Dr. Arnie Vedlitz, executive associate dean of the Bush School and director of the Institute for Science, Technology and Public Policy, will serve as co-director of the Community Outreach Engagement Core (COEC) for the Center for Translational Environmental Health Research (CTEHR) recently announced by Texas A&M University.
The CTEHR was named by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as the newest National Center of Excellence in Environmental Health Science. It will serve as the cornerstone for integrated environmental health research, translation of research advances into practice, and community outreach and engagement aimed at improving human health. CTEHR will be funded by a $4 million grant from NIH to cover its activities for the next four years.
“The COEC’s efforts will be aimed at creating bridges among Center members, surrounding communities, and stakeholders in order to further scientific collaborations and will also be aimed at disseminating research results,” said Vedlitz.
He and his ISTPP research staff will initiate programs aimed at identifying the educational needs of policy makers and determining the best ways to provide this information. Among other outcomes, the results of these activities will feed into local, state, and regional workshops for policy makers in at-risk communities to inform them about environmental issues and exposures in order to develop strategies to address environmental health issues.
“It is a real pleasure for me to be able to work with the other leaders of the Community Outreach and Engagement Core, Robin Fuchs-Young and Tim Lightfoot,” said Vedlitz. “Our team has the very important role of moving scientific discoveries into the policy process and into the consciousness of citizens and health opinion leaders. Our successful implementation of this effort will serve as an important model for later NIH translational efforts,” he added.
Bush School Dean Ryan Crocker said the School is happy to be part of this new and important initiative. “We’re very pleased to be able to play a strong supporting role in this important Texas A&M University System and Texas A&M University health initiative. Combining scientific and technical health research with public policy and public outreach elements makes this NIH Center a very significant one indeed,” he added.
CTEHR is one of only twenty-one NIH centers focusing on environmental health science and is directed by Dr. Cheryl Walker of the Texas A&M System Health Science Center. Other partners in the CTHER include Texas AgriLife Research, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology (IBT), Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, A&M’s Dwight Look College of Engineering, and the Texas Medical Center (TMC) in Houston.