Disparities in Exposure and Health Effects of Multiple Environmental Stressors Across the Life Course

EPA Grant Number: R836156
Center: Disparities in Exposure and Health Effects of Multiple Environmental Stressors Across the Life Course
Center Director: Laden, Francine
Title: Disparities in Exposure and Health Effects of Multiple Environmental Stressors Across the Life Course
Investigators: Laden, Francine , Adamkiewicz, Gary , Fabian, Maria Patricia , Levy, Jonathan , Scammell, Madeleine Kangsen , Sprengler, John D , Zanobetti, Antonella
Institution: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health , Boston University
EPA Project Officer: Breville, Maggie
Project Period: July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2020
Project Amount: $1,500,000
RFA: NIH/EPA Centers of Excellence on Environmental Health Disparities Research (2015) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Health


The primary objective of the proposed Center is to understand and reduce environmental health disparities (EHDs) by conducting three fully-integrated research projects applying novel methods in epidemiology, exposure science, and cumulative risk assessment, with strong community engagement across the Center. The Center will focus on multiple health outcomes across the life course with evidence for EHDs (birth outcomes, childhood growth rates, and cardiovascular mortality), in Massachusetts and within two low-income communities (Chelsea and Dorchester). The influence of housing and the neighborhood environment on multiple exposures and health outcomes will be emphasized throughout the Center. Project 1 will develop and apply innovative methods to estimate health effects associated with multiple air pollutants, accounting for many potential confounders and interactions with non-chemical stressors, including constructs for housing, material hardship, neighborhood environment, and sociodemographics developed in Project 3. Project 1 will also identify epigenetic profiles associated with air pollution exposures and the non-chemical stressors that modify them. Project 2 will use an innovative combination of real-time in-home monitors to estimate indoor exposures to multiple chemical and non-chemical stressors and record household activity patterns, with novel statistical techniques to calculate air exchange rates and predict housing- related exposures as a function of publicly available geospatial data, allowing for inclusion in epidemiological analyses. Project 3 will use novel geospatial data and simulation techniques to provide an extensive and highly resolved set of chemical and non-chemical stressor exposures. Exposure models will be linked with Project 1 epidemiological findings to yield estimates of cumulative health risks and the benefits from hypothetical interventions, including quantitative evaluation of EHDs. The Community Engagement Core will facilitate continuous bi-directional engagement with community partners, including involvement in field activities in Project 2 and input regarding the non-chemical stressor constructs. The Pilot Project Program will target junior investigators and support EHD research in new and emerging topic areas that connect with Center themes and projects. The Center is highly integrated, with synergistic and interdependent Projects and Cores that will provide, for the first time, a mechanistic view of the complex interactions between environmental exposures and social determinants of health disparities, leading to evidence on the most efficient intervention targets to reduce disparities. 

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2016 Progress Report
  • 2017
  • Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R836156C001 Multi-Exposure Epidemiology across the Life Course
    R836156C002 Exposure Disparities Related to Resident Behavior and Housing Characteristics
    R836156C003 Cumulative Risk and Geospatial Health Disparities Related to Chemical and Non-Chemical Stressor Exposures