Volume 9, Issue 8: August 2018
- NIEHS Grantees Assess Online Information About Breast Cancer and the Environment
- PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast Series
- PEPH Grantee Highlight: Chris Cain
- PEPH in the July NIEHS Environmental Factor
- NIEHS Releases New Translational Research Framework
- New Tool Helps Researchers Visualize Socioeconomic Data
- Individual Research Results Should Be Shared with Participants More Often, Says New Report
- Upcoming PEPH-Related Events
- Funding Opportunities
NIEHS Grantees Assess Online Information About Breast Cancer and the Environment
Most of the information on the Internet about the environmental risks of breast cancer is written using complex language and non-culturally specific messages, according to an assessment of more than 230 webpages by NIEHS grantees. The authors say this may hinder a person's ability to understand and use information they find online related to breast cancer and the environment.
"Most people rely on the Internet to learn about the causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention of disease, so it's important that online health communication is accurate, reliable, and understandable," said principal investigator Daniela Friedman, Ph.D., chair of the University of South Carolina's Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior. "Simply having access to information doesn't mean someone will understand it or be able to use it to improve their health."
According to the authors, effective communication about breast cancer and the environment is especially important because of the variety of environmental risk factors studied, such as pesticides, chemicals in consumer products, and lifestyle factors; the debate on the conclusiveness of research findings; and the misrepresentation of research findings in the media.
The researchers assessed 235 webpages focused on breast cancer and the environment and found that most were written at a high school reading level – well above the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' recommendation that health messages be written at or below a sixth-grade reading level. Additionally, none of the webpages were geared toward a specific cultural audience.
"One size does not fit all," emphasized Friedman. "It is so important to involve intended audiences in message development, create plain language messages, and include images that are culturally sensitive and representative of communities receiving the information."
Friedman and colleagues also found that nearly 70% of webpages contained information that encouraged individuals to change their behavior and seek additional resources, called mobilizing information. According to the authors, mobilizing information is critical to get people to use the knowledge gained from a website to change their behavior in a way that may improve their health.
The research team recommends that scientists, health educators, Web designers, media professionals, and community members work together to develop online messages about breast cancer and the environment that are accurate, understandable, and actionable. "These partnerships are also critical for the development of messages about other health issues and environmental risks," said Friedman. "Such collaborations are part of the process for effective risk communication."
This study was funded by the Breast Cancer and the Environment Communication Research Initiative, a program focused on the process of effective communication of research findings about breast cancer and the environment. To learn more about Friedman's research, read the related PEPH grantee highlight.
PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast Series
In our latest podcast, Vapor Intrusion and Your Health, hear how researchers are working to better characterize and predict vapor intrusion so they can help communities understand what it may mean for their health. In addition, learn tips for improving the air quality in your home.
PEPH Grantee Highlight: Chris Cain
Chris Cain oversees, manages, and develops training programs that aim to improve the health and safety of workers from underrepresented, minority populations. Cain is executive director of CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing and eliminating conditions that pose risks to the health and safety of workers in the U.S. construction industry. Cain and CPWR colleagues played a vital role in training workers in Flint, Michigan on how to safely replace the outdated lead pipes after the 2014 water crisis. "We, along with our local and state partners, share a common goal – we want to provide meaningful training opportunities for under- and unemployed locals in Flint, so that they can improve both their livelihood and community," said Cain. Read the grantee highlight to learn more.
PEPH in the July NIEHS Environmental Factor
Global Environmental Health Day spotlights research. The NIEHS Global Environmental Health Day highlighted research around the world and the translation of findings into public health impacts.
Millions of dollars saved by NIEHS-funded technologies. Technologies developed with Superfund Research Program funding saved millions of dollars in clean-up costs for contaminated sites.
Satellite data improves exposure estimates. Allan Just, Ph.D., discussed use of NASA satellite data to improve estimates of exposure to air pollution and extreme temperatures.
NIEHS Releases New Translational Research Framework
The NIEHS just released a new framework to help researchers translate basic biomedical and environmental health research findings into concrete strategies that protect and improve human health. By using this framework, researchers will be better positioned to design research programs, identify research partners based on cross-disciplinary research needs, identify stakeholders who are likely to use the research for environmental decision-making and intervention, and track progress toward common goals. To learn more about the NIEHS translational research framework, visit the new website which describes the five primary categories of translational research, includes a template to help you identify translation opportunities in your research, and provides several case studies to show how research can move from a fundamental research question to actions to protect and improve health. A recent article in Environmental Health Perspectives also provides more information
New Tool Helps Researchers Visualize Socioeconomic Data
A new tool, the Neighborhood Atlas, helps researchers visualize socioeconomic data at the community level. Seeing a neighborhood's socioeconomic measures, such as income, education, employment, and housing quality, may provide clues to the effects of those factors on overall health and could inform health policy and social interventions, according to an NIH press release. The Neighborhood Atlas can be merged with other data sources to foster better understanding of how neighborhood disadvantage impacts health. "Living in a disadvantaged neighborhood is associated with many health-related factors including limited access to nutritious food, more safety concerns, and greater risk of toxic exposures, such as pollution," said Neighborhood Atlas creator, Amy Kind, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Wisconsin. "Individuals who live in such neighborhoods are more apt to develop certain diseases and to die earlier from those diseases."
The Neighborhood Atlas is housed at the University of Wisconsin and is described in the New England Journal of Medicine. The project is funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), both part of the National Institutes of Health.
Individual Research Results Should Be Shared with Participants More Often, Says New Report
When conducting research that involves the testing of human biospecimens, investigators and their institutions should consider whether and how to return individual research results on a study-specific basis through an informed decision-making process, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). The report, Returning Individual Research Results to Participants: Guidance for a New Research Paradigm, offers a process-oriented approach that considers the value to the participant, the risks and feasibility of return, and the quality of the research laboratory. The report includes 12 recommendations to help: (1) support decision making regarding the return of results on a study-by-study basis; (2) promote high-quality individual research results; (3) foster participant understanding of individual research results; and (4) revise and harmonize current regulations.
Upcoming PEPH-Related Events
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."
September 13 – 14, 2018: Children's Environmental Health Symposium in Dallas, Texas. Sessions are planned for health care providers, academics, community health workers, policymakers, social workers, and community leaders. The meeting is sponsored by the Southwest Center for Pediatric Environmental Health, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and the West Texas Regional Poison Center. Register by September 6.
November 8 – 9, 2018: Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. The meeting will engage researchers, advocates, and community members in discussions on environmental exposures and breast cancer. It is open to the public at no cost. Abstracts for oral presentations are due August 1. Abstracts for poster presentations are due August 31.
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."
December 3 – 5, 2018: Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health in Washington, D.C. Co-hosted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and AcademyHealth, this year's event will focus on strategies for scaling up effective interventions across communities, health systems, networks, and countries, as well as efforts to build capacity for dissemination and implementation science, with an emphasis on low-resource settings.
December 13 – 14, 2018: Save the date for the Partnerships for Environmental Public Health Annual Meeting! The meeting will be held at NIEHS in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Stay tuned for more information.
Visit the Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) page for more PEPH-related funding opportunities.
Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Projects, State and Local Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and Surveillance of Blood Lead Levels in Children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will award cooperative agreements to support childhood lead poisoning prevention activities, including blood lead testing, surveillance, and targeted population-based interventions. Deadline: August 9, 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: July 1, 2018 (letter requesting permission (LRP) to submit application); August 12, 2018 (application). 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.
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.
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: October 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: October 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: October 5, 2018 (R01); October 16, 2018 (R21).
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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