Assess the Linkage Between School-Related Environment, Children’s School Performance/Health, and Environmental Policies Through Environmental Public Health Tracking

EPA Grant Number: R834787
Title: Assess the Linkage Between School-Related Environment, Children’s School Performance/Health, and Environmental Policies Through Environmental Public Health Tracking
Investigators: Lin, Shao , Hwang, Syni-An
Current Investigators: Lin, Shao
Institution: The State University of New York at Albany
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: February 1, 2011 through January 31, 2014 (Extended to January 31, 2017)
Project Amount: $500,000
RFA: Exploring Linkages Between Health Outcomes and Environmental Hazards, Exposures, and Interventions for Public Health Tracking and Risk Management (2009) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Human Health , Health


The objective of the proposed project is to develop new and improve existing Environmental Public Health Indicators (EPHIs) related to the school environment, and to explore appropriate statistical methodology in order to evaluate the linkage between school environment and children’s health and school performance (test scores, attendance) as well as the impacts of environmental policy on these outcomes.


We will use a unique constellation of available datasets to develop and evaluate school-based outdoor environmental indicators including ambient criteria air pollutant levels, proximity to traffic, industrial facilities, hazardous waste sites/landfills, and potential pesticide exposures from schools and residences. We will also evaluate school-based indoor indicators involving the presence of mold, moisture, vermin and ventilation problems using school building condition surveys. For children’s outcomes, we will develop children’s health and performance indicators using respiratory hospital admissions and emergency department (ED) data, and school attendance and test performance data. In addition to evaluating the effect of individual school hazards, we will also develop composite indices of multiple exposures by integrating and weighting each indicator’s contribution to children’s outcomes. Through multilevel analysis, land-use regression, and source apportionment, we will quantitatively assess the spatial relationships between the school-based environment and children’s EPHI. The multilevel approach includes a case-control design for health outcomes at the individual level and an ecologic design for children’s performance at the school level, controlling for socio-demographic and potential residential exposures. To assess the effects of intervention via environmental actions and policies such as school bus retrofitting/ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel policy, school bus idling policy, and NOx SIP Call in NYS, we will use longitudinal (temporal) and cross-sectional (spatial) designs for an intervention analysis.

Expected Results:

The proposed study will address key research areas requested in this RFA, including the evaluation of these new indicators, exploring new statistical methods, linkage between environmental hazards in the school environment and relevant child outcomes in NYS, and the relationship between policy action and changes in EPHIs. Outputs from this project including a comparison of the individual and joint effects of multiple environmental hazards on children will inform risk assessment and management in the school environment. The results will not only directly enhance the Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) system in NYS, but may also provide guidance on school environmental management to stakeholders with an interest in school health and school environment.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 22 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 5 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

school environment, children’s health, environmental public health indicators, student performance,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2011 Progress Report
  • 2012 Progress Report
  • 2013 Progress Report
  • 2014 Progress Report
  • 2015 Progress Report
  • Final Report