The NIEHS Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan (CEHNM) brings together scientists, physicians, epidemiologists, biostatisticians and citizens in a partnership focusing on a central theme that stresses understanding and preventing the environmental components of disease. The 32 Center, investigators work in three disease areas: cancer, respiratory diseases and neurotoxicology/ neurodegenerative diseases. Members seek to identify and study environmental exposures that contribute to the pathophysiology of human disease; communicate these results to other researchers, impacted communities, and the public; and develop strategies for translating these findings to improve public health. Research ranges from basic mechanistic studies to animal models to population studies. Themes are centered around air toxics/bioaerosols, oxidative stress, gene-environment interactions, life course exposures, epigenetics and, our newest theme, climate and health. While much research is focused on a disadvantaged community that receives disproportionally high exposure to hazardous substances in NYC, other projects study effects of environmental exposures around the world. Research is facilitated by four service cores including: (1) Exposure Assessment, (2) Trace Metals, (3) Integrative Health Sciences and (4) Administrative. Flexible Working Groups (Biomass Combustion, Epigenetics, Environmental Determinants of Neurological Disease, Environmental Exposures across the Life Course, Climate and Health) bring together investigators across the disease areas to initiate new areas of collaboration. A successful Pilot Project Program brings in new investigators and ideas. Our Community Outreach and Engagement Core is an active collaboration between Center investigators and West Harlem Environmental Action (WE ACT), our primary community partner. Activities include community forums, national conferences, mentoring of high school students and various educational activities. The Career Development Program enhances the mentoring of junior faculty currently taking place within the CEHNM. An Executive Committee helps the Director administer the program while two Advisory Committees provide additional guidance.
Environmental exposures are known to play an important role in several human diseases. Research being carried out in the CEHNM is defining sources and types of exposures, mechanisms-of action and health effects. The better understanding of environmentally related disease will lead to its prevention.
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