Environmental health research explores the impacts of our natural and man-made environments on human health, including not only air, water, soil, and food, but also our sociocultural, economic, work, and family environments. The phrase “applied environmental health” means translating the results of environmental health research into positive actions and public health interventions that are appropriate in the context of our total sociocultural and economic environment at local, national and global levels.
The faculty members of the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health collaborate with state, federal, international and private agencies to develop research solutions that address pressing environmental health problems.
Dr. Amy Sapkota leads the CONSERVE research group that, through a systems-based, team science approach, is developing on-farm water reuse solutions for food crop irrigation in order to effectively reduce the nation’s agricultural water challenges that are exacerbated by climate change and ensure water and food security for future generations.
Dr. Don Milton uses novel exhaled breath bioaerosol sampling devices invented in his lab and in collaboration with teams of virologists, immunologists, biostatisticians, bioinformatics experts, and engineers to answer fundamental questions about influenza -- is it transmitted mostly by tiny aerosol particles floating in the air or by direct and indirect contact and large droplet sprays, can we effectively control epidemics and pandemics by having better ventilated indoor environments, and by non-invasively monitoring infection and immune reactions in the lung can we identify a way to make a universal influenza vaccine?
Dr. Robin Puett focuses on environmental and spatial exposure assessment and epidemiology, as well as the intersection of mind, body, environment and health. Much of her research has explored the relationship of ambient air pollution exposures with chronic disease (i.e. cardiovascular disease and diabetes) and mortality.
Dr. Devon Payne-Sturges seeks to improve environmental health policy decision-making through social-environmental systems modeling, and seek policy changes to reduce social inequities in environmental health burdens. In her words, "I count chemicals, not just calories....to improve environmental health policy decision making."
Other faculty in the Institute are working with the Maryland Governor’s Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities to identify those communities most impacted by environmental, socioeconomic, or health disparities. Others collaborate with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to identify the sources of antibiotic resistance and microbial contamination in foods.