We aim to stimulate collaborative efforts to explore connections between environment, behavior, health, and climate as related to urban environments. These translational efforts will be inter- and trans-disciplinary, as evidenced by earth scientists publishing with pediatricians, and geographers publishing with epidemiologists. Projects have included:

  1. Assessing the spatial and temporal relationships between soil lead contamination and children's blood lead poisoning to improve patient screening and to develop cost-effective mitigation tools for improving children's health outcomes
  2. Determining the relationships between the urban heat island effect, socioeconomic vulnerability and disasters related to extreme heat. This further involves the translational development of early warning systems with significant spatial specificity for individual cities.
  3. Where adolescents spend time and how it relates to their health risks, including substance use and risky sexual activity
  4. Estimating the health impact and cost of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke to encourage passage of clean air legislation
  5. Building indices to measure community health and fitness levels that can be used by local advocates to improve health behaviors and development of built environment resources to support physical activity
  6. Understanding the distribution of the health professions workforce to develop initiatives to address provider shortages that limit access to quality health care

Thus, we have existing strengths in geospatial analysis, community health, environmental health, epidemiology, public health, and bio-informatics. Stitching these strengths together to become research cores is the key to make IUPUI competitive for external funding in the areas of public and environmental health.

A critical need that remains for current and future leadership in this area is establishment of a national presence in urban health. With the myriad developments in geospatial expertise, bioinformatics, and now public health, a logical next step for IUPUI is to embrace it mission through the Center in Urban Health. Specifically, research efforts will include:

  • Developing and implementing a Community & Urban Health Protocol Development Team to grant seed grants to promote interdisciplinary and translational research in urban health and produce quality pilot data from these collaborations. Some aspect of the seed funding will be designed to enhance bridges to the community via community-based participatory research, strengthening connections that already exist with community and city leaders;
  • Fostering research collaborations in Community & Urban Health among Center faculty and affiliated scientists
  • Highlighting recent and upcoming publications and presentations among Center faculty