Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan - Pilot Project
DESCRIPTION: Project Summary of the Overall Component Bolstered by new leadership and external recruitment of multiple new senior and junior faculties, the NIEHS Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan (CEHNM) brings together a highly inter-disciplinary cadre of 33 full and 8 associate members (35% physician scientists) from 14 Departments at the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Physicians & Surgeons, and the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. CEHNM’s members concentrate their efforts in four themes, which we will advance through corresponding working groups (WGs): Environmental Epidemiology (WG1), Environmental Epigenetics and Disease Mechanisms (WG2), and Climate and Health (WG3), which all feed into a Translation & Disease Prevention WG (WG4). CEHNM has a strong translational focus, leading an especially large number of remediation studies and environmental intervention trials (24 ongoing or recently completed) that effectively translate our research into improved public health. Our WG organization reflects these strengths. CEHNM supports three Facility Cores (FCs): (i) the Integrative Health Sciences FC (IHSFC) is the port of entry and coordination to all Center services; it also assists members with collecting, processing, and managing biological specimens, and provides leading-edge biological, molecular, and –omic lab analyses; (ii) the Exposure Assessment FC creates tailored solutions for exposure assessment (e.g., customized air monitoring equipment) and provides state-of-the-art analyses of environmental samples (air, dusts, water, soil); it also complements IHSFC’s biological services with bioaerosol and trace organics analyses; (iii) the Study Design and Data Analytics FC assists with design consultation, data management, biostatistics, bioinformatics/omics data, and public access data. CEHNM’s Pilot Project Program has a 6-week turnaround from submission to funding and has yielded 28-fold dollar-per-dollar NIH funding returns; in the current cycle, all awards were received by PIs who were either junior and/or non-members before the award. In the current cycle, our Career Development Program has provided funding support to six junior faculty and has advanced junior and senior investigators toward interdisciplinary research careers in environmental health sciences; in the next cycle, we will provide $35,000/yr for two years to six additional junior faculty members. Finally, our Community Engagement Core, which focuses on healthy and resilient homes and communities, has addressed a wide array of critical issues, including facilitating conversion to clean heating, reducing local vehicular emissions, climate resilience, and emergency preparedness among vulnerable groups. Locally, we serve the highly diverse (Hispanic or African American) communities of Northern Manhattan and the South Bronx, a population with up to 43% of residents who live in poverty and disproportionally burdened by environmental determinants of poor health.