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Susan Pinney

Pinney to receive 2022 Environmental Teacher Award

Susan Pinney, PhD, professor in the Department of Environmental and Public Health Sciences, will be honored later this month by the Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition with the 2022 Environmental Teacher Award.

The award, in addition to others for student, volunteer, business and governmental agency, honors people in the Cincinnati community who have made sustainability, ecology and environmental study a way of life. Pinney receives the honor during the Greater Cincinnati Earth Day Festival, noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, April 23 at Summit Park in Blue Ash. The community event is for not-for-profit organizations, businesses, governmental agencies and individuals from the Tristate region who work cooperatively and actively to promote the beauty and environmental quality of the area.

“I am most honored to receive this award. I do love teaching and telling others about my environmental health research and especially the conversations that follow. I hope that other community groups will take advantage of the great wealth of knowledge about environmental health in the Center for Environmental Genetics,” Pinney says.

Pinney is internationally known for her work in researching environmental factors that influence the age at pubertal events, such as breast development, and risk of breast cancer later in life. She also conducts cohort studies of the gene variants that result in great risk of lung cancer and the health effects of uranium exposure. Since 1990 she has been the research director of the Fernald Community Cohort with data and biospecimens collected which have been used for over 85 research studies.

She also has studied the impact of perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, and health concerns associated with these pollutants for much of her career. In 2017, Pinney authored a study that found that residents of the Mid-Ohio River Valley from Cincinnati north to Huntington, West Virginia, had higher than normal levels of PFOA based on blood samples collected over a 22-year span. The exposure source was likely from drinking water contaminated by the industrial discharges.

Pinney received her doctorate in epidemiology and environmental health from the College of Medicine. She also serves as the director of the Center for Environmental Genetics and is the Cancer Risk, Control and Prevention Program leader for the UC Cancer Center.
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