The National Institutes of Health (NIH) – through the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Health Human Development (NICHD) funded the Maternal and Infant Environmental Health Riskscape (MIEHR) Research Center in summer 2020. The center, a joint initiative of Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Southern University (TSU), is a Center of Excellence on Environmental Health Disparities Research, one of only three sites in the country selected for funding. The MIEHR Center is led by director Elaine Symanski at Baylor and co-director Robert Bullard at TSU.
The MIEHR Center was established to identify key drivers of racial disparities in pregnancy outcomes, such a preterm birth and hypertensive disorders during pregnancy.
The center studies study chemical and non-chemical exposures at the individual and neighborhood level from the biological, physical and social environments – collectively referred to as the riskscape – that affect maternal and infant health.
MIEHR Center Research
Environmental Riskscape, Disasters and Obstetric Outcomes
Goal: Assess race-specific associations between individual chemical (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and metals) and place-based chemical and non-chemical stressors in the environmental riskscape and adverse maternal and child health outcomes.
Disparities-Aware Classifiers for Maternal and Infant Health
Goal: Use an “omics” approach to develop and validate disparity aware classifiers for preterm birth for non-Hispanic black and white women.