Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit

The Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) is a Center of Excellence at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Founded in 1999, we have received core support from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Our mission in the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit is to provide clinical consultation and education to families, health care professionals, public health officials, and community organizations who have concerns regarding children's environmental health.

The Region 2 PEHSU serving New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Ilsands is a member of a national and international network of PEHSUs. PEHSUs are located across the United States as well as in Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Europe. PEHSU East (Regions 1-5) is managed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and PEHSU West (Regions 2-6) is managed by the American College of Medical Toxicology.

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We sponsor educational fellowships, research, seminars, and career development at the Mount Sinai Health System and throughout Federal Region II, which includes New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Center serves as the clinical practice for the Mount Sinai Pediatric Environmental Health Fellowship, and the Pediatric Environmental Health Electives Program.

We explore a number of health concerns in the pediatric community.

  • Asthma, which has more than doubled in frequency since 1980
  • Birth defects, which are the leading cause of infant death. (Certain birth defects, such as hypospadias, have increased sharply in recent years)
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders, such as dyslexia, mental retardation, attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder and autism, which affect 5 to 10 percent of the 4 million babies born each year in the United States
  • Leukemia and brain cancer in children and testicular cancer in adolescents, all of which have increased in incidence since the 1970s despite declining mortality
  • Obesity and type 2 diabetes, which have become epidemic in U.S. children.

We educate and train students, physicians-in-training, environmental pediatricians, pediatric health care providers, parents, community members, governmental agencies, the media, and legislators about children’s environmental health exposures.

To expand clinical services and educational programs in children's environmental health beyond the New York City area, the Region 2 PEHSU has worked with the New York State Assembly, the New York State Senate and the New York State Department of Health to build a statewide network of Centers of Excellence in Children's Environmental Health.

This network currently consists of six Centers of Excellence. The Center at Icahn School of Medicine in Manhattan is co-located with the Region 2 PEHSU. The other Centers in the network each serves a region of New York State and are located at:

Our Pediatric Environmental Health Clinic provides outpatient clinical evaluations and coordinated services for children with known or suspected exposures to environmental toxins. We provide evidence-based management and guidance on asthma triggers (mold, pets, or dust, for instance), heavy metal contamination (such as lead and mercury), environmental chemicals (such as those found in pesticides or cleaning agents), and other problematic exposures.

Healthy Homes Program

Our interdisciplinary home visiting program provides in-home evaluations for known or suspected environmental exposures, with a priority to serve families with high-risk medical issues that may be related to the environment.

In both the above programs, following our own clinical evaluations, guidance, and practical advice on reducing exposures, we connect families to resources for appropriate environmental assessments or home remediation, along with consultations to treating primary care providers.

Our team consists of board certified pediatricians with specialized training in environmental health, occupational and environmental medicine physicians, industrial hygienists, social workers, and other key professionals.

Access environmental information for patients

We have been actively engaged in a number of important projects, including some that have received notable grants to make them possible.


  • New York Statewide Center of Excellence
  • Environmental Protection Agency Making a Visible Difference in Communities Initiative
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Soil Shop
  • U.S Virgin Islands & Puerto Rico Children’s Environmental Health Initiatives


This website was supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and funded (in part) by the cooperative agreement FAIN: 1 U61TS000237-02 from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

Acknowledgement: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supports the PEHSU by providing partial funding to ATSDR under Inter-Agency Agreement number DW-75-95877701. Neither EPA nor ATSDR endorse the purchase of any commercial products or services mentioned in PEHSU publications.

Maida Galvez, MD, MPH
PEHSU Director, Associate Professor, Departments of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, and Pediatrics

Perry Sheffield, MD, MPH
PEHSU Deputy Director, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, and Pediatrics

Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc
Senior PEHSU Faculty, Project Chief, Ethel H. Wise Professor and Dean, Global Health

Robert Wright, MD, MPH
Toxicologist, Ethel H. Wise Professor and Chair, Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health

Joel Forman, MD
Pediatrician, Associate Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Environmental Medicine and Public Health

John Meyer, MD, MPH
Reproductive Environmental Health, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health

Katherine Chen, MD, MPH
Professor Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science

Lauren Zajac, MD, MPH
PEHSU Pediatrician, Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health

Bambi Fisher, LCSW
Pediatric Social Worker

Sarah Evans, PhD
Outreach and Education

Norman Zuckerman, MS
Industrial Hygienist