January 2022 Notes from the Director

We hope that you are coping well with the constant upheaval due to the ever changing COVID situation. The data are starting to look like the U.S. is rounding the corner on that Omicron variant surge. It is not quite clear yet whether Louisville has peaked but the sewage monitoring data suggest the peak in cases is near. CIEHS continues to adapt to the situation by switching to virtual meetings when advisable. We hope to be able to return to in-person meetings soon. Our next invited speaker is Dr. Michael (Miki) Ashner who will be presenting the seminar and visiting with CIEHS members March 3. His visit, be it in-person or virtual, will be hosted by the Neurodevelopmental Toxicology RIG. We are looking forward to his visit and the collaborations that may evolve.

The CIEHS research voucher and pilot project programs have been successful in recruiting investigators to environmental health science. Several new members have joined CIEHS during this fiscal year. We welcome them and look forward to their contributions to the research productivity of the membership.
CIEHS held the second review by its External Advisory Committee on January 12, 2022. The meeting was held on Zoom due to the Omicron surge and high positivity rate in Louisville. The Committee indicated that overall CIEHS is progressing well. They gave us good feedback on our programs with some suggestions for improvement. These improvements will be announced over the next few months as we implement changes in our voucher and pilot project programs. Stay tuned!

The second Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR) is being filed as this is being written. Thank you to all who contributed to the report itself, and to all who help make CIEHS a vibrant center with high impact on environmental health in Louisville and its regional community. Special thanks to Colleen Quinter for her skill in coordinating and keeping track of all the various components. An issue that arose in preparing the report was that only about a third of the publications with CIEHS members as authors have cited the P30 grant. This lack of citation will pose a problem when it comes time to prepare the competitive renewal. It is important that members recognize the contribution of the intellectual environment supported by CIEHS by citing P30ES030283 in their publications. We are looking forward to our third year of funding and supporting the outstanding environmental health science research and community outreach of the CIEHS membership.

The spring meetings are fast approaching. Many of our members and their laboratories participate in the Society of Toxicology. SOT plans for people to attend in person but they must show evidence of full vaccination for admission. Students and post-docs presenting their environmental health science research at national meetings are eligible for a CIEHS travel award. Information and application form is available here. The CIEHS travel award fund was founded to fund these awards. Please consider contributing here.

CIEHS held two anti-racism workshops in addition to the workshop at the annual retreat. The third workshop is scheduled for February 23. There are still openings for those interested. Watch for a reminder email with registration information.

As you are aware, western Kentucky was struck by devastating tornadoes in December. CIEHS is developing a plan to provide our scientific expertise in responding to environmental disasters. The effort is being led by Dr. Luz HuntingtonMoskos, our Community Engagement Core Director, and Dr. John Wise, Sr., our Deputy Director. They welcome all interested in contributing to this effort to contact them. Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar is arranging for interested CIEHS members to meet with local American Red Cross representatives to formulate a plan.