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About CHEC

    CHEC was founded in 2004 at the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) under a grant from the Heinz Endowments.    

Mission & Goals

Our mission is to improve environmental health in Western Pennsylvania through community-based research.

We take a community-based approach to analyze the social, economic, political, policy, behavioral and geographical variables associated with environmental health issues, as well as the traditional physical-chemical aspects of local environmental health problems.

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  • Provide community-based participatory environmental research projects;
  • Perform exposure & risk assessment studies;
  • Offer access to local environmental health data; &
  • Provide opportunities for collaboration, prioritization of environmental problems, conferencing, & outreach in order to help people improve their lives & neighborhoods.

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  • Collaborate & partner with local organizations to uncover & solve environmental & ecological health problems
  • Develop a central resource for issue specific environmental health information & data for academic & partnering organizations' researchers
  • Campaig to increase public awareness of environmental health issues & exposure prevention/ avoidance techniques.
  • Dialogue with community members to understand the environmental issues most important to both communities of geography within Southwestern Pennsylvania & communities of interest
  • Conduct public presentations on various environmental health issues

By using a community-derived definition of environmental health, we set the stage for community engagement, which we believe is essential for the success of our work. In addition to conventional environmental hazards, such as pollution of air and water by toxic contaminants, the scope of our interests includes the impact on health and well-being by such things as urban sprawl and "bad neighborhoods," as well as education about modifiable behavioral risk factors for health. These include: home use of pesticides/herbicides, consumer choices of household products, and nutrition, and the physical social, and cultural determinants that influence them. As a starting point, we have chosen to focus our efforts on water management (including water quality, the amount of contaminants in our water , wastewater and sewage, stormwater runoff, flooding and land use policies). Along with a focus fly ash waste contamination of air and water of the local environment by coal fired electrical power plants. CHEC is able to follow the physical and chemical transport of contaminants released from point and non-point water pollution sources and all waste streams of coal-fired electrical plants through all environmental media. In addition, assess the impact of each mode of exposure on human and ecological receptors (fishes, birds, etc.). CHEC will also assess the risk that these exposures present for particular disease endpoints.

Current Projects | Previous Projects


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More Info...

CHEC Informational Brochure (PDF) | Collaborative Partners (PDF) | All Publications»

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Page last updated:
April 30, 2015