2010 Pilot Research Program (PRP)
Research Capacity Building Workshop
In our concerted effort to build the skills of trainees and junior faculty to secure research funds, we facilitate an annual workshop on the University of Cincinnati campus. Each PRP partner university can send two researchers to the two-day workshop. The 5th Annual workshop was held on March 22-23, at the Department of Environmental Health (Kettering Laboratory), on the College of Medicine campus. A total of 12 participants including 8 PhD students and 4 assistant professors attended the workshop.
Dr. Jack Kues, Assistant Senior Vice-President for Continuing Professional Development, Assistant Dean for Continuing Medical Education and Professor of Family Medicine served as a presenter on the “nuts and bolts” of the workshop for researchers. This year one of the major foci of the workshop was to orient the participants about the new review process and scoring system utilized by NIH and CDC/NIOSH. The two-day curriculum provided participants with “hands-on” experience about how and where to look for funding sources, development of a justifiable budget, strategies to utilize to enhance the significance and impact of the proposed research project, strategies for effectively responding to the reviewer’s comments in a resubmission, and dos and don’ts of the research grant development process. Additionally, faculty members supported by the Cincinnati ERC and others provided the participants insight into two topic areas: 1) “An Engineering Approach for Resolving Occupational Health Problems” given by Dr. Rupak Banerjee, Associate Professor of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering and 2) translational or research to practice grant funding opportunities at University of Cincinnati/Children’s Hospital’s CCTST/CTSA program (Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training/Clinical and Translational Science Awards) given by Dr. Joel Tsevat, Professor and Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research.
Dr. Banerjee illustrates the aspects of capacity building.
Dr. Tsevat (left) and Dr. Kues providing internet resources to participants.
Participants were given the opportunity to network and ask additional questions on a one-on-one basis with all of the workshop presenters as well as some of the faculty members from the University of Cincinnati. We also encouraged participants to submit a proposal for the next PRP Request for Proposals round.
And here is feedback from a participant…, doctoral student Ashutosh Mani:
Entering into the PhD program at Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati, I had no idea how a grant works. All I knew about grants is that some institutions fund research somehow. I was unaware of the fact that writing a good grant takes a lot more than just good science. I attended the first Pilot Research Program (PRP) in fall of 2008. So, after attending the PRP this year, I came to know about the grant writing seminar held in Spring Break.
I attended the Workshop, expecting to learn something about grants beyond the basics. It was a very good learning experience for me. I learned about writing and reviewing grants. I was glad that the speakers mentioned some of the unwritten trade secrets about writing grants that would help one in the long run. Listening to speakers talking about their real life experiences gave me a peek into the issues one would face in the real world. The workshop was also a good front for building one’s network as researchers from different fields attended. I look forward to attending the next workshop as that would be really helpful for me when I write a grant of my own in future.
The 11th Annual ACI/OSHA Construction Safety Day conference, A Lasting Impression
On September 15,
Environmental justice is the union between the physical and the cultural environment. It is the idea that all areas of our environment are important including wildlife and wetlands, urban habitats, industrial facility sites, and industrial development. Environmental justice addresses the idea that all humans should be living in healthy environments free from pollution caused by industrial facilities.
Participants of the tour met in
After the opening session, participants loaded two school buses and toured industrial sites located throughout
Gallagher Power Plant: This plant is located across the Ohio River in
Ford Automobile Assembly Plant: This plant is no longer in production. However, from 1925-1955 it produced over 1.6 million vehicles, including Model A’s and T’s.
Morris Forman Wastewater Treatment Plant: The plant started treating water is 1959 and is the district’s largest water treatment facility. It removes 97% of the solids from storm water and wastewater using activated sludge. Area residents have complained about the odors emitted from the plant. Scrubbers have been installed to help reduce odors and aluminum covers are being installed over all open areas of the treatment process.
Rubbertown began in 1918 with the construction of Standard Oil. Two more oil refineries were constructed over the next 20 years. It is in this area that
Another chemical plant in the area, Lubrizol, has a partnership with three other companies, Zeon, OxyVinyls, and PolyOne. All four companies share one plant and produce materials to manufacture rubber, vinyl house siding, PVC pipe, and cable insulation. Rohm and Haas has been a resident of Rubbertown since 1960. The facility produces plastic additives used in PVC piping, house siding, and packaging. The plants in this area produce products that have been linked to fatal liver cancer in exposed workers. This production also adds to air toxins that greatly exceed the recommendations set by the EPA. DuPont Chemical produces Freon, vinyl chloride, and hydrochloric acid using ozone-safe, non-chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) products. Hydrochloric acid is a by-product that the company, in the past, injected into underground wells. Since 1992, the facility has found markets to sell their acid for beneficial use.
