Children's Environmental Health Center

The Children’s Environmental Health Center (CEHC) is a Center of Excellence at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Founded in 2007, we conduct groundbreaking research to identify the environmental causes of childhood diseases.

We translate our findings, into solutions using research to educate families and advocate for public policy that protect children’s health.

Through our “transdisciplinary” model, we believe that no single field of science can explain the environmental origins of diseases. Our team has been able to integrate disciplines like molecular biology, chemistry, toxicology, biostatistics, and phenotyping to develop new methods to address how the environment shapes health and disease.

The Center is located within the Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health and is a collaboration of multidisciplinary experts under the leadership of Robert O Wright, MD, MPH.  Dr. Wright is a pediatrician, epigeneticist, and environmental epidemiologist. As the founder and Director of The Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Environmental Health Sciences Laboratory at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Dr. Wright ensures that our team works hand-in-hand to make sure communities receive the latest educational information from experts and our advocacy efforts are at the forefront of policy initiatives. 

Meet Our Team

CEHC experts have developed interdisciplinary teams to more comprehensively study the effects of environmental exposures on child health and development. Our research is then used to educate communities, parents, and caregivers on the environmental risks factors (chemicals, nutrition and social factors) so that children can reach their full potential physically, mentally, and socially.

Many positive public health interventions over the last 30 years have reduced pollution and in many ways, children in America have benefited from reductions in lead exposure and cleaner air and water. However, chronic diseases such as autism, asthma, obesity, and learning disabilities are much more common now than in the past. Genetics cannot explain these increases over such short time frames. Whatever the underlying causes are for these increased rates of disease, we know they must be environmental.

The development of more research is desperately needed if we are to prevent these childhood diseases and educate families on reducing risks. Our team is dedicated to researching how the environment plays a critical role in the rise of chronic childhood diseases like food allergies, diabetes, asthma, learning disabilities, autism, and obesity. We have developed many cutting edge methods to study the thousands of chemical and physical environmental conditions that shape child health and development and will continue to do so in the coming years. 

The Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Environmental Health Sciences Laboratory 

Directed by Robert Wright, MD, MPH, The Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Environmental Health Sciences Laboratory mission is to understand how environmental exposures in early life influence health, development, and risk of disease and dysfunction across the life span – in infancy, childhood, adolescence, and beyond. Through our clinical and community partnerships, we translate our research findings into evidence-based approaches for disease prevention and treatment.

The lab was designed to support transdisciplinary and translational research by combining exposure biology and molecular biology within a state-of-the-art facility. With nine different dedicated spaces, the lab enables researchers to carry out sophisticated analyses in an open design allowing collaboration and new ideas to spread.

Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Legacy (1924 – 2013)

Senator Frank R. Lautenberg’s achievements were at the intersection of public health and the environment. Authoring the “Toxic Right to Know” Act which enabled the public the ability to find out what toxic chemicals were being released into their neighborhood, Senator Lautenberg is a genuine public health hero and will always be remembered for his work protecting the rights of those who are most vulnerable. 

Physiological Assessment of Children’s Environmental Risk Laboratory

Directed by Rosalind Wright, MD, MPH, the Physiological Assessment of Children’s Environmental Risk (PACER) Laboratory has established and validated protocols that can be implemented to assess functioning of key regulatory systems susceptible to environmental influences from early development through childhood to adolescence. Dr. Rosalind Wright and her team provide expert consultation on environmental and physiological stress measures to promote a better understanding of social context as a modifier of chemical toxicants.

The laboratory also has the capacity to assess a range of pulmonary function tests, and offers ambulatory equipment, which allows for onsite and offsite deployment. Or team has established protocols for neurobehavioral and neurocognitive tests that can be administered in the field as well as in this laboratory. 

The Mount Sinai Transdisciplinary Center on Early Environmental Exposures

The Mount Sinai Transdisciplinary Center on Early Environmental Exposures mission is to understand how environmental exposures in early life influence health, development, and risk of disease and dysfunction across the life span – in infancy, childhood, adolescence and beyond.

We are studying the health impacts of chemical, genetic, nutritional, and social exposures and the interactions among them. Our approach is transdisciplinary and highly translational. We are combining clinical, population-based, and biological research with leading-edge genetics, epigenetics, and bioinformatics in the setting of a hospital-based, urban school of medicine. Through our clinical and community partnerships, we will translate our research findings into evidence-based approaches for disease prevention and treatment.

There are many ways to get involved!

Events
We host many educational events throughout the year. Check our calendar for any upcoming events.

Sign up for our E-Newsletter
Receive tips from our expertise, news on upcoming events, and more! Sign up for our e-enewsletter.

Give Online
Support the CEHC’s work by making a donation. Your donation helps us to continue our research and outreach efforts.

Request a Speaker
Interested in learning more about environmental risk factors and what you can do to reduce your exposure? Download our Request a Speaker form to have a CEHC expert give a lecture in your community.

We provide informational materials and showcase media spotlights to help educate the community about children’s environmental health.

View our Informational Materials and Media Spotlights