Environmental Health Disparities Research Core

EPA Grant Number: NIMHD001
Title: Environmental Health Disparities Research Core
Investigators: Boutin-Foster, Carla , Watkins, Beverly , Reyes, Damaris , Olden, Ken , Charlson, Mary
Institution: Weill Cornell Medical College , Cornell University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: August 1, 2012 through July 31, 2014
Project Amount: $860,901
RFA: Transdisciplinary Networks of Excellence on the Environment and Health Disparities (2012) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice , Human Health


This revision application will integrate a new Environmental Health Disparities Research Core (EH Core) into the existing community-academic research infrastructure of the Weill Cornell Center of Excellence in Health Disparities Research and Community Engagement (CEDREC).


The Center of Excellence in Disparities Research and Community Engagement (CEDREC) Environmental Health Disparities Research Core is a community-academic collaboration to advance and accelerate the development of trans-disciplinary environmental health disparities research and strengthen community capacity to address environmental health issues through education, research and policy. Whereas most research cores are guided by academics from a single discipline, the Environmental Health Core brings together a multidisciplinary team of community and academic experts, and is guided by both a city-wide Community Steering Committee and a multi-disciplinary, inter-university Scientific Steering Committee. The Community Steering Committee is comprised of grassroots community-based organizations working on environmental justice issues in: Brooklyn (Families United for Racial and Economic Equality, FUREE), the South Bronx (Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, YMPJ, and Mothers on the Move/Madres en Movimiento, MOM), and the Lower East Side/Chinatown (Good Old Lower East Side, GOLES, and Chinese Progressive Association, CPA). The Scientific Steering Committee is comprised of three environmental health sciences researchers and spans three disciplines and three academic institutions—Murray McBride, PhD Professor of Soil Chemistry, Cornell University; Ken Olden, PhD, ScD, LHD, Professor and Dean CUNY School of Public Health and Former Director, NIEHS; and Michael Weitzman, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine—as well as Mario Drummonds, the Executive Director of CEDREC’s longtime Harlem community partner Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership, NMPP.


Translational research when viewed from an environmental health perspective must be able to bring findings from basic social science research to the forefront of health policy.  This can only be achieved if community voices and advocates are involved not only as participants but as researchers who engage in all phases of research proposal development, planning, design, implementation, analysis and bi-directional dissemination. The EHDR Core anchors the Center of Excellence in Disparities Research and Community Engagement in the community and seeks to:

  • Collaboratively prioritize key areas of environmental health disparities and identify optimal ways to intervene through research and policy.  Method: Conduct surveys with community stakeholders and collaboratively develop a research agenda.
  • Expand opportunities for developing interest in environmental health disparities research. Method: Broaden the health disparities research track training program to include an environmental health disparities seminar series taught jointly by Community Steering Committee and Scientific Steering Committee members.
  • Create ongoing dialogue between the Environmental Health Core and community stakeholders. Method: Partner with the Community Steering Committee to conduct webinars and town hall meetings, and write peer-reviewed manuscripts.
  • Build community capacity to address Environmental Health disparities. Method: Provide education, training, data resources, and informatics support.

Expected Results:

The EHDR Core will: develop a set of community-led culturally tailored EH outreach initiatives; increase community awareness of priority environmental health issues; strengthen community capacity to address EH disparities; and increase community trust and participation in CEDREC EHDR Core research. The success of the EHDR Core will be evaluated using a Theory of Change framework and the following capacity-building metrics: Mapping of Community Assets and Resources; Training of Environmental Core Partners; Collaborative Development of Education Materials, Research Grants and Publications.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 1 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Air, access, alternatives, ambient air, atmosphere, biology, built environment, carcinogen, chemicals, collaborative research, community-academic partnerships, community-based participatory research, cumulative effects, decision making, diet, drinking water, ecological effects, epidemiology, effects, ethnic groups, environmentally conscious manufacturing, genetics, health effects, heavy metals, mobile sources, nutrition, particulates, population, public good, psychology, race, risk, risk assessment, sensitive populations, socio-economic, sociological, stressor, susceptibility, toxins, toxic substances, urban planning, vulnerability, water

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2012 Progress Report
  • 2013 Progress Report
  • Final Report