Industrialization in the People's Republic of China (PRC) has accelerated economic growth, producing rapid increases in early life outdoor air pollutant exposures. Grave concerns exist about impacts in this increasingly coal- and vehicle-using context on neurodevelopment, birth outcomes, respiratory illnesses and the cardiovascular system in children, and are especially heightened in Northwest PRC, which has witnessed especially intense economic development in the past decade. In response to RFA-TW-12-001, NYU School of Medicine (NYUSM) unites with the Lanzhou University School of Public Health (LUSPH), located in Gansu Province (Northwest PRC) to form a GEOHealth Hub and develop a program of needs assessment, partnership and capacity building, research planning, and evaluation. The paired applications are led by an internationally known leader in children's environmental health (L. Trasande) with experiences in research partnerships that span three continents, and a senior faculty member and former LUSPH Vice Dean (J. Niu) with 25 years of teaching and research experience in environmental health in PRC. Four NYUSM experts in inhalation toxicity, neurodevelopment and cardiovascular epidemiology are joined by seven faculty across multiple disciplines (developmental toxicology, epidemiology and biostatistics) from LUSPH. They will partner in surveys of child health providers, policy makers and other stakeholders to assess needs for research, translation and capacity building. Preliminary data document especially high nickel exposures and increases in cardiovascular risk associated with proximity to the world's second largest nickel refinery. These findings frame early considerations for pilot studies in neurodevelopment, cardiovascular, respiratory and birth outcomes, which will be executed in a Community Based Participatory Research mode. An educational conference coupled with follow up surveys will assess changes in knowledge, attitudes and opinions of providers, community stakeholders and policy makers. Focused capacity building activities for LUSPH are proposed, as well as a program of planning evaluation in anticipation of a full GEOHealth Hub application in 2014.
Children are uniquely vulnerable to effects of outdoor air pollution, with consequences on respiratory and cardiovascular health, neurodevelopment, and birth outcomes. We propose research planning, capacity building, and educational programs to maximize effective prevention of chronic childhood disease and disability in Northwest China, in a partnership between NYU School of Medicine and Lanzhou University School of Public Health
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