Researchers from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University received a $1.5 million Global Environmental and Occupational Health (GEOHealth) award from the Fogarty International Center (FIC) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant is part of a five-year program — GeoHealth Hubs – to create a network of regional environmental health research and training centers across different continents. At the same time a paired research grant, centered at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru (PI Gustavo Gonzales), also received $1.5 million, to conduct three research studies.
Led by Dr. Kyle Steenland and Dr. Karen Levy, in the department of environmental health, along with co-researchers at John Hopkins University and the University of Georgia, the team will create a regional training and development center that is based in Lima, Peru with links to neighboring countries Chile, Ecuador, and Bolivia.
“Partnerships are key to the success of this center and our initiatives,” explains Dr. Steenland. “We bring together an exceptionally strong collaborative team of environmental health researchers both regionally and globally that all have experience with training and research in Peru. This is a fantastic opportunity to build a platform for carrying out innovative environmental health research in Peru, and to build a cadre of trained environmental health scientists across South America.”
The new center will conduct three research projects: an intervention to improve indoor air in relation to cardiovascular health, a study of outdoor air pollution in Lima (the most polluted, large city in Latin America), and a study of the effects of climate change in Peru (a country where El Niño regularly causes major health problems likely to be exacerbated by increasing temperatures).
In the training component of the grant, Chilean investigators will join US investigators in providing short training courses and hands-on research opportunities in Peru, as well as sponsoring Peruvian, Bolivian and Ecuadorian students in short-term and doctoral training at the University of Chile and at Johns Hopkins University.