A combined release of over 3 million pounds of air toxins annually can be attributed to the industries in Rubbertown. 12 monitoring stations have been placed in the area and analysis has shown elevated concentrations of chemicals, which place residents at higher risk for cancer, including 1,3 Butadiene, Acroylonitrile, Formaldehyde, Perchloroethylene, Ethyl Acrylate and Benzene.
In the 1880’s African Americans in
Of particular interest on the tour was the Lee’s Lane Superfund Site. From 1940 to 1975, the site was operated as an industrial and domestic waste landfill. The site lies in the
Dr. Tracey Yap (back row, 3rd from left) and University of Cincinnati nursing (Diane Busch-front row, 1st from left), and Industrial Hygiene (Amy Turner-front row, 2nd from left) students.
Sadly, the area has many issues with soil, air and water contamination along a beautiful stretch of the
This tour was sponsored through the Passionist Earth and
Occupational Health Nursing MS student, Diane Busch-James, spent the summer working with the City of Cincinnati Health Department to plan the implementation of a CDC funded Healthy Homes program for the low-income population of Lower Price Hill. The program addresses home issues that affect health such as mold, rodent and cockroach infestation, pet dander, smoking, lead, sewer gas, mercury, formaldehyde and other VOC’s, child safety, fire safety and injury prevention in the elderly.
The CDC estimates that there are more than 6 million substandard houses and apartments in the U.S. These conditions place the residents at increased risk for asthma, injuries, falls, childhood lead poisoning and other toxin induced illnesses. The Healthy Homes program takes a comprehensive approach and requires the Health Department to look at the entire home environment. It is felt that education and remediation can significantly reduce the exposures and thereby reduce the costs and number of medical and emergency visits, and, overall, provide the residents with a higher quality of life.
The program incorporates concepts such as the use of Integrated Pest Management. The use of pesticides and rodenticides has added to resident exposures to chemicals, particularly in multi-family housing units. IPM teaches residents elimination of sources of food, water and harborage and choice of the least toxic products to destroy the invading insects or vermin. The program advocates resident uses of cleaning products that are less hazardous, particularly those that give off less VOC’s, but are still effective in the elimination of dust, allergens and infectious agents.
Revisions were suggested for the Sanitation Code to incorporate Healthy Homes concepts. The program will not depend on voluntary compliance. Owners will be cited for leaking structural and plumbing issues. Ventilation will be required in all bathrooms to remove excessive moisture and with all gas appliances, dryers, stoves, and heaters. Residents will be cited for excessive clutter and cleanliness issues that contribute to infestation.
Research was completed in locating successful existing programs throughout the U.S. and in finding educational materials appropriate to the population. Development of understandable, population appropriate materials is essential to increasing the knowledge of the residents and to the overall success of the program. Many cities have implemented the program with success and they are willing to share the details of their programs. With materials provided, the Health Department will be able to contact other health departments for information and easily develop the educational component of the program.
Theory-based interventions were also addressed, as the program will require both increased community awareness along with individual interventions. The sanitarians were given a basic knowledge of Diffusion of Innovations Theory and the Transtheoretical Model. These theories will help with dissemination of information into the community and with individual behavior changes. Of particular concern in this program is the exposure to secondhand smoke in the home. Interventions will include increasing the resident’s knowledge of the effects of secondhand smoke on children and referrals to smoking cessation programs.
Overall, much was learned from the employees at the Health Department who are dedicated and committed to improving our health. They spend many hours inspecting city restaurants, tattoo parlors, some very nasty residences, and even our own University dining facilities. Many thanks to Assistant Health Commissioner, Dr. Camille Jones, who heads the Community Health and Environmental Services Division and who promotes collaborative efforts with the University Education and Research Center.
Two new sensor technologies are being added to the research capability of the ERC.
Several ERC students and faculty participated in an interdisciplinary trip to scenic West-Virginia in June. The destinations included NIOSH in Morgantown, Beckley Mine Health and Safety Academy, and Beckley demonstration coal mine. In Morgantown, the group was greeted by several former ERC students who currently work at NIOSH in Morgantown.
Students from Occupational Health Nursing and Environmental and Occupational Hygiene participated in the presentation by Dr. John Howard, former director of NIOSH and currently a special consultant to the agency. He discussed the changing nature of work and workers. There was lively discussion during the session, viewed in the Howard Ayer Computer Laboratory on August 26.