Chemical and Psychological Stressors and Health

January 21, 2014
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

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A growing body of scientific literature on the influence of multiple, interacting factors on health makes it clear that chemical exposures do not happen in isolation. Recent studies indicate that the combination of toxins and social stressors can have synergistic effects that may contribute to diseases such as asthma, obesity and neurobehavioral disorders. Dr. Rosiland Wright, professor of pediatrics, pulmonary, critical care and preventive medicine at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, spearheads seminal research that explores the role of both social and environmental determinants of health with a primary interest in early life predictors of developmental diseases and disabilities. On this call Dr. Wright discussed some of her recent findings on the physiological pathways through which chemical and psychological stressors may influence health and how this research underscores the need for more effective upstream intervention strategies to promote public health.

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Dr. Rosiland Wright is a developmental epidemiologist with transdisciplinary training in environmental health and stress mechanisms. She has a primary interest in early life (prenatal and early childhood) predictors of developmental diseases including asthma, obesity, neurobehavioral development, and lung growth and development. A particular focus is on the implementation of studies considering the role of both social (e.g., psychosocial stress, other socioeconomic status risk factors) and physical (e.g., air pollution, chemicals, dietary factors, allergens) environmental factors in explaining health disparities among lower-SES urban populations. Dr. Wright is the principal investigator and director of the Asthma Coalition on Community, Environment, and Social Stress (ACCESS) project as well as the Programming of Intergenerational Stress Mechanisms (PRISM) study funded by the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute (NHLBI).

The call was moderated by Elise Miller, MEd, director of CHE.