The Baylor College of Medicine Environmental Health Service has developed rich research collaborations with a number of academic, governmental and community groups. In cooperation with its research partners, the BCM-EHS has conducted groundbreaking work involving (1) geospatial modeling and analysis of health effects, with a special emphasis on defining "hot spots" for potential targeted intervention; and (2) efforts to promote and measure the efficacy of educational, policy and other interventions to improve health. Several recent research projects are described below.
- As part of the Houston Geospatial Lead Exposure Analysis, BCM-EHS geocoded 55,331 children tested between 2004 and 2008, and analyzed numerous risk factors for high blood lead levels including housing, income, race and other factors. In collaboration with the Galveston County Health District, a “hot spot” analysis and extensive literature review helped to drive renewed attention to the ongoing problem of childhood lead poisoning.
- In cooperation with the University of Houston, BCM-EHS modeled spatial variability of benzene concentrations in Harris County using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Community Multiscale Air Quality Model with Air Toxics. The BCM-EHS study uses multipollutant exposures and demographic variables to predict “hot spots” of concern.
- BCM-EHS worked with Texas Southern University on a Health Impact Assessment (published in June 2012) of transit-oriented development at the Quitman light rail stop in Northside Village, a largely poor Latino neighborhood just north of downtown Houston. The assessment was coordinated and funded by the Health Impact Project, a joint project of the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
- Our faculty is currently collaborating with MD Anderson Cancer Center on iMove!, a project that looks at neighborhood-level incentives and barriers to physical activity in sedentary minority adults.
- The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is providing funding to BCM-EHS to examine the effectiveness of a home-based environmental intervention program to improve asthma control and quality of life among African-American adults in the Houston area. Recruitment for Houston Home-based Integrated Intervention Targeting Better Asthma Control in African Americans (HIIT-BAC) will begin in the fall of 2014.