Mount Sinai Names Environmental Health Laboratory to Honor the Late Senator Frank R. Lautenberg

NEW YORK, NY
 – June 24, 2015 /Press Release/  –– 

Leaders from the Mount Sinai Health System formally dedicated the Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Environmental Health Sciences Laboratory, named in recognition of the late Senator’s tireless efforts to address children’s environmental health concerns during almost 30 years in Congress. Located on the campus of The Mount Sinai Hospital, the Lautenberg Laboratory brings together a team of physicians and researchers to analyze threats to pediatric health from air pollution and household chemicals, as well as social stressors and nutrition.

“Senator Lautenberg was a long-time friend of Mount Sinai and a true champion of children and their families,” said David L. Reich, MD, President and Chief Operating Officer of The Mount Sinai Hospital. “His vision was the same as ours—to support legislation and conduct research to identify environmental causes of childhood disease. From our Children’s Environmental Health Center to this new Laboratory, we are not just examining the links between toxic exposures and childhood illness – we are also translating our research findings into solutions that protect children’s health, educate the public, and help change public policy.”

“To prevent and cure chronic illness in children—and advance the field of children’s environmental health—we must transcend existing approaches and employ new techniques that enable us to understand how, when, where, and to what degree environmental chemicals enter the body,” said Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc, the Ethel H. Wise Professor and Chair, Department of Preventive Medicine, Dean for Global Health and Professor of Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center (CEHC) at The Mount Sinai Hospital. “Since innovation translates into increased knowledge, results generated in the Laboratory will serve as the foundation for real strategies that promote healthier children for generations to come – just as Senator Lautenberg would have wanted.”

There are more than 80,000 chemicals registered for industrial use in the United States, found in household cleaning products, pesticides, artificial turf fields and other items. At the Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Environmental Health Sciences Laboratory, Mount Sinai researchers endeavor to better understand the health impact of these chemicals using the latest technologies. The work done at the Lautenberg Laboratory will include:

  • Developing groundbreaking analytical methods to assess chemical exposures and the timing of past chemical exposures
  • Expanding the scope of research to include areas such as air pollution, metals, organics, chemical mixtures, epigenetics, and the fetal origins of adult diseases
  • Bringing together scientists with different backgrounds and approaches to environmental health and complex diseases

“With the Lautenberg Laboratory, we are creating the kind of scientific milieu that will foster innovation, encourage the cross-pollination of ideas, and revolutionize how children’s environmental health research is conducted,” said Robert O. Wright, MD, MPH, Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai and Founding Director of the Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Environmental Health Sciences Laboratory; Dr. Wright will take over as Chair of Preventive Medicine from Dr. Landrigan on July 1. “We designed this place to study not just a handful of compounds, but to address the thousands of chemicals in our environment that have never been studied. This unique, novel approach to environmental science puts us at the cutting edge of a new era in research, bridging environmental health with ‘Big Data’ and increasing our understanding of how environment affects health and development.”

“My father’s deep concern for environmental and children’s health issues was reflected in his legislative priorities: he vigorously fought to protect children’s health while in the Senate, and in fact there’s a bill currently making its way through Congress called the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act,” said Ellen Lautenberg, daughter of the late Senator. “He would be proud to know that the Laboratory is up and running, helping to identify potential environmental hazards and thus protecting the health and safety of our children. We’re proud that Mount Sinai has helped make my father’s vision a reality and we look forward to all the good work being done here.”

To learn more about the Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Environmental Health Sciences Laboratory, visit http://labs.icahn.mssm.edu/lautenberglab.

About the Mount Sinai Health System
The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care.

The System includes approximately 6,100 primary and specialty care physicians; 12 minority-owned free-standing ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the renowned Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the highest in the nation in National Institutes of Health funding per investigator. The Mount Sinai Hospital is nationally ranked as one of the top 25 hospitals in 8 specialties in the 2014-2015 “Best Hospitals” issue of U.S. News & World Report. Mount Sinai’s Kravis Children’s Hospital also is ranked in seven out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked nationally, while Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s, and Mount Sinai Roosevelt are ranked regionally.

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