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Your Environment. Your Health.

PEPH E-News March 2019

Volume 10, Issue 3: March 2019

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Kentucky Youth Use Photography to Voice Their Views on Respiratory Health

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A community-based project uses photography and journaling to capture the youth perspective about the link between the environment and respiratory illnesses in rural Kentucky. To engage the youth, the researchers used photovoice, a community-based participatory research method in which people use photos or videos to capture aspects of their environment and share them with others.

The youth-led project is part of the NIEHS-funded Mountain Air Project, which aims to reduce respiratory health disparities in Appalachian Kentucky communities.

"Adults living in Appalachian Kentucky are twice as likely than their national counterparts to be diagnosed with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease," said project leader Kathryn Cardarelli, Ph.D. "Through the photovoice project, we hope to better understand how youth in these communities perceive the factors that may be driving this health inequity."

Co-investigator Marcy Paul, Ph.D., explained that "Using the photovoice method allowed the youth to express their points of view with photographs and writing about what they found in their homes. Photovoice also encourages community dissemination, thus broadening understanding of a specific issue."

Youth participants, Mountain Air Project

Youth participants receive cameras and are trained by a local photographer on how to take a powerful photograph.
(Photo courtesy of Marcy Paul)

The researchers provided digital cameras to 17 youth from Letcher County so they could photograph the environmental factors inside and immediately outside of their homes that affect respiratory health. The 12- to 18-year-olds wrote narratives for each image to explain what the photos meant to them.

Before capturing their images on camera, the youth attended educational sessions about the environmental determinants of respiratory illness, as well as how to take powerful photographs. Together, the youth and investigators selected the most meaningful photos, which were featured in a December 2018 community exhibit.

According to Cardarelli, the project enhanced the capacity of community youth to contribute to environmental health research. The project also added the voices of the youth to the Mountain Air Project, which primarily focuses on adults.

railroad track in backyard

"Not only there's the coal dust come around when the trains go through, this also represents the miners that work in the mine," wrote one photovoice participant. The railroad track running through her backyard is shown.
(Photo courtesy of Mountain Air Project photovoice participant)

"The photovoice project improved our understanding of how youth living in rural, resource-poor Appalachian Kentucky perceive the influence of environmental, social, and behavioral factors on respiratory health," said Cardarelli, who is an associate professor in the University of Kentucky (UK) Department of Health, Behavior, and Society. "Additionally, some of the factors photographed by the participants were not ones we had previously considered as potentially important contributors to respiratory disparities, including aerosol sprays and citronella candles."

Moving forward, the researchers will use the photovoice findings to help them design and implement a home environmental intervention to reduce respiratory health inequities in the region.

The Mountain Air Project is co-led by UK researchers Steven Browning, Ph.D, and Nancy Schoenberg, Ph.D.

CCCEH Releases "20 Years of Giving All Children a Healthy Start" Video

As part of its 20th anniversary celebration, the NIEHS-funded Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health (CCCEH) recently released a video, 20 Years of Giving All Children a Healthy Start . The five-minute video features CCCEH members discussing the link between children's health and the environment. It also highlights the importance of community partnerships to translate research to action and lists the role CCCEH research has had in informing policies to reduce air pollution, pesticides, flame retardants, and more. Take a few minutes to watch !

AJPH Special Issue Charts the Future of Minority Health and Health Disparities Research

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) led an NIH-wide, two-year science visioning process to chart a new research course to improve minority health and reduce health disparities. The result of this process is a special issue published in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH): "New Perspectives to Advance Minority Health and Health Disparities Research." Thirty specific research strategies were identified across three pillars that guided the science visioning: methods and measurement, etiology, and interventions. Read the NIH press release to learn more and visit the AJPH website to access the articles.

ALA Launches Year of Air Pollution & Health

In 2019, the American Lung Association (ALA) launched the Year of Air Pollution & Health to increase public education and engagement around air pollution, climate change, and health. Each month focuses on a different theme, such as how air pollution harms health, who is at risk, and how to take action to protect our communities – especially in light of the challenge of climate change. The month of March will focus on sources of air pollution. Visit the ALA webpage to access resources, webinars, and videos related to air pollution.

