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Your Environment. Your Health.

PEPH E-News March 2018

Volume 9, Issue 3: March 2018

PEPH E-News Header

Green Space May Lead to Less Depressed Teens

Adolescents living in areas surrounded by trees and other green vegetation have better mental health than those exposed to less greenery at home, according to new research supported in part by NIEHS. These findings suggest that incorporating green spaces into community planning and design can result in health benefits for residents.

This study is one of the first to examine the relationship between natural environments and depressive symptoms in adolescents. Prior research has shown that more exposure to nature is associated with better mental health outcomes, according to the authors.

"We wanted to better understand the association between greenness and mental health across the life span, so we looked specifically at teenagers to complement the evidence for a link between more exposure to nature and better health in children and adults," said lead study author Carla Bezold, Sc.D., from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The research team studied more than 9,000 U.S. adolescents ages 12-18. Using satellite data and geocoded home addresses, they were able to estimate vegetation density in the area surrounding participants' homes.

"There are a number of mechanisms connecting greenness and improved overall health," Bezold told Reuters News. "Prior evidence shows that living among higher density vegetation is linked to reduced stress, increased physical activity, and improved incidental contact and social interaction between neighbors."

The research team found that adolescents living in neighborhoods with more vegetation had a lower risk of being depressed than those from less green neighborhoods. The association between greenness and depression was stronger for middle school compared to high school students, although the difference was not statistically significant.

The findings highlight the importance of incorporating green spaces into community planning and design. According to Bezold, urban planners and public health professionals are working together to design communities in ways that optimize health. "Communities around the country are increasingly recognizing the potential benefits vegetation can provide for human health and are working to increase the availability of green space in their neighborhoods."

If you want to learn more about green spaces and health, check out these additional resources from PEPH:

PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast Series

PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast

Learn about common myths around lead and the evidence debunking them in our latest podcast, Demystifying the Common Myths About Lead.

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 Webinar: Bridging the Cultural Divide - The Role of Community Health Representatives/Workers in Environmental Public Health

Join us for the next PEPH webinar in which we will discuss the value and importance of working with community health workers (CHWs) and community health representatives (CHRs) to address environmental public health issues. We will hear from two project teams that have worked closely with CHWs/CHRs in the conduct of community-engaged research. Each presentation will include a research lead and a CHW/CHR. The webinar will be held March 2, 2018, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. EST. Registration is required.

In addition, save the date for PEPH's "One Health" webinar, which is scheduled for March 20, 2018, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. EDT. More details will be sent later.

PEPH in the February NIEHS Environmental Factor

Friends of NIEHS exchange news, interests with institute leaders. At the January 24 Friends of NIEHS meeting, members received updates on NIEHS, community forums, and other work of the Institute.

New tool visualizes employment trends in biomedical science. To help scientists evaluate various career paths, NIEHS developed a tool that analyzes biomedical employment trends and displays results with a novel visualization method.

Quantifying human exposures. In a talk at NIEHS, Michael Snyder, Ph.D., described exposure analyses based on the MicroPEM, a device that monitors airborne particulates.

Rutgers Community Engagement Core helps improve air near schools. Rutgers teamed up with a local community to lower diesel emissions in front of neighborhood schools and homes.

Provide Your Input on the NIEHS 2018 - 2023 Draft Strategic Plan!

NIEHS invites the public to review and provide comments on the new draft Strategic Plan: Advancing Environmental Health Science, Improving Health 2.0. Your input is very important to lead NIEHS and the field of environmental health sciences over the next five years. The deadline for submitting comments is March 30, 2018. Visit the NIEHS Strategic Plan webpage for more information and to download the draft plan.

Science Friday Video Features UA SRP Center Researcher Karletta Chief

Karletta Chief, Ph.D., a researcher with the University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) Center, was recently interviewed on Science Friday. Her interview coincided with the release of a Science Friday video describing her work to understand how mining industries impact the environment and the people of the Navajo Nation. In the 10-minute video, Chief, who is a member of the Navajo Bitter Water Clan, discusses her work monitoring the Gold King Mine spill that affected the Animas River that flows through the Navajo Nation. She also shares how her personal relationship with the river influenced her pursuit of science. The video is part of a short film series, Breakthrough: Portraits of Women in Science, which follows women working at the forefront of their fields.

To learn more about Chief's work responding to the Gold King Ming spill, read her Success Story from the NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training.

New Resources on PCBs in Schools from the Western States PEHSU

A new fact sheet and poster from the Western States Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) offer tips on reducing exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in schools. Although PCBs were banned in 1979, many schools built between 1950 and 1980 still contain them. The resources discuss routes of exposure for children and school staff and provide guidance on how to manage and remove PCBs in schools. The Western States PEHSU created the resources in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Region 9. Visit the Western States PEHSU's PCBs in Schools webpage to download the factsheet and poster.

National Academies Launches New Initiative to Improve Environmental Health

The Environmental Health Matters Initiative (EHMI) is a new, large-scale effort led by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to work across disciplines and sectors in developing lasting solutions to improve health today and for generations to come. EHMI will build on over two decades of work done by the National Academies in this area.

The National Academies' Presidents have appointed an advisory committee to guide the first phase of the new initiative, which will bring together corporate, government, and university leaders, along with other engaged stakeholders, to explore the latest science, identify promising options and solutions, and create innovative pathways toward improving environmental health.

