Current Projects

Cohort III, 2020 – 2026

Climate Change and Health

  • Extreme heat, associated adverse health outcomes, and barriers to heat-health protective behaviors in restaurant and service workers and managers in Philadelphia, PA, Leah Schinasi.Examining the effects of heat exposure on indoor workers, particularly food service workers in Philadelphia, to develop interventions and protective standards.
  • Food, Energy, and Water Insecurity in the Context of Compounding Disasters, Anais Roque.Studying the interconnected challenges of food, energy, and water insecurity amid compounding disasters to inform emergency management and public health response policies.

Environmental Exposures and Health

  • PFAS exposures, social factors, and bioactive lipid pathways to estimate antecedent risk profiles of depressive symptoms, Max Aung. Investigating economic and health impacts of perinatal mood disorders in the US, exploring the relationship between prenatal PFAS exposure and depression risk, focusing on bioactive lipids’ role in nervous system function.
  • A mechanistic basis for the short-term exposure effects of UFP on cognitive function, Jose Cedeno Laurent. Examining how short-term exposure to ultrafine particulate matter (UFP) impacts cognitive function in high-risk occupational settings and proposing an intervention trial to assess cognitive improvement by reducing UFP exposure.
  • Testing efficiency and accessibility using a novel bone lead test, Aaron Specht. Enhancing lead testing in Indianapolis by introducing efficient and accessible bone lead tests, investigating various lead sources to comprehensively address the issue.

Social Determinants of Health

  • Cross-sectional study assessing sociopolitical stress, Stephanie Eick.Measuring sociopolitical stress and its effects on mental health and birth outcomes among diverse pregnant and reproductive-age women in Atlanta, following recent US legislative changes impacting reproductive autonomy.
  • Race/Ethnicity and nativity disparities in gestational diabetes mellitus, MyDzung Chu.Investigating influences on gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) risk, particularly focusing on racial/ethnic and nativity disparities, exploring social and environmental factors’ impact on Asian and immigrant women.
  • Legacy effects of historical redlining on Black maternal life course heavy metal exposure and maternal-infant health, Betty Lin.Exploring racial disparities in maternal and infant health among Black individuals in the US, investigating underlying determinants and intergenerational consequences of stress exposure on health.
  • The role of environmental reparations in mitigating environmental racism, Yoshira Ornelas.Assessing the impact of environmental reparations on communities disproportionately affected by environmental injustice to address health inequities.

Substance Use and Health

  • Exposure to heavy metals among Indigenous people who inject methamphetamine, Michael Anastario.Examining health risks of injecting methamphetamine, particularly concurrent exposure to heavy metals like lead and mercury, utilizing non-invasive X-ray fluorescence for on-site assessment among 100 Fort Peck Tribal members to prioritize harm reduction.
  • Potential adverse impacts of vaping on perinatal health in women who use e-cigarettes during pregnancy, Ruzmyn Vilcassim. Evaluating the adverse effects of vaping on perinatal health by comparing biomarkers in pregnant women who vape with those who do not.

Water Safety and Security

  • Using a Risk Cup approach to evaluate vulnerabilities associated with community water systems in the US, Katherine Alfredo.  Assessing drinking water safety in the United States using a “Risk Cup” analysis for over 2,300 Community Water Systems, focusing on Florida to quantify health risks per glass of water and explore links between risk and social vulnerability.
  • Water insecurity framework, Na’Taki Osborne Jelks.Developing a comprehensive framework to address water insecurity’s impact on Black communities in the US, aiming to inform interventions and policy changes for equitable access to clean water.
  • Building Community Air Quality Research Capacity in the Mississippi Delta, Courtney Roper. Investigating air quality in the Mississippi Delta region and its health relevance to address health disparities caused by heightened exposure to air pollutants.