Skip to section navigation

Research Project Description

Environmental Quality Index, Aquatic Condition, Watershed Integrity and Public Health
Research Participation Program
Office of Research and Development
National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Chapel Hill, NC


Project Description:

A postdoctoral research project training opportunity is currently available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory (NHEERL). The appointment will be served with the Environmental Public Health Division in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

This postdoctoral research opportunity aims to refine the water domain in the Environmental Quality Index (EQI) by incorporating two new measures: aquatic condition and watershed integrity. These two variables as well as the EQI will be explored as an exposure metric in relation to adverse health outcomes including, but not limited to areas of perinatal outcomes, child health, gastro-intestinal outcomes, elderly health, infant mortality, and overall mortality.

The research participant will be part of an EPA team of investigators that have developed the EQI and the ecologic measures of aquatic condition and watershed integrity. The selected individual will explore nationally available data, conduct statistical and data analyses in development of the water domain. Research activities could include: 1) conducting data analysis, documenting statistical code and interpretation of results; 2) conducting and documenting quality assurance and review of data analysis and databases; 3) participating in report preparation, presentation and summaries of the data; 4) presenting at professional meetings data analyses; and 5) participating in authoring manuscripts.

Potential research projects may focus on the following general areas where the research participant will learn: use of principal components analysis for develop of EQI; use of ecology derived measures to investigate health outcomes; use of water aquatic condition and watershed integrity in health outcome research; development and evaluation of statistical tools to handle missing environmental data in epidemiology research; utilization of large publicly available databases to investigate overall environmental quality and adverse health outcomes;  development of sensitivity analysis for the overall EQI; application of Bayesian statistical techniques to environmental monitoring data and health outcomes. The research participant will be involved with Environmental Public Health Division and the Western Ecology Division investigators to identify appropriate research areas and to access databases

This research is being conducted as an effort to learn more about how various environmental factors simultaneously contribute to health disparities in low-income and minority populations, and to better estimate the total environmental and social context to which humans are exposed.


Applicants must have received a doctoral degree in statistics, biostatistics, epidemiology, public health, environmental sciences, or closely related field within five years of the desired starting date, or completion of all requirements for the degree should be expected prior to the starting date. Experience using, analyzing and managing data in SAS, and/or Stata is desired.

The program is open to all qualified individuals without regard to race, sex, religion, color, age, physical or mental disability, national origin, or status as a Vietnam era or disabled veteran. U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent resident status is preferred (but a candidate also may hold an appropriate visa status; an H1B visa is not appropriate).

The appointment is full time for one year and may be renewed upon recommendation of EPA and contingent on the availability of funds. The participant will receive a monthly stipend. Funding may be made available to reimburse the participant's travel expenses to present the results of his/her research at scientific conferences. No funding will be made available to cover travel costs for pre-appointment visits, relocation costs, tuition and fees, or a participant's health insurance. The participant must show proof of health and medical insurance. The participant does not become an EPA employee.

Technical Questions:

The mentor for this project will be Danelle Lobdell (

How to Apply:

An application can be found at Please reference Project # EPA-ORD/NHEERL-EPHD-2014-01 when calling or writing for information.