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About us

We’re environmental health scientists helping communities thrive

The UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center (EHSC) is one of more than 20 National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Core Centers in the United States.

Our member scientists work across disciplines through a community-engaged research model, helping people and the planet stay healthy while building the next generation of environmental health scientists.

At UC Davis, our member scientists include experts from these schools:

  • Medicine
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Agriculture and Environmental Sciences
  • Biological Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Letters and Science
molecule or atom illustration

We pinpoint problems, then collaborate and innovate to solve them

Exposure to environmental chemicals found in drinking water, air, food and common household products may contribute to a host of health issues like autism, obesity and asthma. Our scientists study how biologic mechanisms intersect with these environmental health problems, and the social or economic factors that influence the development of disease.

Collaboration helps researchers tackle the complexity of these environmental health issues. EHSC provides opportunities for researchers with a wide range of backgrounds to work together on grant proposals and share cutting edge technical expertise and laboratories. Innovation, funding opportunities and better results are some of the benefits of working together.

Our Center’s ultimate goal is to improve public health, so understanding the communities where environmental hazards exist is central to our work. Our Community Engagement Core helps develop relationships with local groups and government agencies to ensure our research addresses the needs of community members and gathers ideas from them to deploy in the research process.

EHSC’s regional focus is the San Joaquin Valley. The Valley is one of the most economically productive agricultural hubs in the nation and home to some 4 million people. Many of its residents are more likely to be exposed to environmental hazards like pesticides and have limited access to health care.

More recently, EHSC’s research has expanded to urban and suburban areas in California affected by air pollution and climate change.

COVID-19 testing Central Valley
EHSC's ÓRALE Project is provided thousands of free COVID-19 tests and vaccines to agricultural workers. The project was a collaboration with 10 Central Valley groups to help reduce health disparities in rural communities during the pandemic.

We have big, bold ideas that work to improve health at the local level

Our Center’s Community Stakeholder Advisory Committee provides community members with the space to come together, discuss and give feedback on research projects. From pesticide drift to air pollution from wildfires, the committee informs the work our scientists do by providing them with community-based perspectives on local environmental health concerns.

Community input is important because we practice translational research, which uses science and public involvement as the foundation for health policy. AB-617 is one example of the translational work we’ve supported through our community partnerships. AB-617 aims to solve one of California’s biggest environmental health problems: air pollution affecting poor communities of color.

Community of people

Who we are

Our staff are professionals experienced in public health, biology, global disease, digital media, health justice, community organizing, rural development and more. They help administer and oversee our research, public engagement and communications projects, supporting dozens of research grants funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.

Our staff also provide leadership for campus-wide initiatives, like UC Davis’s strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Our Center’s Anti-racism Praxis is one such effort, which seeks to create a high school-to-grad school pipeline at UC Davis for local Black and Indigenous students working toward a career in environmental health sciences.