The Center is dedicated to translating research findings into usable health information for communities that are disproportionately affected by environmental pollutants. One way we do this is by informing healthcare providers who serve such communities. Doctors and nurses work to bring healthy children into the world as well as keep them healthy. Clinicians play an important role in identifying early physical signs of disease and determining what factors may contribute to children’s health and development. The more clinicians know about the health risks of environmental contaminants, the more they can educate their patients—particularly pregnant women, parents, and children—about how to lower harmful exposures. Center materials are disseminated to local physician offices, and investigators regularly present Center findings at Grand Rounds presentations, conferences, and other venues.
On October 25th 2011, the Center held the first of several planned community briefings. We invited community leaders, elected officials, and policymakers to engage in dialogue about our research findings. The Center Director, Dr. Frederica Perera, discussed health risks associated with prenatal and early exposure to diesel exhaust, pesticides, indoor air allergens, and endocrine disrupting chemicals. WE ACT’s Executive Director, Ms. Peggy Shepard, presented on the current state of policy reform regarding exposures that are most common in our urban communities. Over 30 stakeholders engaged in an active discussion on how to effectively translate Center findings that encourages advocacy and prevention. Those who attended the breakfast include representatives from the Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as other health and community service organizations in the area.
In 2009, the Center hosted the “Translating Science to Policy: Protecting Children’s Environmental Health” conference in collaboration with WE ACT for Environmental Justice, the Center’s lead partner. Over 400 scientists, public officials, community leaders, and advocates for environmental health attended to review 10 years of research findings from the Center and other scientists, discuss interventions stemming from this research, and identify strategies to advance policies to reduce and prevent environmentally-related diseases such as asthma, developmental disorders, and cancer in children living in urban communities. Lisa P. Jackson, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Linda S. Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), gave keynote speeches. The focus of the day revolved around air pollution and climate change, residential pesticides, and endocrine disruptors. The conference proceedings are described in the 2009 Translating Science to Policy conference report.
In addition to hosting community and stakeholder briefings, the 2009 conference, and workshops for local leaders, the Center investigators regularly present findings at local, national and international grand rounds, conferences, and seminars to build awareness about best practices and innovative findings in environmental health.