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Residents of the greater Maryland region (extending north from Washington, DC through Baltimore, MD and including central Pennsylvania) face a complex range of environmental health concerns related to environmental pollutants from a wide variety of sources. The mission of the NIEHS P30 Core Center, Community Health Addressing Regional Maryland Environmental Determinants of Disease (CHARMED) is to build capacity in community-engaged research aimed at understanding the mechanistic links between environmental exposures and adverse health outcomes and translate these findings into action to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable individuals in communities across the greater Maryland region. 

The Center builds partnerships between communities of the greater Baltimore region (from Washington, DC through Baltimore, MD and including some regions of Pennsylvania) to address their environmental concerns. CHARMED provides training, support and access to environmental health experts and state-of-the-art technologies to facilitate the creation of lasting community-investigator partnerships aimed at tackling the pressing environmental concerns of our communities. 

Although the CHARMED Center is based in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, which spans the Bloomberg School and the Whiting School of Engineering, it is a university-wide hub for community-focused environmental research at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland. CHARMED includes members from Schools/Departments campus-wide and from the University of Maryland: Public Health, Biostatistics, Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Sociology, Earth and Planetary Sciences, and Materials Sciences and Engineering. 

The Center will focus on 4 major thematic areas including:

  1. Cardiorespiratory Health and Airborne Contaminants,

  2. Chemical Mixtures and Emerging Contaminants, and Health,

  3. Community, Social, and Environmental Determinants of Health,

  4. Neurological Health.  

The Center also houses several Facility Cores that will provide the scientific expertise and support required for conducting community-engaged environmental health research. The Cores include:  


  • The Community Engagement Core (CEC) co-led by Chris Heaney, PhD, Associate Professor in EHE and Sacoby Wilson, PhD, Professor at the University of Maryland, will serve as a bridge between greater Baltimore Communities and JHU/UMD investigators (CEC) and provide training in the conduct of Community-engaged research. These efforts build collaborations between JHU faculty members and community leaders and/or community-based organizations, conduct preliminary investigation into an community environmental concerns, and builds capacity within a community-based organization to conduct future research on community environmental health issues. 

  • The Integrated Health Sciences Facilities Core (IHSFC) is led by Nirupama Putcha, MD, MHS, Associate Professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in the Johns Hopkins School of  Medicine. Faculty across the University will be able to obtain support and training to engage in Community Engaged Research (study design, biostatistical support, translation) through the IHSFC. 

  • The Exposure Characterization And Modeling Facility Core ( (ECMC) is led by Kirsten Koehler, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Health. The ECMC will provide faculty across JHU resources for assessment of community exposures including in air, water, and soil. 

  • Pilot grant program: Dr. Thomas Hartung, MD, PhD, Professor of Environmental Health and Engineering leads the Pilot Project Program. Annually pilot project awards will be available to the University community to facilitate and support community-engaged projects that address community environmental concerns. Importantly, through a rapid response process (48 hour turn-around), funds can be rapidly deployed to address more emergent needs of the community-investigator teams. 

We encourage investigators that have an interest in community-engaged research focused on improving the environmental health of our communities, to join our Center activities (Monthly Community meetings, monthly Thematic Working Group meetings, and an Annual Retreat).  

Maryland Region Environmental Challenges and the Vision of CHARMED .png
Figure: Maryland Region Environmental Challenges and the Vision of CHARMED
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