Final Report: Center for Integrative Approaches to Health Disparities – Environment Assessment Core

EPA Grant Number: NIMHD004
Title: Center for Integrative Approaches to Health Disparities – Environment Assessment Core
Investigators: Diez Roux, Ana V. , Auchincloss, Amy H , Gebreab, Samson , Hickson, DeMarc A
Institution: University of Michigan , Drexel University , Jackson State University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: August 1, 2011 through July 31, 2014
Project Amount: $556,144
RFA: Transdisciplinary Networks of Excellence on the Environment and Health Disparities (2012) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice , Health


The aims of the project were:

  1. To enhance the neighborhood-level data available in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) by adding novel data on food price and various built environment measures that can be better used to study the impact of neighborhoods on changes in cardiovascular risk.
  2. To create comparable time-varying measures of access to healthy foods, recreational facilities, and other price and built environment data for the Jackson Heart Study (JHS).
  3. To create the data and infrastructure necessary to promote and sustain longitudinal analyses of neighborhood effects on cardiovascular risk that take advantage of the new environmental data in MESA and JHS including comparative analyses across cohorts, beyond the end of the short funding period of this revision.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

We completed the compilation and creation of a large number of the neighborhood-level variables that can be investigated across both cohorts for years 2000-2012.

The neighborhood-level variables ready for analyses include:

  • Socio-demographic census characteristics
  • GIS-based neighborhood resources (food, physical activity resources, social engagement and walking destinations)
  • Food and cigarette prices
  • Survey-based conditions of the social environment (neighborhood social cohesion, violence, and neighborhood problems).

Relevance to the protection of the environment and human health:
Identifying how various features of neighborhood physical and social environments are important to the identification of environmental interventions necessary to protect the health of the public.

The creation of these measures will allow us to determine how various environmental features affect health in a large multiethnic cohort and in a large African American cohort.


By compiling and linking spatially and temporally resolved environmental risk factors to the MESA and JHS cohorts, investigators now are able to assess the impacts of neighborhood contexts on longitudinal changes in cardiovascular risk in a multiethnic cohort and in an all African American cohort. These diverse samples are allowing investigation of how neighborhood features contribute to heterogeneity in disease risk within race/ethnic groups as well as the extent to which neighborhood features contribute to disparities in cardiovascular risk.

Using these cohorts, we now can investigate a wide range of environmental risk factors on a wide range of behavioral, psychosocial, and biologic risk factors, as well as cardiovascular outcomes.

For example, recently published and in-press work found:

  • Moving to a location with better walkability was associated with more transportation walking and reductions in BMI, illustrating the potential for neighborhood infrastructure to support health-enhancing behaviors and overall health.
  • Neighborhood and individual level SES measures were associated with predicted air pollutant concentrations, demonstrating the importance of accounting for neighborhood- and individual-level SES in air pollution health effects research.
  • Living in majority White neighborhoods was associated with lower air pollution exposures, and living in majority Hispanic neighborhoods was associated with higher air pollution exposures (PM2.5 and NOx concentrations). These results highlight the importance of measuring neighborhood-level segregation in the environmental justice literature.

Journal Articles on this Report : 4 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other project views: All 5 publications 4 publications in selected types All 4 journal articles
Type Citation Project Document Sources
Journal Article Hajat A, Diez-Roux AV, Adar SD, Auchincloss AH, Lovasi GS, O'Neill MS, Sheppard L, Kaufman JD. Air pollution and individual and neighborhood socioeconomic status:evidence from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Environmental Health Perspectives 2013;121(11-12):1325-1333. NIMHD004 (2013)
NIMHD004 (Final)
R831697 (2013)
R831697 (Final)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Associated PubMed link
  • Full-text: EHP-Full Text PDF
  • Abstract: EHP-Abstract & Full Text HTML
  • Journal Article Hicken MT, Adar SD, Hajat A, Kershaw KN, Do DP, Barr RG, Kaufman JD, Diez Roux AV. Air pollution, cardiovascular outcomes, and social disadvantage: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Epidemiology 2016;27(1):42-50. NIMHD004 (Final)
    R831697 (Final)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Associated PubMed link
  • Abstract: LWW-Abstract
  • Journal Article Hirsch JA, Diez Roux A, Moore KA, Evenson KR, Rodriguez DA. Change in walking and body mass index following residential relocation: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. American Journal of Public Health 2014;104(3):e49-e56. NIMHD004 (Final)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Associated PubMed link
  • Abstract: AJPH-Abstract
  • Journal Article Jones MR, Diez-Roux AV, Hajat A, Kershaw KN, O'Neill MS, Guallar E, Post WS, Kaufman JD, Navas-Acien A. Race/ethnicity, residential segregation, and exposure to ambient air pollution: the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). American Journal of Public Health 2014;104(11):2130-2137. NIMHD004 (Final)
    R831697 (Final)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Associated PubMed link
  • Abstract: AJPH-Abstract
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    African Americans, air pollution, environmental exposure, ethnic groups, health status disparities, Hispanic Americans, residence characteristics, urban population, environmental justice

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2012 Progress Report
  • 2013 Progress Report