DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant Environmental exposures are major causes of death and morbidity globally, and both outdoor and household air pollution are increasingly recognized as major contributors to years of life lost and disability-adjusted life years (DALY). Rapid urbanization In India has resulted in some of the world's worst air pollution, which contributes to
the deaths of more than 620,000 Indians annually. Despite the known health effects of indoor and outdoor pollution, data are lacking on the dose-response relationship between exposures and specific causes of death and intermediate variables such as cardiometabolic factors in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) such as India. Generation of data on the unique characteristics of environmental exposures in LMICs is urgently needed in order to mitigate the health effects. Not only is there a need to understand more about exposures in LMICs, but there is also a need to improve training of environmental health professionals who can translate this information into interventions to decrease exposure and improve health. The number of public health professionals in India is 1-2 orders of magnitude less than the estimated need, and the situation is particularly dire in the areas of environmental and occupational health. A sustained effort to increase the number of public health professionals with both deep training in environmental and occupational research methods and broad training in these areas as part of MPH or diploma degrees is urgently needed in India. In this proposed project, entitled "Air Pollution and Health GeoHealth Hub Research and Capacity Building-US," we have assembled a multidisciplinary group of researchers, mentors and program faculty from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) to generate data needed to address the unique characteristics of exposures in India and to build the capacity of public health professionals in India to conduct high quality research and knowledge that can be translated into policy improvements. The training program will include a robust platform of short, medium, and long-range training components, including: Master's level training at HSPH, an intensive summer training and mentored research program, curriculum that will support the institution of an environmental health concentration in PHFI's existing Master's level training, and support for PHFI faculty involved in the U01 to complete mentored research activities at HSPH. The project will be led by Dr.Cash and Dr.Schwartz from HSPH and by Dr. Prabhakaran and Dr. Reddy from PHFI, who will be assisted by the: 1) Administrative Oversight Committee; 2) Training Oversight Committee; 3) Program coordination personnel at HSPH and PHFI; and 4) Supervisory teams to provide oversight for individual trainees. Evidence from the research conducted under the linked U01 will directly inform Indian government agencies and policy makers on how to reduce air pollution levels in order to reduce the consequent burden of disease. The proposed training of PHFI scientists will give build capacity to apply for future funding and fully understand and address this environmental threat.
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