The Center for Healthy Environments and Communities
(CHEC) was founded in 2004 under a grant from the Heinz Endowments at the
CHEC takes a community-based approach to social as well as physical aspects of local environmental health. Our focus is on environmental health as it is experienced by people, in particular by people living in low-income communities. Thus, for example, in addition to conventional environmental hazards such as air and water pollution, we consider the health impacts of urban sprawl and "bad neighborhoods” as well as the physical and social environmental conditions that influence smoking and nutrition. By starting with a broad view of environmental health and helping communities to define and prioritize their own environmental health issues, we believe that we set the stage for the community engagement essential for the success of our efforts.