1.1 INTRODUCTION AND VISION STATEMENT Since its inception in 1990, Environmental Health Sciences Research Center (EHSRC) at the University of Iowa (U.I.) has advanced and translated research that addresses environmental health problems across the urban-rural continuum. Our early research was focused on organic dust exposure and lung disease, pesticide exposure and cancer, rural childhood asthma, and community health problems arising from industrialized livestock production. While studies in these arenas continue, we have also encompassed areas of emerging importance such as nanotoxicology, oxidative stress and innate immunity and have applied new innovations in environmental genomics, advanced metabolomics, environmental intervention cohort studies and state-of-the-art biomedical imaging. As future environmental health issues come to light, we will continue to embrace their challenges through vigorous research, outreach and community engagement. For example, in the wake of the Iowa Flood of 2008, we are investigating environmental health challenges posed by a warmer, wetter climate in the Midwest. Data collected in Iowa over the last 114 years show more frost-free days, higher annual rainfalls, and increasing days each year with extreme rainfall. Allergenic plants are flowering sooner, producing more pollen and expanding their northern range. Farmers are adapting to climate change by planting earlier and at higher densities;using more pesticides to control yield loss from new insects, fungi and weeds;and expanding use of subsurface drainage systems that channel pesticides and manure into surface waterways. In this example, a changing climate has direct relevance to rural and agricultural populations as well as far-reaching implications for public health along the urban-rural continuum. The EHSRC is translating innovative research on climate change health effects to policy makers and the public to support sound adaptation strategies and to improve our preparedness for environmental disasters with a focus on disease prevention. EHSRC Vision Statement: The Center vision is to be the primary environmental health resource for improving the health of rural residents by stimulating and translating innovative environmental health sciences research. This will be accomplished by gaining new insights into rural exposures;pathways of host defense, lung injury and repair;nanotoxicology;and population health;and then translating these insights to clinical medicine, public health practice and regulatory policy.

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National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
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University of Iowa
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