UCI Public Health launches the Center for Research on Disparities in Environmental Health | UCI News



Irvine, California, October 13, 2021 – The Public Health Program at the University of California at Irvine has launched the Center for Environmental Health Disparities Research. The center is dedicated to environmental justice through community-based research and the promotion of equitable environmental health policies at local and national levels.

UCI public health professors Jun Wu and Alana MW LeBrón will lead the center. Wu is a professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and has extensive experience in population-based research on environmental exposures and environmental epidemiology, particularly for air pollution, climate change, and justice issues. environmental. LeBrón, in addition to being an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health, Society and Behavior, also holds a position in the UCI School of Social Sciences as Assistant Professor of Chicano / Latin Studies. His research focuses on the role of structural racism in shaping health inequalities that affect low-income communities of color and examines community-level interventions designed to mitigate the effect of structural racism on health.

Wu and LeBrón have both spent much of their careers working directly with community partners to improve understanding of inequalities in environmental exposures and health outcomes, as well as the contribution of policies and systems to human health issues. inequity aimed at informing interventions aimed at reducing inequalities between historically marginalized groups.

Established as a result of the UCI Black Thriving Initiative Faculty Group Recruitment Program, CEHDR will build on the university’s ongoing efforts to broaden the scholarship base focused on the experiences of Black, Afro-American communities. -american and Caribbean with regard to environmental justice.

“The UCI has grown up to this point,” said LeBrón. “Environmental and climate research has long been an area of ​​expertise of the university. We reached a turning point last year where we had a critical mass of people interested in improving research on environmental justice, as well as the launch last year of the UCI Black Thriving Initiative which helped to make possible the creation of the CEHDR.

In keeping with the interdisciplinary approach championed by the University of California, the center will engage a myriad of disciplines beyond public health to solve complex environmental justice issues, including engineering, urban planning, medicine, nursing, the practice of pharmacy and anthropology.

“We look forward to bringing together faculty, staff and students from the university’s schools to address environmental health issues,” Wu said. “The center will play a pivotal role in developing collaborations on and beyond of the campus for future research and education. “

The driving force behind the centre’s work is the belief and understanding that working directly with communities is essential to design effective public health interventions that fill the gaps in environmental health inequalities. The work will extend beyond campus and into local communities with the goal of developing new community partnerships and building on the successes of existing ones. Community partners will not only share CEHDR’s mission and vision, but will also have valuable expertise to contribute, as they are directly affected by many environmental health issues that the center will tackle.

CEDHR plans to form a Community Advisory Board following a process of engaging in one-on-one conversations with community leaders, who will provide feedback on the issues the center should focus on. In addition to training the board of directors, CEHDR will also host seminars and events throughout the year to initiate broader conversations about environmental justice on campus and beyond.

Wu and LeBrón are joined by an extraordinary group of academics, including:

  • Adeyemi Adeleye, assistant professor, civil and environmental engineering, Henry Samueli School of Engineering
  • Scott Bartell, professor, environmental and occupational health, Public health program
  • Limits of dawn, Assistant Professor, Nursing, Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing
  • Russ Detwiler, associate professor, civil and environmental engineering, Henry Samueli School of Engineering
  • Kim Fortun, professor, anthropology, School of Social Sciences
  • Marnie Granados, general pediatrician, CHOC Medical Group
  • Cindy Haq, Clinical Professor and Chair, Family Medicine, School of Medicine
  • Douglas Houston, Associate Professor, Urban Planning and Public Policy, School of Social Ecology
  • Sunny Jiang, professor and chair, civil and environmental engineering, Henry Samueli School of Engineering
  • Cynthia Lakon, Associate Professor and Chair, Health, Society and Behavior, Public Health Program
  • Candice Taylor Lucas, Associate Clinical Professor, Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine
  • Christophe Olivares, assistant professor, civil and environmental engineering, Henry Samueli School of Engineering
  • Abigail Reyes, Director, Community Resilience Projects
  • David Richardson, professor, environmental and occupational health, Public health program
  • Diego Rosso, professor, civil and environmental engineering, Henry Samueli School of Engineering
  • Miryha Gould Runnerstrom, Associate Teaching Professor, Health and Behavior Society, Public Health Program
  • Sora Tanjasiri Park, professor, epidemiology and biostatistics, Public health program
  • Véronique Vieira, Professor and President, Environmental and Occupational Health, Public Health Program
  • Cheryl Wisseh, Assistant Professor, Clinical Practice of Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Ursula Worsham, Head of Diversity and Executive Director, Student Support Division, Faculty of Medicine
  • Salvador Zarate, assistant professor, anthropology, School of Social Sciences

“The UCI’s mission to promote research, education and public service really comes to life with the launch of this important center,” said Bernadette Boden-Albala, director and founding dean of the UCI public health program. “And our efforts are reinforced by community partnerships. We simply could not achieve this without the contribution and expertise of our community partners who share our vision of a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

About the public health program and future School of Population and Public Health: UCI Public health is dedicated to the achievement of health equity for all populations through public health education, research, service and practice at the local and global levels. Upholding the principles of evidence-based public health science, the program aspires to understand and impact the social, biological and environmental determinants of health and well-being at the population level. Drawing on the diverse expertise of its faculty, it aims to educate the future workforce of California and beyond through exceptional programs and experiential learning opportunities.

About the UCI Brilliant Future campaign: Publicly launched on October 4, 2019, the Brilliant Future campaign aims to raise awareness and support the UCI. By engaging 75,000 alumni and raising $ 2 billion in philanthropic investments, the UCI seeks to reach new heights of excellence in student success, health and wellness, research and more. The planned School of Population and Public Health plays a critical role in the campaign’s success. Learn more by visiting https://brilliantfuture.uci.edu/school-of-population-and-public-health/.

About University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, the UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the top 10 public universities in the country by American News and World Report. The campus has produced three Nobel Laureates and is known for its academic achievements, leading research, innovation, and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, the UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It is located in one of the safest and most vibrant communities in the world and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $ 7 billion annually to the local economy and $ 8 billion globally. of State. To find out more about the UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

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