Environmental Inequities and Injustice
Communities are often disproportionately impacted by environmental and occupational hazards based on income, race, national origin, and other factors. Public health researchers have a vital role to play in understanding exposures and rates of negative health outcomes in different populations. Our research aims to increase understanding of these inequities and potential solutions among community members, policymakers, and other stakeholders.
Urban planning has focused on built environment issues in cities such as urban sprawl, availability of green space, and infrastructure for physical activity. However, in small southern towns, there are built environment issues which currently either are understudied or completely neglected by researchers. This article describes the built environment issues that burden unserved and underserved communities of color in North Carolina.
Our researchers use a case study of Mebane, NC to describe how neighborhoods of color in this small town have been impacted by environmental injustice through the denial of basic amenities, particularly sewer and water services, and overburdened by unhealthy land uses through inequities in the use of extraterritorial jurisdiction and annexation statutes. These planning inequities create public health risks for residents and nearby populations.
Jessie Buckley, PhD
Dr. Buckley's research is grounded in the developmental origins of health and disease framework and focuses on determining effects of early life exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals. She is actively engaged in evaluating the environmental obesogen hypothesis, which posits that chemical exposures during critical developmental windows can result in permanent changes that predispose individuals toward obesity.
Jillian Fry, PhD
Fry is interested in research that contributes to understanding the impacts of food animal production on environmental public health, especially in terms of disparities and environmental justice; resource use; effectiveness of regulation and policy processes relevant to food animal production at the local, state, and federal levels.
Chris Heaney, PhD
Heaney's focus are community-driven research, environmental justice, water quality, and environmental epidemiology.
Genee Smith, PhD
Dr. Smith explores disease patterns with the aim to expand upon the knowledge of understudied relationships between climate change and infectious respiratory diseases, including conditions such as Tuberculosis and Influenza. Her research examines how climate change has the ability to modify exposure to disease, alter host susceptibility to disease, and impact disease morbidity.