Professor Phil Brown and colleagues win Children’s Environmental Health Center grant

Professor Phil Brown and his colleagues were awarded the “Center for Research on Early Childhood Exposure and Development in Puerto Rico (CRECE).” This center funded for $5M over 4 years is jointly supported by the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) of the National Institutes of Health, and the Environmental Protection Agency. CRECE will study how pollutant exposure and psychosocial risk factors impact the health and development of children living on Puerto Rico’s heavily contaminated northern coast. The CRECE team will follow a cohort of 600 children whose prenatal exposure was documented in the PROTECT study, tracking them from birth to age 4. This is a huge success that stems from Phil and his colleagues’ work in the Superfund Research Program (Puerto Rico Testsite to Explore Contamination Threats-PROTECT), which examines environmental factors in preterm birth for a cohort of 1800 women, and was renewed by NIEHS last year with a five-year, $13.5M award. Phil Brown’s specific role is to co-direct the Community Outreach and Translation Core with Carmen Milagros Velez Vega from the University of Puerto Rico. The Community Outreach and Translation Core creates partnerships with medical, governmental, and community organizations and works on public health campaigns involving children’s environmental health issues; facilitates educational and outreach opportunities for parents of participants, healthcare practitioners, public health and environmental agencies, and the overall public; reports children’s environmental and health data to parents at the individual and aggregate level; and provides data to health agencies, providers and researchers on general population exposure to contaminants, data on which is very sparse in Puerto Rico.