Brooks Gump Awarded NIH Grant to Study Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Children

Brooks B. Gump, Ph.D., MPH, professor, Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition in the Falk College, was awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The research project, “Environmental Toxicants, Race and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Children,” will investigate the relationship between race, socioeconomic status, blood lead levels, cardiovascular responses to acute stress and cardiovascular disease risk. To better pinpoint the early antecedents of racial disparities, the study will focus on a sample of 300 African American and European American children ages 9 to 11 in the city of Syracuse, NY area over four years.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death in the United States, disabling 10 million Americans each year. While African Americans are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease, the reason for this racial health disparity is not well understood. Taken together, the racial disparity in lead exposure and additional evidence for effects of lead on cardiovascular functioning suggest a possible mechanism for differences in disease prevalence.

Gump has recently led research on the effects of socioeconomic disadvantage, race, and environmental toxicants (e.g., lead and mercury) on child and adolescent health. Co-investigators and consultants collaborating with Gump on the newly funded NIH study on cardiovascular disease risk in children include: Luvenia Cowart, Ed.D., Craig Ewart, Ph.D, and Kevin Heffernan, Ph.D, all from Syracuse University; Kestas Bendinskas, Ph.D., and James MacKenzie, Ph.D, from SUNY Oswego; Elizabeth Brondolo, Ph.D, St. John’s University; Edith Chen, Ph.D, University of British Columbia; Donald Cibula, Ph.D., SUNY Upstate Medical University; Robert Morgan, M.D., Oswego Family Physicians and SUNY Upstate Medical University; Patrick Parsons, Ph.D., the University of Albany; and Nader Atallah-Yunes, M.D., SUNY Upstate Medical University and Pediatric Cardiology Associates. “Working with this team of talented researchers, we will provide critical findings in an area that is novel to the field of cardiovascular behavioral medicine,” notes Gump.

Gump joined the faculty at Syracuse University in 2010. He currently serves on the editorial board of the journals,Psychosomatic Medicine and Health Psychology, and serves as an ad hoc reviewer for numerous other journals, including theAmerican Journal of Epidemiology, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Journal of Women’s Health and Gender-Based Medicine and Social Science and Medicine. He is currently serving a four-year term on the National Institute of Child Health and Development’s (NICHD’s) Health, Behavior, and Context review subcommittee.