Free Online Course Covers the Health Effects of Climate Change

A free online course explains how increases in greenhouse gases impact public health by affecting air quality, nutrition, infectious diseases, and human migration. Experts working in a variety of settings will present their recommendations for responding to these challenges, and interested students will have the opportunity to learn about the research methods that measure the health effects of climate change. The course was created by Harvard Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment (C-CHANGE) Co-Director Aaron Bernstein and the Harvard Global Health Institute. The seven-week course is open until June 3, 2019. Visit the Harvard webpage to learn more.

PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast Series

PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast

In our latest podcast, Opioids and Worker Health, learn about the significant risks that opioids pose to worker health and safety and how different agencies and nonprofit organizations are working to address these concerns. In addition, learn about different educational and prevention strategies that can be used to protect workers.

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: Citizen Science

Save the date for PEPH's upcoming Citizen Science webinar! It will take place March 27, 2019, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. EDT. Stay tuned for more information.

PEPH Grantee Highlights: Sherry Baron, M.D., and Kim Harley, Ph.D.

Sherry Baron, M.D., is an NIEHS-funded occupational physician and public health researcher at the City University of New York (CUNY) who strives to make work practices and workplaces safer, especially for disadvantaged populations. Partnering with communities is central to her work: "Focusing on the community and developing workplace exposure reduction programs with community partnerships has been very successful in reaching a whole group of workers that we haven't successfully reached in the past." Read the PEPH grantee highlight to learn more.

Kim Harley, Ph.D., a reproductive epidemiologist at the University of California at Berkley, is passionate about improving environmental health literacy, training, and leadership skills in Latino youth of Salinas, California. Harley works with the Center for Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS) Youth Council to train and engage Latino youth in environmental health research. She is the principal investigator of the Health and Environmental Research in Make-Up of Salinas Adolescents (HERMOSA) Study and the Chamacos of Salinas Evaluating Chemicals in Homes & Agriculture (COSECHA) Study, both of which are led by the CHAMACOS Youth Council. "We are really interested in training the next generation of environmental health leaders in the Salinas farm worker community," said Harley. Read the PEPH grantee highlight to learn more.

PEPH in the February NIEHS Environmental Factor

Autism spectrum disorders may stem from multiple factors. Irva Hertz-Picciotto told an NIEHS Distinguished Lecture audience that a combination of factors may drive the rise in ASD.

Fish consumption advisories that work. Kathleen Gray discussed how to make fish advisories that sport, subsistence, and recreational fishermen can understand.

High pesticide exposure linked to loss of smell. A study of farmers linked high pesticide exposure, such as during spills, to later losing the sense of smell. Quick clean-up may lower risk.

Los Angeles youths take on air monitoring. Los Angeles students in communities of color record air quality on their daily routes and create story maps of their experiences in this innovative project.

Upcoming PEPH-Related Events

March 6, 2019 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. EDT (webinar): Creating & Using Knowledge to Protect Children’s Environmental Health In this webinar, hosted by the Children's Environmental Health Network, NIEHS-funded researchers Linda McCauley, Ph.D., Tracey Woodruff, Ph.D., and Nathan Mutic will provide an overview of children's environmental health research and how research findings are being shared with – and acted upon by – vulnerable communities, policy makers, practitioners, and the public. This is the first of a five-part webinar series, "Protecting Children's Environmental Health: The Blueprint in Action."

March 13 – 17, 2019: CitSci2019 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Sponsored by the Citizen Science Association, the 2019 meeting focuses on broadening the citizen science community. They will have three tracks, including one focused on environmental justice issues that will address data collection to improve human and environmental health and that will be discussed by community-based organizations and engaged partners. We are compiling a "PEPH at CitSci2019" booklet listing NIEHS grantees and their partners who will be presenting. If you are a grantee/partner presenting at this meeting, please send your session information to with "CitSci2019 Info" in the subject line.

March 28 – 29, 2019: Plain Language for Health in Boston, Massachusetts. This workshop features two days of training with health literacy and plain language experts from the Tufts University School of Medicine, as well as an evening networking reception sponsored by CommunicateHealth. The event is co-sponsored by the Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute and will include an added focus on plain language writing for researchers and informed consent.

June 6 – 7, 2019: Integrating Quality Conference: Getting on Track to Achieve Health Equity in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The 11th annual Association of American Medical Colleges' Integrating Quality Conference is a highly interactive, interprofessional meeting focused on sharing innovative approaches and strategies for improving health care quality, patient safety, and high-value care through health professions education, care delivery, and research.

