Within the Brown School of Public Health, scholarly research is fostered and facilitated by 12 research centers and institutes, each of which focuses on a specific substantive or methodologic area of research. The Brown University Center for Environmental Health and Technology was founded in 2007 by Dr. Karl Kelsey to cultivate and grow a robust environmental health research portfolio. Other faculty members closely affiliated with the Center include Drs. Gregory Wellenius, Joseph Braun, Tongzhang Zheng, and David Savitz. The Center provides a rich academic and intellectual environment for approximately 24 faculty, trainees, staff, and affiliated members invested in the shared mission of promoting human health and wellbeing globally through research, teaching, and practice to improve the physical, chemical, social and built environment in which we live and work.
CEHT currently hosts, supports, and brings together a number of post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, undergraduate concentrators, visiting scholars and staff. In additional CEHT facilitates collaboration and interactions by several affiliates from across campus and across Rhode Island. The broader CEHT community includes, for example, Dr. David Savitz (professor of Epidemiology), Dr. Kurt Pennell (faculty member in Engineering, interested in environmental exposures and metabolomics), Ellen Tohn (expert in housing-based environmental health threats, healthy housing, and indoor air quality), Dr. Laura Bozzi (Climate Change Program Manager at Rhode Island Department of Health), Dr. Peter Simon (former Medical Director of Rhode Island Department of Health and local environmental health advocate), and Curt Spalding (immediate past Regional Administrator of EPA Region 1 New England and former Executive Director of Rhode Island’s Save The Bay). A biweekly seminar series brings CEHT members together to hear from external and internal experts, students, and fellows, as well as for social and community-building events. CEHT currently oversees $2.3 million annually in sponsored research and has an annual operating budget of $185,000. Dr. Wellenius was appointed Director of CEHT in February 2018.
Although SPH research centers were created specifically to foster and facilitate research, CEHT fills a broader niche as the hub for environmental health research, training and practice at Brown University and across the region by promoting formal and informal interactions among academics, students, fellows, staff, practitioners, government agencies, and community members. Our members and affiliates work to better understand the complex connections between human health and the environment (research), support trainees as they develop, learn or apply innovative approaches to the most important environmental health problems (training), and engage with all levels of government, as well as affected communities and individuals to improve human health and wellbeing through environmental action (translation and practice).