Maternal and Infant
Environmental Health Riskscape
(MIEHR) Research Center

An NIH Center of Excellence on Environmental Health Disparities Research
Grant #P50MD015496

Our goal

The goal of the MIEHR Research Center is to understand what drives disparities in the health of pregnant women and their infants, with a focus on the impact of factors in the built, social, and physical environments.

Black mothers in the United States continue to experience higher rates of poor pregnancy outcomes compared with white mothers. This increased risk is not fully explained by medical reasons or genetics. That’s why we want to understand if there are other factors, such as things in the environment, that may be contributing to poor outcomes among Black mothers.

Who we are and what we do

Our Team

We are funded by the National Institutes of Health and bring together scientists and researchers from Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Southern University, and UTHealth Houston McGovern Medical School, as well as thought leaders from our communities.


Environmental stressors may play a role in understanding why Black mothers and their infants have worse pregnancy outcomes than their counterparts. The research we are doing is designed to help us better understand these factors.


We engage with communities that are unfairly impacted by environmental issues. Our community partners inform our research of important environmental health concerns and help us translate and share findings from Center activities and research.

Recent News

Symanski, Whitworth and Northrup Awarded Grant to Study Pediatric Health Outcomes

Drs. Kristina Whitworth and Elaine Symanski, MIEHR Center Director and Co-Director, along with co-PI Dr. Thomas Northrup at the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, were awarded more than $2.2 million over two years to recruit pregnant women and their children...

Partnering to Find Solutions for Better Environmental Health in Houston’s Disadvantaged Neighborhoods

NIEHS featured the work of Elaine Symanski and her team on addressing metal recycling pollution in Houston in a community-engaged project with academics, industry, residents, the Houston Health Department, and Air Alliance Houston in the Science Selection of...

MIEHR Institutions