June 10 – 14, 2019: Health Literacy Leadership in Boston, Massachusetts. This one-week institute directly supports the work of professionals engaged in health literacy to transform public health and health care delivery in the United States and across the globe. Those working to improve patient-provider communication and health care quality, as well as those working with learners in community settings, will find the institute directly applicable.

June 24 – 28, 2019: 2019 Data Science Innovation Lab: Data Science Challenges in Rural Health and Environmental Exposures in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Organized by the NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Training Coordinating Center, this five-day workshop will foster the development of new interdisciplinary teams to tackle the challenges associated with the analysis, modeling, and visualization of large-scale data sets associated with rural health. Early-career investigators from quantitative and biomedical fields are highly encouraged to apply. A committee will select approximately 30 applicants to take part. Applications are due March 10, 2019.

August 12 – 16, 2019: Health Disparities Research Institute (HDRI), in Bethesda, Maryland. Hosted by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), HDRI aims to support the research career development of promising minority health / health disparities research scientists early in their careers and to stimulate research in the disciplines supported by health disparities science. Applications are due March 22, 2019.

Funding Opportunities

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

Community Changemaker Grants for Native Youth Funded by the National Indian Health Board (NIHB), these grants assist Native youth in advocating for health in their communities. The grants are small amounts of money ($250) that can help supercharge a youth-led health event. They are open to American Indian and Alaska Native youth ages 14 - 24 years old. The application should be emailed to Wendee Gardner.

Leveraging Health Information Technology (Health IT) to Address Minority Health and Health Disparities (R01 Clinical Trial Optional). Supports research that examines how health information technology adoption impacts minority health and health disparity populations in access to care, quality of care, patient engagement, and health outcomes. Deadline: March 4, 2019.

All of Us Research Program Engagement and Retention Innovators (OT2) Funds engagement partners to design strategies and tactics geared toward raising awareness of the All of Us Research Program through community and provider organizations, driving increased enrollment of participants, communicating to existing participants to keep them engaged partners, and engaging the research community to use the data being gathered. Successful applicants should be expert and experienced organizations that have a proven track record in at least one of the following categories: community engagement, provider engagement, experiential learning, multicultural engagement, and digital engagement. Deadline: March 29, 2019.

All of Us Research Program Communications and Marketing Partners (OT2) Funds communications and marketing partners who will design strategies and tactics geared toward raising awareness of the All of Us Research Program, driving increased enrollment of participants, communicating to existing participants to keep them engaged partners, and engaging the research community to use the data being gathered. Deadline: March 29, 2019.

Innovative Approaches for Improving Environmental Health Literacy (R43/R44 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) Solicits Phase I (R43) and Fast-Track (R44) Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant applications from small business concerns (SBCs) in collaboration with environmental science researchers to develop novel tools, activities, or materials to build environmental health literacy for a variety of groups, including community members, health care and public health professionals, educators, and students of all ages. Deadlines: April 9 (application); March 9, 2019 (letter of intent).

Innovative Approaches for Improving Environmental Health Literacy (R41/R42 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) Solicits Phase I (R41) and Fast-Track (R42) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant applications from small business concerns (SBCs) in collaboration with environmental science researchers to develop novel tools, activities, or materials to build environmental health literacy for a variety of groups, including community members, health care and public health professionals, educators, and students of all ages. Deadlines: April 9 (application); March 9, 2019 (letter of intent).

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, 2019.

Addressing the Etiology of Health Disparities and Health Advantages Among Immigrant Populations (R01). Supports innovative research to understand uniquely associated factors (biological, behavioral, sociocultural, and environmental) that contribute to health disparities or health advantages among U.S. immigrant populations. Deadline: June 5, 2019.

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, 2019 (R01); June 16, 2019 (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, 2019.

Mechanism for Time-Sensitive Research Opportunities in Environmental Health Sciences (R21). Supports environmental health research in which an unpredictable event provides a limited window of opportunity to collect human biological samples or environmental exposure data. The program aims to understand the consequences of natural and human-caused disasters or emerging environmental public health threats in the U.S. and abroad. See the Funding Opportunity Announcement for application due dates.

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. Deadline: April 12, 2019 (application). A letter requesting permission (LRP) to submit an application is required and must be received six weeks prior to the application receipt 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.

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