Sign up for EHMI's newsletter to learn more about the initiative's ongoing efforts and opportunities for input and to find out details about the initiative's first meeting, planned for early April.

CDC Evaluation Fellowship Program Now Accepting Applications

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seeks applicants for the 2018 class of the CDC Evaluation Fellowship Program. In its eighth year, this program represents a major commitment by CDC to program evaluation and improvement. Working under the leadership of CDC's Chief Evaluation Officer, Fellows will be matched with CDC host programs in Atlanta, Georgia to work on evaluation activities for those programs.

Fellows are Ph.D. or master's degree professionals with backgrounds in evaluation, behavioral and social sciences, public health, and other disciplines relevant to CDC's work. Successful applicants also typically have significant experience in applied evaluation projects. Applications are due April 13, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. EDT. The Fellowship starts in mid-August.

Upcoming PEPH-Related Events

March 1, 2018: CHE's 20 Pioneers under 40 in Environmental Public Health (webinar series). The seventh webinar in this series from the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) will feature NIEHS epidemiologist Kelly Ferguson, Ph.D., and NIEHS grantee Amy Padula, Ph.D., who will discuss environmental chemicals and preterm birth. The webinar starts at 1:00 p.m. EST.

March 25 - 29, 2018: 7th Young Environmental Scientists (YES) Meeting in Madison, Wisconsin. The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry's (SETAC) YES conference is planned and attended entirely by students and recent graduates in the fields of environmental toxicology and chemistry. YES meetings help young scientists build their confidence and become part of the global scientific community.

April 7, 2018: Women's Health Awareness Day in Durham, North Carolina. Sponsored by the NIEHS Clinical Research Branch, Women's Health Awareness Day (WHAD) is a free community health conference for women of the Triangle area and surrounding counties. WHAD provides health awareness, education, information, resources, and on-site health screenings.

April 29 - May 2, 2018: Save the date for the 3rd International Conference on One Medicine One Science (iCOMOS) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. iCOMOS will explore new ways to solve pressing health issues, facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations, and promote science's role in influencing public policy at the interface of humans, animals, and the environment. The conference will feature NIEHS Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D. A limited number of travel awards will be available for selected abstracts, with preference for students and trainees.

August 26 - 30, 2018: 2018 ISES-ISEE Joint Annual Meeting in Ottawa, Canada. The meeting theme is: "Addressing Complex Local and Global Issues in Environmental Exposure and Health."

November 10 - 14, 2018: American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting & Expo in San Diego, California. This year's theme is: "Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now."

Funding Opportunities

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

EPA Environmental Education Grants. Supports environmental education projects that promote environmental awareness and stewardship and help provide people with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment. This program provides financial support for projects that design, demonstrate, and/or disseminate environmental education practices, methods, or techniques. Deadline: March 15, 2018.

NOAA Environmental Literacy Grants. Supports the education of K-12 students and the public so they are knowledgeable about how their community can become more resilient in the face of extreme weather events and/or other environmental hazards, while becoming involved in achieving that resilience. Deadline: April 6, 2018.

NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings (Parent R13). Supports investigator-initiated scientific meetings. NIEHS is interested in supporting meetings that will advance the field of environmental health sciences. Deadlines: April 12, 2018 (application); a letter requesting permission (LRP) to submit a conference application must be received via email no later than six weeks prior to the application due date. See the NIEHS Conference Grant webpage for information about the types of conferences and meetings the Institute is interested in supporting, as well as LRP guidelines.

Addressing Health Disparities through Effective Interventions among Immigrant Populations (R01 Clinical Trial Optional). Supports innovative research to develop and implement effective interventions to address health disparities among U.S. immigrant populations. Deadline: June 5, 2018.

Research to Action: Assessing and Addressing Community Exposures to Environmental Contaminants (R01 Clinical Trial Optional). 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, 2018. Check out the Research to Action Currently Funded Grantees webpage for a sense of the types of projects supported through this FOA.

Environmental Exposures and Health: Exploration of Non-Traditional Settings (R01 and R21 Clinical Trial Optional). 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, 2018 (R01); June 16, 2018 (R21).

Interactive Digital Media STEM Resources for Pre-College and Informal Science Education Audiences (STTR) (R41/R42 Clinical Trial Not Allowed). Provides opportunities for eligible small business concerns to submit NIH Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant applications to develop interactive digital media science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) resources that address student career choice and health and medicine topics for: (1) pre-kindergarten to grade 12 students and pre- and in-service teachers or (2) informal science education (i.e., outside the classroom). Deadline: September 5, 2018.

Interactive Digital Media STEM Resources for Pre-College and Informal Science Education Audiences (SBIR) (R43/R44 Clinical Trial Not Allowed). Provides opportunities for eligible small business concerns to submit NIH Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant applications to develop interactive digital media science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) resources that address student career choice and health and medicine topics for: (1) pre-kindergarten to grade 12 students and pre- and in-service teachers or (2) informal science education (i.e., outside the classroom). Deadline: September 5, 2018.

Collaborative Minority Health and Health Disparities Research with Tribal Epidemiology Centers (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed). Supports collaborative research between Tribal Epidemiology Centers and extramural investigators on topics related to minority health and health disparities in American Indian / Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations. Deadline: December 4, 2018.

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