School of Public Health Professor Chosen for Harvard's JPB Environmental Health Fellowship

Allison Appleton, ScD, assistant professor of Epidemiology at University at Albany, School of Public Health, has been selected as a JPB Environmental Health (EH) Fellow by the Harvard School of Public Health. The fellowship program, which formally began on October 1, 2014 and will extend through December 2017, brings together a cohort of junior faculty from U.S. institutions with research interests related to social and physical determinants of environmental health on disadvantaged communities.

The fellowship aims to promote multidisciplinary collaborative research among the JPB EH Fellows, support and advance their academic career within their home institutions, as well as create a group of trained research leaders who are committed to using research to find solutions to complex environmental health problems among underserved populations.

As a fellow, Dr. Appleton will attend workshops, participate in video conferences and interact with other fellows, program directors and mentors. The fellowship includes a stipend of up to a maximum of $350,000 in funding over the three years to cover travel expenses, collaborative research studies among fellows, conference calls, and salary support.

As toxicant and social stress exposures tend to co-occur among disadvantaged groups and can influence child health, Dr. Appleton is interested in examining the joint contribution of these factors in explaining disparities in infant outcomes. She also will examine the epigenetic mechanisms that may help explain how these exposures become biologically embedded to affect infant health. She will use the fellowship resources to develop expertise in metal exposure assessment and community engagement as well as to launch a pilot study of mothers and infants in Albany. She will work with the UAlbany Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities and Dr. Larry Schell on this project and throughout this fellowship.

Dr. Appleton earned her doctorate degree in social epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. Prior to joining the faculty of School of Public Health, she completed a post-doctoral research fellowship in molecular epidemiology at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, as well as a post-doctoral research fellowship in cardiovascular epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Appleton said, "This project, as well as others to be developed collaboratively with JPB EH Fellows, represents the direction I am taking my research program as I believe that considering social and environmental determinants of health in isolation from one another may be limiting our ability to effectively intervene and ameliorate health disparities." She is honored to be awarded this fellowship.

To learn more about Dr. Appleton's work, go to http://www.albany.edu/sph/46206.php