ADMINISTRATION OF THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SCIENCES PROGRAM Rationale: In the previous funding period, the CEHS built on its historical foundations of environmental health research in Southeast Asia to create a new CEHS program in Global Environmental Health Sciences as can be seen in the CEHS organizational chart above. It has become increasingly clear that modern environmental problems are truly global in nature, with environmental health threats in one country posing medical and diplomatic threats to other countries. There is no more convincing illustration of this problem than the global reach of the atmospheric brown clouds of air pollution moving across the planet (e.g., Ramanathan V, Ramana MV, Roberts G, Kim D, Corrigan C, Chung C, Winker, D. Warming trends in Asia amplified by brown cloud solar absorption. Nature 448, 575-578, 2007). It has also been recognized that, spread across the planet, there are large populations exposed to very high levels of toxins and toxicants in food, water and air. These exposed populations serve both as a beneficiary of US expertise in environmental health science and toxicology, and provide an opportunity to develop preventative measures against the human health effects of environmental toxicants. The NIEHS recognized these problems with a specific plank in its Strategic Plan for developing programs in global environmental health. The MIT CEHS responded to this NIEHS objective by creating the Global EHS Program. Participants and goals: The current Program represents a partnership between four institutions: the MIT CEHS, the Chulabhorn Research Institute (CRI) in Thailand, Johns Hopkins University NIEHS Center for Urban Environmental Health, and the National University of Singapore (NUS). The goals of the Global Environmental Health Sciences Program are: (1) To promote basic science and translational research collaborations in projects addressing EHS and toxicology in Southeast Asia. (2) To facilitate Center member access to clinical samples from exposed populations in partner countries. (3) To build EHS and toxicology research and training capacities in partner countries. (4) To train the next generation of EHS researchers with an interest in global problems in EHS and toxicology. Organization and Operation of the Global EHS Program: With support from the Administrative Core, the Global EHS Program is co-directed by Profs. Gerald Wogan and John Essigmann. They are responsible for assisting Center members with initiating and fostering research and training collaborations with scientists in participating countries and institutions, and for coordinating training and exchange activities for the MIT component of the Chulabhorn Graduate Institute and for the junior faculty mentoring activities at the CRI. They were assisted in these responsibilities by the Program Coordinator, Dr. Megan McBee, who recently developed a directory of faculty research interests for researchers at CRI, MIT and NUS and has helped in preparing grant applications for Global EHS activities. Dr. McBee has since left MIT and we are currently seeking a replacement Program Coordinator. Scope of activities in the Global EHS Program: As described in detail in section 2 (Environmental Health Identity and Impact on Research Base) and section 4 (Career Development Program), the CEHS Global EHS Program currently shepherds a variety of activities aimed at promoting EHS and toxicology research and training in partner countries. These activities include: (1) Undergraduate student research training in the MIT THAIROP at the CRI in Bangkok. (2) Graduate research training in EHS and toxicology in the Chulabhorn Graduate Institute in Bangkok. (3) Junior faculty mentoring activities at the CRI. (4) Research collaborations between CEHS members and scientists in Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Europe. Translational research in the Global EHS Program: The Global EHS Program operates in collaboration with the Integrative Health Sciences Facilities Core (IHSFC) to promote translational research for CEHS members. A major goal of the Program is to facilitate Center member access to clinical samples from exposed populations in partner countries. To this end, the Program has been successful in the past funding period, with two CEHS members. Profs. Samson and Dedon, utilizing human cord blood samples from Thai mothers with defined exposures to arsenic. Through Program contacts, the researchers were able to establish collaborations with Prof. Dr. Her Royal Highness Princess Mahidol Chulabhorn, President of the CRI, and Prof. Mathuros Ruchirawat, Vice Present of the CRI, with all necessary human experimentation issues addressed in the IHSFC. Prof. Samson has further developed a wider collaboration with CRI scientists and Vietnamese scientists to explore arsenic exposure in a region near Hanoi. The next funding period should see a sharp increase in the level of translational research fostered by the Global EHS Program and the IHSFC. Oversight of the Global EHS Program: The IAC is responsible for overseeing the activities of the Global EHS Program, with discussion of the Program at monthly IAC meetings. The IAC reviews the Global EHS Program for progress in the following areas: (1) The number of CEHS members participating in Program activities. (2) The amount of grant support for Program activities. (3) The number of and funding for research collaborations. (4) The training outcomes for graduate students, postdoctoral scientists and junior faculty.

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National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
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Environmental Health Sciences Review Committee (EHS)
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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