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Forum to Address Indoor Environmental Exposures

By Laura Hall
April 2010

Allen Dearry, Ph.D.
"Community forums represent an important means by which NIEHS establishes and maintains a two-way dialog with individuals and communities," said Dearry. "This ongoing discourse with the public helps to inform the Institute's planning in many areas, from air pollution to pesticide and heavy metal exposure." (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

John Schelp
"Informing and empowering the community is the great benefit of these forums," said Schelp. "People learn about environmental factors that can affect their health and about translating that knowledge into action -- to make lifestyle changes and, sometimes, to work for regulatory changes." (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

NIEHS/NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., will give the keynote address at a community forum on indoor environmental exposures at the Harlem School of the Arts in New York City on April 13. The forum, "Healthy Homes and You," will include scientific presentations and a panel discussion.

The event, which is open to the public, is sponsored by NIEHS, the NIEHS Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan (CEHNM) ( NIEHS and NIEHS grantee West Harlem Environmental Action, Inc. (WE ACT), a non-profit, community-based environmental justice organization.

The goal, explained co-hosts Regina Santella, Ph.D., director of the CEHNM, and Peggy Shepard, executive director of WE ACT, is to use translational research to address community concerns and improve environmental health.

CEHNM is housed at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York. The center seeks to improve public health through multidisciplinary scientific approaches and public partnerships with community organizations. CEHNM frequently partners with WE ACT on environmental justice issues.

Scientific Presentations

Beginning at 2:00 pm, Santella will welcome attendees and introduce the speakers. The presenting CEHNM scientists - Matthew Perzanowski, Ph.D., Robin Whyatt, DrP.H., and Patrick Kinney, Sc.D. - will discuss the impact of exposures on public health, including mouse allergens, endocrine disrupting substances, and air pollution. Shepard will discuss translating science to policy in the final presentation of the afternoon sesion. A discussion with the audience will follow the talks.

Panel Discussion

At 6:00 pm, Shepard will welcome everyone and explain the discussion format. The panelists include Joseph Graziano, Ph.D., of CEHNM, Birnbaum, Ray Werner of the Environmental Protection Agency, Daniel Kass of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Whyatt of CEHNM, and Ray Lopez of the Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service.


  • CEHNM -- Santella, David Evans, Ph.D., Graziano, and Gail Garbowski
  • WE ACT -- Shepard, Ogonnaya Dotson-Newman and Anhthu Hoang, Ph.D., J.D., and Cecil Corbin-Mark
  • NIEHS - Senior Advisor Allen Dearry, Ph.D., and John Schelp, liaison to the NIEHS Public Interest Partners and a community forum coordinator

(Laura Hall is a biologist in the NIEHS Laboratory of Pharmacology currently on detail as a writer for the Environmental Factor.)

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