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About EPA

About the Public Health and Environmental Systems Division (PHESD)

The Center for Public Health and Environmental Assessment (CPHEA) provides the science needed to understand the complex interrelationship between people and nature in support of assessments and policy to protect human health and ecological integrity. Within CPHEA, sits the Public Health and Environmental Systems Division.

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What We Do

What We Do

EPA's Public Health and Environmental Systems Division (PHESD) focuses on the interrelationships between people and their environment, promotes human health and well-being, and fosters healthy and safe communities. PHESD scientists develop and evaluate measurements, methods, and models to better understand and quantify exposures and their effects on public health and the environment. The Division conducts innovative research on characterizing human and ecological exposures and understanding the impacts of these exposures on both human health and ecological integrity.

Programs and projects managed by PHESD include:

  • Characterizing Human Exposures: PHESD conducts research that characterizes human exposure to environmental contaminants by obtaining and analyzing data on environmental media concentrations, human activities, behaviors, and anthropometric attributes. This is accomplished through a variety of approaches including primary data collection, data mining, and modeling.
  • Assessing Human Health Impacts: PHESD scientists assess the impact of environmental exposures (both beneficial and harmful) on human health through different epidemiologic approaches including field studies and observational studies that integrate environmental, clinical, and biological markers to better understand pollutant-related disease causes and prevention, and gene-environment interactions.
  • Develops Decision Frameworks and Integrated Tools: Scientists in PHESD work on incorporating exposure science data into broader sustainability assessment tools to inform decisions that can mitigate or prevent adverse health and ecological impacts.
  • Interactions between Chemical and Non-Chemical Stressors: PHESD provides the science foundation for the relationship between the built and natural environments and human health and well-being. The Division conducts research to identify the impact of social, economic, and environmental drivers on community public health, and providing tools to assist local decision makers.


Lisa Baxter, Director

  • Phone: 919-541-0672
  • Email:

Timothy Wade, Associate Director

  • Phone: 919-966-8900
  • Email:


  • Epidemiology Branch(NC), Branch Chief Danelle Lobdell
  • Environmental Pathways Modeling Branch (NC), Branch Chief Megan Mehaffey
  • Exposure Indicators Branch (NC), Branch Chief Lindsay Stanek

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