UCSF PEHSU: What We Do

Services

Telephone Consultation

Health care professionals, parents, public health agencies, educators and community members can call our specialists to discuss pediatric and reproductive environmental health and exposure issues

Referrals and Clinical Consultation

Pediatric and obstetric providers can arrange for their patients to be evaluated by a multidisciplinary team staffed by experts in environmental medicine, pediatrics and clinical toxicology. The clinics are open to children from infancy to adolescence, and to pregnant women, for evaluation of exposures to toxicants or illness that may be related to environmental exposures. To initiate a referral or a consultation, call the WSPEHSU at (415) 206-4083, or email us at pehsu@ucsf.edu.

Educational Material and Training

Our specialty-trained staff provides educational programs to health care providers and community groups. Training will be provided to resident and practicing physicians in the principles of children’s environmental health. Educational materials and resources will be accessible via web site or by mail. These materials will include information regarding indoor/outdoor air quality, respiratory illness and asthma, neurodevelopmental disorders, heavy metal and chemical hazards, and adolescent occupational hazards.

Research

The PEHSU does not conduct research, though our clinicians and scientists often do conduct research in their work in areas such as childhood asthma and air quality, heavy metal and chemical exposures, reproductive environmental health, and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Projects

Story of Health

Case-based learning has long been used in medical education. Our eBook, Story of Health, grounds the science of health in stories of fictional people, their families, and communities to enable readers to explore the risk factors for disease as well as how to prevent disease and promote health and resilience. Using the setting of a family reunion as a backdrop, we explore how multiple environments influence our health across the lifespan. Narrative approaches and storytelling are powerful health promotion tools that can increase understanding of determinants of health, translate complex science, inform policy, and initiate advocacy for change.   This multimedia eBook and continuing education (CE) course were designed to improve environmental health literacy for health professionals, policy makers, health educators and advocates and the general public. The first four chapters of A Story of Health address environmental influences on asthma, developmental disabilities, childhood leukemia and infertility/reproductive health. The fifth chapter on cognitive decline and neurodegeneration is underway and due out in late 2018.

Childhood Leukemia and the Environment

WSPEHSU has been working with the Center for Integrative Research on Childhood Leukemia and the Environment (CIRCLE) at the University of California, Berkeley, to educate clinicians and the public about environmental causes of childhood leukemia. CIRCLE’s scientists collaborate in new ways and use the latest methods to search for the causes of leukemia in children. Leukemia is the cancer that is most commonly diagnosed in children, so it is very important to find its causes and do whatever we can to eliminate them. WSPEHSU is partnering to help to bring this new evolving knowledge to doctors, nurses, and others in the health care community. Information about the CIRCLE program can be found here.

A recent publication from CIRCLE researchers shows Latino children are more likely to develop leukemia than non-Latino white children.  The incidence of childhood leukemia is increasing, and it is increasing at a faster rate among Latino children than among non-Latino, white children. Read about these findings here.  To address this, WSPEHSU, in collaboration with CIRCLE, has developed a project, Improving Environmental Health Literacy of Young Adults, which is intended to create awareness of the role of pre-conception and prenatal environmental influences on the development of childhood leukemia and other diseases. We have developed a 10-minute shadow puppet play/video, Love in the Time of Toxicants, and a graphic novel, Rosa and Carlos Get Married, that address environmental health risks before conception and during pregnancy in an engaging, narrative format. We use these materials, available in both English and Spanish, in our train the trainer workshops with promotores de salud (community health workers) who take this information back to their communities.

Promoting Environmental Health in Early Care and Education (ECE)

Vickie Leonard, WS PEHSU Program Coordinator, has been working with child care programs to improve policies, practices and product selection that impact environmental health in ECE. Visit the project page to learn more.

PCBs in Schools

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) are chemicals that were manufactured in the United States from 1929 until they were banned in 1979 because of their health effects.  These chemicals were widely used in construction and many schools still contain PCBs. Our poster and fact sheet explain the risks and what to do about them. Learn more about PCBs in School and see the materials.

Articles

The WSPEHSU clinicans and staff inform scientific and clinical communities about children’s environmental health through researching and writing articles for publication on timely topics. This page contains links to recent and past publications authored by WSPEHSU staff and other collaborators related to specific chemical exposures, their clinical implications, and patient communication. Please visit our Articles page.