer Prevention Partners celebrates 25 years, new name. Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, formerly the Breast Cancer Fund, celebrated 25 years and a new name at a dinner in San Francisco.

Postdoctoral Opportunities

University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) - Environmental Epidemiology / Biostatistics.

The UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE) is seeking a postdoctoral scientist in environmental epidemiology and biostatistics. The position is funded by NIH-supported projects focused on understanding the combined effects of prenatal exposures to environmental chemicals and chronic psycho-social stressors on developmental outcomes, including fetal growth and neurodevelopmental outcomes in young children. The successful candidate must have a Ph.D. in epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health science, risk assessment, or other environmental health-related field; statistical experience; experience with R, Stata, or SAS; and excellent oral and written communication skills. The candidate will be advised by – and will work closely with – Drs. Tracey Woodruff and Rachel Morello-Frosch. The initial appointment is for one year, with an opportunity for an extension after successful completion of the first year. The start date is flexible, as early as June 1, 2017. To apply, please send a CV, writing sample, and three references to For more information, visit the UCSF webpage.

Boston University School of Public Health (BU SPH) - Environmental Epidemiology.

BU SPH is offering a postdoctoral research associate opportunity in environmental epidemiology, focusing on the investigation of an epidemic of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in Central America. BU SPH has been investigating the CKD epidemic since 2009 and is currently launching a large prospective cohort study of workers in Nicaragua and El Salvador. The postdoctoral associate will analyze existing data from past field work in Central America, lead an analysis of electronic medical records and health care claims data from the U.S., and prepare manuscripts for publication. The successful candidate must have recently completed a Ph.D./doctorate in epidemiology, environmental health, or related field; have strong quantitative skills; and have an interest in kidney disease / kidney function. Madeleine Scammell, D.Sc., in the Department of Environmental Health will serve as the primary supervisor. This is a two-year position. Travel in the first year will be limited; there is potential for travel in year two. To apply, send a CV and a letter describing your interests to Madeleine Scammell. Please put "Environmental Epidemiology Postdoctoral Associate" in the subject line. For more information, see the full announcement.

Boston University School of Public Health (BU SPH) - Community Engagement.

BU SPH is seeking a Community Engagement (CE) postdoctoral associate to work with BU Superfund Research Program (BU SRP) Center and Center for Research on Social and Environmental Stressors in Housing Across the Life Course (CRESSH)  investigators, Core leaders, and community partners to facilitate, evaluate, and document community engagement activities. The successful candidate must have a Ph.D./doctorate in social sciences or in a public or environmental health field; expertise in qualitative research; knowledge of environmental health / environmental epidemiology; and community engagement experience. The primary postdoctoral supervisor will be Madeleine Scammell, D.Sc. This is a two-year position. To apply, send a CV and a letter describing your interests to Madeleine Scammell. Please put "Community Engagement Postdoctoral Associate" in the subject line. For more information, see the full announcement.

Upcoming PEPH-Related Events

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).

July 10 - 13, 2017: NEHA Annual Educational Conference (AEC) and Exhibition in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The National Environmental Health Association's (NEHA) AEC is the nexus for environmental health training, education, networking, and advancement. Attendees also can earn Continuing Education credits.

August 14 - 18, 2017: NIMHD Health Disparities Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. Hosted by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), this program supports the development of promising minority health / health disparities research scientists early in their careers.

September 18 - 20, 2017: 2017 PEPH Meeting at NIEHS's main campus in Durham, North Carolina. Save the date for the 2017 PEPH Network meeting! This year, we will have in-depth conversations about different engagement approaches and the audiences with whom we work. We also are working with the Disaster Research Response network to discuss the different partnerships required for an effective response in the aftermath of a disaster.

October 15 - 19, 2017: International Society of Exposure Science (ISES) Annual Meeting in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Mark your calendars for the 27th annual ISES meeting! Registration is now open.

October 22 - 25, 2017: American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting in Tampa, Florida. This year's theme is "Managing Global Resources for a Secure Future." NIEHS grantee Monica Ramirez-Andreotta is co-organizing and moderating a session titled "Community Engagement and Public Participation in Environmental Research."

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."

Funding Opportunities

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

Kresge Foundation Healthy Housing and Neighborhoods Initiative. This is an open grant opportunity for organizations working to address: (a) policies, systems change, and communication to connect health and housing; (b) policies that promote healthy housing and mitigate the impacts of substandard housing and/or; (c) innovative investments that connect community development, health, and housing. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis.

National Academies' Gulf Research Program Research-Practice Grants. This funding opportunity is designed to support research and practice projects on one of two topics: (1) integration of monitoring and evaluation into environmental restoration projects to improve outcomes in the Gulf of Mexico or (2) improving risk-based evaluations to support a public health response to the next oil spill. Deadline: June 28.

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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