The main objective of my interdisciplinary research program is to help diminish the health burden of vulnerable populations that are caused by greater exposure to traffic-related air pollutants and socioeconomically induced susceptibilities by informing better policies and interventions. Specifically, I intend to develop a research program that:
(1) elucidates biological mechanisms through which social factors, such as stress, increase susceptibility to air pollutants;
(2) determines how air pollution and stress interact during developmental stages to increase susceptibility to cardiovascular disease; and
(3) identifies mechanisms that can be targeted early in life to promote healthy development in low-income populations.
As part of the implementation of this research program, I actively look to engage scientists from across and beyond the university that support the growth and expand the reach of our research program. I have also leveraged an extant network of community partners to create a community advisory board to inform the identification of relevant research needs and to strengthen the dissemination and outreach capacity of the program, and actively engage and train minority scientists in the areas of environmental health. Ultimately, I intend to use my research program to expand UTEP’s capacities in biomedical and health disparities research, and, by building on regional conditions, needs, and strengths (e.g., predominant low socioeconomic status minority community, intense heavy-duty commercial traffic generated by the local ports of entry, strong community engagement, untapped human capital), procure funding for a Center of Excellence on Environmental Health Disparities Research