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Your Environment. Your Health.

PEPH E-News April 2019

Volume 10, Issue 4: April 2019

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NIEHS Gears Up for World Autism Day and Autism Awareness Month

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In recognition of Autism Awareness Month in April, NIEHS will be hosting events and sharing resources to raise awareness of environmental risk factors of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). NIEHS will kick off its campaign on April 2, World Autism Day, with a Keystone Lecture and Reddit "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) question and answer session with ASD experts. See below for details on how to participate in the April 2 events, as well as some of the stories and resources NIEHS will be sharing throughout the month.

  • On April 2, Rebecca Schmidt, Ph.D., from the University of California at Davis will present her research on ASD as part of the NIEHS Keystone Science Seminar Series. Her talk, "An Update on Findings for Autism Prevention" will take place from 11:00 a.m. to noon EDT and will be webcast. Tune in to watch a live webcast of the lecture.

  • On April 2, NIEHS also will host its first Reddit AMA in recognition of World Autism Day. A Reddit AMA is a way for experts to share their knowledge through an online question-and-answer session. NIEHS lined up two scientists to tackle questions from the Reddit community on the environmental risk factors of ASD. Cindy Lawler, Ph.D., head of the NIEHS Genes, Environment, and Health Branch, will be joined by Rebecca Schmidt. To participate, log into Reddit or sign up for a free account. Starting at 8:00 a.m. EDT on April 2, you can submit questions on Reddit Ask Science. At 2:00 p.m., Schmidt and Lawler will join the conversation to share answers.

  • On April 24, tune into the PEPH webinar to hear Craig Newschaffer, Ph.D., and Anny Xiang, Ph.D., discuss the environmental risk factors for ASD and challenges in communicating this risk. Studies indicate the rate of autism is rising, but causes are not well understood. Scientists have found rare gene changes, or mutations, as well as small common genetic variations in people with autism, implying a genetic component. A growing area of research focuses on interaction of genetic and environmental factors, which also means an increase in risk-related information. In this webinar, we will hear about research examining maternal risk factors for autism, such as diabetes and other conditions relevant to women's health. We also will hear about the state of the science in autism and challenges scientists face in communicating risk and emerging findings. The webinar will be from noon to 1:00 p.m. EDT. Please register.

  • Listen to the latest PEPH podcast, Understanding the Link Between Environment, Nutrition, and Autism: Examining Approaches to Reduce Risk, to learn what NIEHS-funded researchers are doing to understand how genetic and environmental factors interact to influence autism risk. Plus, hear how prenatal vitamins may be useful in reducing the risk of autism.

  • Learn how NIEHS grantee Staci Bilbo, Ph.D., bridges basic research and clinical care to better understand ASD. Bilbo and her research team work in a lab using mouse models, but they also partner with clinicians to explore how their basic research may be relevant to understanding and treating ASD. Read the PEPH Grantee Highlight to learn more.

  • Read about the research of NIEHS grantee Mark Zylka, Ph.D., who uses cell cultures and mouse models to study the role of genetics and environmental factors in autism and other brain disorders. His research may shed light on key molecular processes involved in these disorders and uncover innovative treatments. Read the NIEHS Story of Success to learn more.

CEH Social Media Workgroup Launches New Webpage

The Children's Environmental Health (CEH) Social Media Workgroup recently launched a new webpage to help simplify and coordinate the process of using social media for community outreach and education. The webpage is a one-stop shop for CEH social media posts that are ready to disseminate on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Check out their Autism content! As we gear up for Autism Awareness Month, these ready-to-go posts about autism and the environment may be useful to you. The autism kit also has a library of images to include with posts, as well as an informational document describing how to use the kit, the best times to post on social media, and ways to amplify the message.

Other topics include air pollution, arsenic and lead, asthma, BPA, immune function, phthalates, and more. Posts are branded with the #ProtectKidsHealth hashtag – add the hashtag to your CEH posts or follow it to join the conversation!

2018 PEPH Annual Meeting Report Now Available!

The 2018 PEPH Annual Meeting report is now available and contains the key messages, themes, and next steps discussed during the two-day event. As many of you know, the meeting focused on the topic of reporting back research results to study participants. We hope the report will promote action and additional conversations about ensuring that individuals and communities involved in research studies have access to their data, as well as information on what it means for their health.

New Strategic Plan Sets the Course for Women's Health Research

A new trans-NIH strategic plan sets the course for advancing women's health research over the next five years. Advancing Science for the Health of Women: The 2019-2023 Trans-NIH Strategic Plan for Women's Health Research sets forth a vision in which sex and gender influences are integrated into the biomedical research enterprise; every woman receives evidence-based disease prevention and treatment tailored to her own needs, circumstances, and goals; and women in biomedical careers reach their full potential.

The framework is built around five strategic goals: advancing research, developing methods and leveraging data, enhancing information dissemination and implementation, promoting training and career development, and improving evaluation.

The entire NIH community, in addition to many external stakeholders, was fully engaged in developing this strategic plan. NIEHS staff were members of the research, training and careers, and evaluation strategic goal teams.

Call for Papers: AJCP Special Issue on Community-based Approaches to Understanding and Addressing Health Disparities and Promoting Health Equity

The American Journal of Community Psychology (AJCP) is calling for submissions to a Special Issue on health disparities and community-based approaches to promoting health equity. The Special Issue takes a global perspective, so international papers are welcomed. AJCP encourages papers that are theoretical or conceptual, empirical, ethnographic, methodological, and systematic reviews or meta-analysis. See the call for papers for more information and specific areas of interest. Abstract submissions are due April 30.

PEPH Grantee Highlights: Staci Bilbo, Ph.D., and Brian Smith

Staci Bilbo, Ph.D., bridges basic research and clinical care to better understand ASD. She and her research team work in a lab using mouse models, but they also partner with clinicians to explore how their basic research may be relevant to understanding and treating ASD. "I became interested in autism because of the community of parents and clinicians who were recognizing autism in their children and patients and trying to grapple with this disorder that was on the rise," said Bilbo. Read the PEPH Grantee Highlight to learn more.

Brian Smith, a community relations specialist at the Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors (CURES) at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, helps to raise residents' awareness of how to protect their health from environmental stressors. For example, in response to a proposal to build a concrete recycling facility in a Detroit neighborhood, Smith worked with CURES researchers and community partners to host an environmental health literacy session to review exposure and health impact data with the residents, who then used this information when they met with the zoning board. "Rather than using the term ‘empower,' I think of this work as helping people to stand in their own power by way of giving them more knowledge and connecting them to community services and resources," he said. Read the PEPH Grantee Highlight to learn more.

PEPH in the March NIEHS Environmental Factor

Upcoming PEPH-Related Events

April 6, 2019: 5th Annual Women's Health Awareness Day in Durham, North Carolina. Sponsored by NIEHS and partners, this free community event provides health awareness, education, information, resources, and on-site health screenings to the women of Durham, North Carolina and the surrounding area.

April 11, 2019: NC BREATHE Conference in Wilmington, North Carolina. This one-day event will focus on environmental justice in North Carolina and how health professionals, researchers, communities, and policymakers can work together to protect vulnerable communities. Registration is only $25, and students get in free.

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.

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.

Funding Opportunities

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

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. Deadline: April 9, 2019.

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. Deadline: April 9, 2019.

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).

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: October 28, 2019.

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.

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.

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