The goal of this career development plan is to launch an independent research career in children's environmental health, specializing in climate change research, with a focus on the health vulnerabilities of children. Climate change will impact health by changing the landscape with respect to allergens, pollution, extreme storms, and thermal stress. The health care community can best reduce the burden of climate change on health through targeted interventions for specific vulnerabilities. Research on these vulnerabilities requires advanced epidemiologic skills. This career development plan will build on the candidate's formal training in pediatrics to obtain the background in environmental epidemiology needed to develop hypotheses and design environmental health studies that are well-grounded in biological mechanisms of toxicity. This plan incorporates didactic training in environmental epidemiology and complex statistical techniques. The research component builds on a dual-site prenatal cohort recruited in Boston and New York: the Programming of Intergenerational Stress Mechanisms (PRISM) study. The research will examine the role of prenatal air pollution, psychosocial stress, and immune mechanisms in maternal-child health. The candidate is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Preventive Medicine and Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, a nationally and internationally recognized center of excellence in preventive medicine, occupational and environmental medicine, community health, and environmental pediatrics. An interdisciplinary mentorship team has been selected to provide guidance and expertise in environmental epidemiology, psychosocial stress, immunology, and psychiatry. The proposed training and research program will position the candidate to work effectively with a number of active, multidisciplinary groups at the completion of the award period. The project is guided by the following career objectives: 1) to gain knowledge on diverse methods of spatial modeling for social and physical environmental exposure assessment;2) to gain experience working with observed and modeled climate data, in particular, downscaled climate model outputs;3) to develop expertise in advanced statistical methods relevant to climate and health work specifically focusing on air pollution, stress, and inflammatory biomarkers;4) to acquire familiarity with additional climate-sensitive outcomes such as birth and mental health outcomes and mechanistic intermediaries. This career development plan will facilitate the candidate becoming a leading expert and independent investigator in children's environmental health and advance the NIH's mission to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.

Public Health Relevance

Climate change is estimated to result in over 200,000 premature deaths per year - over 80% of which are among children - and projected to cause additional health effects in the coming decades. Air pollution and psychosocial stress exposures, and the underlying immune mechanisms of maternal and child health are important climate-sensitive factors in this public health issue. This project aims to build the epidemiologic skills of a pediatrician dedicated to finding ways to reduce climate health impacts both within the USA and globally.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Type
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
Project #
1K23ES024127-01
Application #
8749143
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1-LKB-J (K3))
Program Officer
Shreffler, Carol K
Project Start
2014-08-01
Project End
2019-07-31
Budget Start
2014-08-01
Budget End
2015-07-31
Support Year
1
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
$160,230
Indirect Cost
$10,765
Name
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Department
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Type
Schools of Medicine
DUNS #
078861598
City
New York
State
NY
Country
United States
Zip Code
10029
Sheffield, Perry; Rowe, Meghan; Agu, Damiris et al. (2014) Health impact assessments for environmental restoration: the case of Caño Martín Peña. Ann Glob Health 80:296-302