Healthy Environment, Strong Bodies Committee

Academic Co-Lead: Catherine Haggerty, PhD, MPH, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, School of Public Health; Professor, Epidemiology Vice Chair for Practice, Epidemiology; Director, Applied Public Health Area of Emphasis, Epidemiology

Academic Co-Lead: Barbara Fuhrman, PhD, Research Scientist, Center for Adolescent and Young Adult Health Research, University of Pittsburgh / UPMC

Community Co-Lead: Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, Executive Director, Women for a Healthy Environment

The places where children live; the quality of their housing, green spaces, food, and water;  and the communities and institutions that shape their experiences and opportunities; all strongly influence their ability to thrive.  

The Healthy Environment, Strong Bodies is one of The Pittsburgh Study’s cross-cutting scientific committees that serves to identify and define the healthy environments needed for children and teens to learn, explore, play and grow so they can be healthy, happy and hopeful. 

The committee’s mission is to identify environmental factors that influence maternal and child health.  We work collaboratively to develop educational events, data resources and research studies that will help to identify opportunities, practices, and policies that will support thriving and equity in the Pittsburgh region. To date our efforts have focused on learning about local air quality, water quality, and infectious disease.  We are currently carrying out surveys of parents and caregivers about their children’s health and their environmental concerns.  We have also developed survey instruments for use in longitudinal studies.  

Our Goals

  • Survey community members about concerns related to their children’s health and their environments.
  • Identify existing data sources related to the four categories of exposures. 
  • Develop more extensive and concise questionnaires that collect data on environmental exposures.
  • Evaluate for existing TPS populations the feasibility and acceptability of biological sample collections.
  • Determine a means for efficient measurement of multiple exposures. 
  • Develop priority research questions and submit external grant proposals for our focus areas to develop Community-partnered observational and intervention studies.
  • Develop, test, and implement interventions to improve maternal and child health, address health inequities, and support thriving of all children in our communities.