The overarching goal of the NC State University Center for Human Health and the Environment (CHHE) is to understand and prevent the adverse impacts of environmental factors on human health, particularly for those people living in rural and agricultural communities. Our vision is that CHHE will serve as the epicenter of environmental health science research at NC State University by providing focus and leadership for interdisciplinary research aimed at understanding how human health, at both the individual and population level, is impacted by environmental factors and to utilize this understanding to prevent or reduce the adverse impacts of environment factors on human health.
The etiology of most chronic human diseases involves complex interactions between environmental factors and an individual’s genetic makeup. We broadly define the term environment to include all aspects of an individual’s lifestyle such as: diet – including nutritive/non-nutritive dietary constituents and caloric intake; environmental (air, water, food) and occupational exposure to toxicants; exposure to terrestrial/solar radiation, tobacco and alcohol use; and cultural and sexual behaviors. Many human diseases including cancer, endocrine diseases (diabetes), pulmonary diseases (asthma, fibrosis), cardiovascular diseases (atherosclerosis) and immune diseases (Crohn’s) result from complex interactions between environmental and genetic factors. However, these interactions are poorly understood and there is a need to understand how these interactions contribute to the risk of disease development.
Specific objectives of the Center for Human Health and Environment are to:
- Stimulate, enhance and expand interdisciplinary environmental health science research to better understand the impact of environmental exposures on human disease and to ultimately prevent adverse environmental health outcomes.
- Serve as a gateway for CHHE members to conduct translational research at both the individual and population level.
- Provide unbiased, research-based information on environmental health issues to rural and agricultural communities of North Carolina.
- Provide access to, training in and improved cost effectiveness for critical and/or state of the art instrumentation/technology to advance the quality and impact of environmental health research.
- Foster and seek external support for collaborative multi-disciplinary research and promote career development with emphasis on junior investigators.
- Engage members in emerging opportunities in environmental health science.
CHHE brings together 41 investigators from 11 departments and 5 colleges as well as individuals from the NC Department of Health and Human Services, NC Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute, East Carolina University and NIEHS to form an innovative interdisciplinary team to conduct mechanistic research to advance our understanding of environmentally related diseases and adverse health outcomes in rural populations and to translate and disseminate information to the public to prevent or reduce adverse health outcomes.