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New Research Grants Announced for Researchers at Yale School of Public Health

September 23, 2008

Three new research grants, totaling nearly $10 million over five years, have been awarded by the National Institutes of Health to several investigators at the Yale School of Public Health to further research on topics as diverse as disaster planning to the effects of traffic and air pollution on newborns.

The grant awards include:

Beth A. Jones

Beth A. Jones, associate professor in the Division of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, received $4.1 million to study cancer screening behavior in Hispanic/Latinas (H/Ls) living in the northeast United States.

While they are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than are white women, H/Ls are more likely to be diagnosed with late stage tumors and to have worse survival rates. Furthermore, compared to white and African–American women, their self–reported mammography screening rates are lower. However, relatively little is known about cancer screening behavior in H/L women living in the Northeast United States, particularly among recent immigrants. This study will establish a cohort of 1,600 Hispanic/Latina women, ranging from 40 to 75 years old and living in Connecticut, and study their screening experience over a two– to four–year period.

“This is an excellent opportunity to extend our ongoing cancer disparities research to include Hispanic/Latinos—a group that is largely understudied in this part of the country,” Jones said.

Kathleen D. Belanger

Researcher Kathleen P. Belanger, working with associate professor Michelle Bell at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, received nearly $3 million to study the effects of air pollution and automobile traffic on the health of newborns.

Their hypothesis is that air pollution is associated with common adverse birth outcomes (e.g., preterm delivery, low birth weight). During pregnancy, most women take special care of their health. For example, they quit smoking, and give up alcohol and caffeine, change their diet and exercise patterns. They take health precautions for their child that oftentimes they would not take for themselves. But they cannot control the air that they breathe.

“If pollutants in the air can harm a fetus during development, this is a public health concern. We need to identify the pollutants and identify methods to reduce exposure,” Belanger said.

Brian P. Leaderer

Deputy Dean of Public Health Brian P. Leaderer received $2.7 million to coordinate disaster planning, preparedness and emergency response to public health emergencies among the public health workforce.

As part of a national network of Centers for Public Health Preparedness that are funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Yale Center for Public Health Preparedness works with state and local health departments to ensure that frontline public health workers are prepared to respond to public health emergencies including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and disease outbreaks.

“The Yale Center for Public Health Preparedness is playing a critical role in ensuring that the public health workforce is well prepared for its role in disaster planning, response, mitigation and recovery,” Leaderer said.

Submitted by Denise Meyer on August 14, 2012