Arku Receives Rosenblith New Investigator Award

UMass Amherst Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences Raphael Arku

Raphael Arku

January 26, 2021

Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences Raphael E. Arku has been selected as one of three recipients of the 2020 Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award by the Health Effects Institute (HEI). The Rosenblith Award provides funding for up to three years at a total budget of $500,000.

Arku was awarded funding to study “Urban air pollution in sub-Saharan Africa: A study of prenatal exposures, birth outcomes, and lower-respiratory infections in infants.” This study seeks to examine associations of long-term maternal exposures to PM2.5, NO2, and environmental noise with adverse birth outcomes in Accra, Ghana. The study also seeks to determine the effect of these exposures on the risk of lower respiratory infections in infants.

“I am thrilled to be named one of the awardees of this prestigious and highly competitive award,” says Arku. “This is a major award that builds on our measurement campaign in Accra, Ghana. Certainly, this is a nice seed to build longer-term global environmental health work with specific focus on air pollution related research in the sub-Saharan Africa context, a place where robust local data, evidence, and capacity building are acutely needed.”

The HEI is a nonprofit corporation chartered in 1980 as an independent research organization to provide high-quality, impartial, and relevant science on the health effects of air pollution. Its New Investigator Award is named after the late Dr. Walter A. Rosenblith, chair of the HEI’s first Research Committee and a former member of its Board of Directors. The award supports the work of a promising scientist early in his or her career, and is given based on the applicant’s potential for a productive scientific career in air pollution research, the support provided by the applicant’s institution, and the scientific merit of the research project and its relevance to HEI’s mission.