Bioinformatics – An interdisciplinary field that develops methods and software tools for understanding biological data, in particular when the data sets are large and complex. It combines biology, computer science, mathematics, and statistics to analyze and interpret the biological data.
Chemical Stressors – Compounds that can change or damage living organisms or the environment. Examples include air pollutants, heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and phthalates.
Child Health Outcomes – Measures of illness and wellbeing in infants, children, and adolescents. Examples include preterm birth, asthma, obesity, and learning disabilities.
Classifier − A system (or rule or algorithm) that arranges data into one or more related groups.
Contaminant − Any substance that enters a system (e.g., the environment, human body, food, etc.) where it is not normally found. Contaminants are usually referred to in a “negative” sense and include substances that spoil food, pollute the environment, or cause other adverse effects.
Discrimination − The unjust, prejudicial treatment of a group of people based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, income or age.
Disparity – A noticeably substantial difference or dissimilarity among persons based on race, ethnicity, sex, sexual identity, age, geographic location, or job.
Environmental Health Disparities − Differences in the burden of disease or health status among a population of people who are unfairly exposed to environmental hazards due to unequal sharing of social, political, and economic resources.
Environmental Justice − The idea that everyone deserves the same degree of protection from environmental health hazards and should have equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work – regardless of their race, ethnicity, color, national origin, or income.
Environmental Justice (EJ) Neighborhoods − A minority and/or low-income neighborhood that is also located near one or more pollution sources.
Environmental Riskscape – The combination of individual and neighborhood characteristics and exposures that may increase someone’s risk of illness or disease.
Epigenetics – Epigenetics means “on top of” genetics. It refers to external changes in gene activity that are not caused by alterations of the DNA sequence itself, but rather in changes that affect how genes work.
Exposure − Contact with a substance (such as a chemical) by swallowing (ingestion), breathing (inhalation) or direct contact through the skin or eyes (dermal absorption). Exposure may be either short term (acute) or long term (chronic).
Gestation − The time between the start of the pregnancy and birth.
Health Equity – The concept that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.
Health Disparity − A difference in the burden of disease or health status that unfairly impacts members of economically disadvantaged or racial/ethnic groups, due to unequal sharing of social, political, economic, and environmental resources.
Health Disparity Population – NIH defines health disparity populations as racial and ethnic minority populations, less privileged socioeconomic status (SES) populations, underserved rural populations, sexual and gender minorities (SGM), and any subpopulations that can be characterized by two or more of these descriptions.
Health Policy – Decisions, plans, and actions that are undertaken to achieve specific health care goals within a society.
Heavy Metals − Metallic elements with high atomic weights, e.g., cadmium, arsenic, and lead.
Inhalation − To breathe in. Inhalation is one route of environmental exposure; i.e., taking in chemicals by breathing contaminated air.
Maternal Health – Health of women during pregnancy, childbirth and after the birth of their infants (i.e., during the postnatal period).
Mentoring − The art of advising or training someone, especially a junior colleague.
Metals − A substance (such as gold, tin, copper, or bronze) that has a shiny appearance, is a good conductor of electricity and heat, and usually can be made into a wire or hammered into a thin sheet.
Microbiome − A community of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that inhabit a particular environment, and especially the collection of microorganisms living in or on the human body.
Mixed Methods Research − Research that involves collecting, analyzing, and interpreting quantitative (e.g., data from a survey) and qualitative (e.g., data from focus groups or interviews) data in a single study.
Multi-omics Technology – Multi-omics is an approach where data from different “‑omic” groups (such as the genome, proteome, transcriptome, epigenome, metabolome, and microbiome) are combined during analysis to gain novel biological insights that might not be observed in any one data set alone.
NICHD – The Eunice Kennedy National Institute of Child Health and Development; the NICHD is one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and investigates human development throughout the entire life process, with a focus on understanding disabilities and important events that occur during pregnancy.
NIEHS − The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; the NIEHS is one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and conducts research on the effects of the environment on human disease.
NIH – National Institutes of Health are the nation’s medical research agency supporting scientific studies that turn discovery into health.
NIMHD − The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities; the NIMHD is one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and conducts research to improve minority health and reduce health disparities.
Non-chemical Stressors – Factors found in the built, natural, and social environments that are not chemicals. Examples include noise, temperature, radiation, living in a high-crime neighborhood, and lack of access to quality health care.
Obstetric Outcomes – Health outcomes related to pregnancy.
Place-based Stressors – Physical, mental, and social conditions in an area where people live, worship, play, and work.
Pollution – Undesirable change in the environment, usually caused by the addition of substances to the environment that are hazardous or unsafe.
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) − A type of chemical that is found naturally in coal, crude oil, and gasoline that is released in the air through the burning of coal, oil, gas, wood, garbage, or tobacco (e.g., through smoking cigarettes).
Preeclampsia − A pregnancy complication involving high blood pressure and protein in the urine.
Preterm Birth − Delivering a baby before 37 completed weeks of gestation.
Race vs. Ethnicity – Race refers to a person’s physical characteristics, such as bone structure and skin, hair, or eye color. Ethnicity, however, refers to country of origin, including nationality, regional culture, ancestry, and language (heritage).
Reproductive Life Course – The time from when a woman begins menarche to menopause.
Social Determinants of Health – Conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect health, functioning, and quality-of-life.
Stressor − Something that causes strain or tension.
Superfund Sites – Polluted locations in the United States requiring a long-term response to clean up hazardous material contaminations.
Under-Represented Minority − A defined group that is poorly represented in a specific work category or profession (e.g., in the field of medicine, research, etc.).