CHOP and Penn Medicine to lead Philadelphia Regional Center for Children’s Environmental Health

The new center, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, aims to identify and protect children in vulnerable communities from environmental exposures.

Children in the Greater Philadelphia area face a number of environmental threats to their health, including lead poisoning, asthma from air pollution, and exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals. Now, with funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Penn Medicine have come together to address these hazards and protect children who live in the region’s most vulnerable communities.

Three children playing outside in the sunshine.

The Philadelphia Regional Center for Children’s Environmental Health (PRCCEH) is a new children’s center that will provide the infrastructure to integrate expertise from the two institutions, along with colleagues from Drexel University, Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University, Lehigh University, Franklin & Marshall College, Villanova University, and University of Delaware. This is the first time that the region has been awarded funding for a Center for Children’s Environmental Health.

“The center is an outgrowth of research from Penn’s Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET), its long-term collaborators, and its community partners,” says CEET director Trevor Penning. “It has long been a vision to bring such a center to the region.”

The mission of the center is threefold: to disseminate children's environmental health knowledge to health care providers, community members, and policy makers; to develop, test and implement new programs; and to engage researchers and community partners to make policy, practice, and behavioral changes to reduce environmental exposures in early life. It will be led by directors Rebecca Simmons, a professor of pediatrics in the Perelman School of Medicine and a neonatologist at CHOP, and Aimin Chen, a professor of epidemiology at Penn, along with deputy director Marilyn Howarth, director of the Community Engagement Core in CEET.

Read more at Penn Medicine News.