The Center for Public Engagement with Science provides research translation and community engagement on a variety of environmental health topics for research centers within UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, including the UNC Superfund Research Program (SRP), Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility (CEHS), and Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP).

By informing the public about these environmental health issues, we aim to enable North Carolinians to make informed decisions regarding their exposure to specific environmental influences upon disease and reducing risk. Click here to learn about public health and housing training opportunities.

ERP_asthma boy with frameAsthma

More than one million North Carolina residents have been diagnosed with asthma. We share CEHS research on air pollution and health, focusing on how people can prevent indoor and outdoor triggers that exacerbate asthma and allergy conditions and improve air quality in North Carolina.

ERP_3 black womenBreast Cancer

Over 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in the US. We coordinate outreach activities that show CEHS researchers’ efforts to understand how genetic and environmental influences interact to cause the disease. We also work with BCERP scientists to develop educational materials for young African American women about environmental exposures as influences upon their risk for basal-like breast cancer.

ERP_DNA strantDNA and Epigenetics

Scientists in UNC’s Gillings School of Public Health are beginning to assess the role of epigenetics in human health, from a nutritional biochemist investigating links between obesity and breast cancer to a scientist linking epigenetic modifications of DNA to exposure to toxic metals. We are at the forefront of translating these research findings into meaningful learning experiences for students of biology.

ERP_hazmat and barrelHazardous Waste

There are 50 locations in North Carolina that have been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as sites with hazardous waste contamination. We coordinate activities for the SRP aimed at improving scientific and public understanding of how Superfund chemicals harm human health and how to reduce exposure to those chemicals.

ERP_family with houseHealthy Homes

Two-thirds of all U.S. families live in a home with at least one major health risk. Through partnerships with national, state and local health and housing agencies, we have worked to educate North Carolinians so that they can reduce their exposure to home hazards like lead, poor indoor air quality, pests and pesticides, and home injuries.

ERP_pregnant latino womanLead Exposure and Pregnancy

Lead exposure during pregnancy and breastfeeding can permanently harm a baby’s health. For over a decade, we have educated NC health professionals and residents about lead as an environmental health hazard for small children. Those efforts were recently expanded to partner with NC DHHS to implement federal guidelines aimed at protecting pregnant women and their children from lead poisoning.

Grandmother with adult daughter and grandchild riding bikesSkin Cancer

More than two million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer annually. When detected and treated early, skin cancer can be cured. We develop trainings and educational materials for youth and adults to increase public awareness about skin cancer and how to reduce risk.

Funding provided by NIEHS grants #P30 ES010126 (CEHS), #U01 ES019472 (BCERP), and #P42 ES005948 (SRP).