Andrea Chiger, was awarded a 2021 Award for Doctoral Research on Urban Issues by the Johns Hopkins 21st Century Cities Initiative to support her dissertation research.
Cardiovascular disease presents a huge public health and economic burden, particularly in urban low-income and minority communities. Chemical exposures and psychosocial stressors are known risk factors for cardiovascular disease. People living in urban environments – particularly in disadvantaged areas – are simultaneously exposed to numerous metals and neighborhood-level stressors, such as crime and blight. Emerging research suggests that these simultaneous exposures can interact to worsen health. For example, lead exposure is associated with higher increases in blood pressure in people with high stress than in those with low stress. Environmental decision-making, however, currently relies on outdated risk assessment methods that only consider exposures to one chemical at a time. This project will strengthen the body of evidence on exposures to multiple chemical and non-chemical stressors, helping to lay the foundation for more holistic methods to support decision-making.