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Break the Cycle of
Children's Environmental Health Disparities

Promoting Health Equity for All Children

Break the Cycle is a collaborative interdisciplinary research and training program involving University faculty who mentor graduate and undergraduate students in academic tracks that focus on the impact of environmental factors on children’s health.

The target populations are communities where the environmental hazards are related to circumstances of social and economic disadvantage.

APRIL 15+16 2024
Past conferences can be found here ->

Break the Cycle of Health Disparities, Inc. and 
Southeast Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit at Emory University.

Break the Cycle supports student-driven research projects that explore social, economic, and environmental factors that adversely affect children’s health and well-being and develop creative strategies to promote health and well-being for children and, thereby, Break the Cycle of Environmental Health Disparities
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cycle diagram

The Break the Cycle Program focuses on raising awareness of children's environmental health disparities and on cultivating future leaders.

Each year, students and faculty from a variety of colleges and universities participate in developing projects that will
Break the Cycle of Children’s Environmental Health Disparities
to promote health equity for all children.
break the cycle 9 students
The students present their projects at a national conference and the results are published in international journals.

Over the past 19 years Break the Cycle has engaged over 150 students from 50 universities in 12 states in the USA as well as from countries in Latin America and Africa that have resulted in the publication of 12 international journal supplements. This set of projects also forms the basis for 12 books in a Public Health Series by Nova Publishers.


Break the Cycle Program received the Children's Environmental Health Excellence Award for the US Environmental Protection Agency in 2016.

Project Guidelines

  • University students from all disciplines are invited to develop projects that creatively address social, economic, and environmental factors that adversely affect the health of children. Students are required to identify a mentor in their university departments to monitor and guide their projects.

  • All applications are evaluated based on a focus to the cycle of environmental health disparities, the quality of the proposal, novelty, feasibility, and potential for sustainability. There are a limited number selected for full participation in the program each year.

  • During the project period there are monthly conference calls to support the progress of the research projects, share ideas and assure that the project is on track and consistent with the spirit of the Break the Cycle concept.

  • At the end of the project period, students are required to present their projects at a conference which will be open to the public and includes a keynote speaker of national stature. Conference date will be April 2024

  • Students write papers on their projects which are submitted for publication in an international journal as a monograph of the Break the Cycle projects.

  • We look froward to following the careers of the students and to remain in contact to monitor the impact of their participation in the Break the Cycle Program on their academic or professional careers.

Past conferences can be found here ->

Environmental Health Disparities 
Children who grow up in circumstances of social and economic disadvantage are at greater risk for exposure to adverse environmental factors and are more likely to suffer adverse health and developmental consequences. Break the Cycle supports an interdisciplinary set of student-driven research projects that explore the environmental, economic and social factors that adversely affect children’s health and creatively develop strategies to promote the health of children and, thereby, Break the Cycle of Children’s Environmental Health Disparities. 


About the Program 
Students are required to work with academic mentors from their respective university programs to submit a proposal on how they would develop a project to Break the Cycle. All proposals will be reviewed, and a limited number will be selected based on relevance to the cycle of environmental health disparities, creativity, feasibility, and strength of the project plan. Those selected will have the opportunity to work with the Break the Cycle faculty and other students from around the country and internationally, to see the project to completion and present their research results and findings at an annual conference in Atlanta scheduled for the spring of 2022. There will be monthly conference calls to review projects and provide perspectives and guidance on the projects.  During these conference calls, faculty and students will have the opportunity to communicate and collaborate with their counterparts in other disciplines at other universities. Students will also be required to write a scientific paper on their project which will be published in an international peer-review journal as well as a chapter in a book


Who Can Apply
Students from all disciplines and training levels are encouraged to apply. This includes undergraduates, graduate students, medical residents, and fellows. 


A History of Success

Since the inception of the Break the Cycle program in 2004-2005, we have partnered with over 50 different university departments in 12 States in the USA as well as from Africa and Latin America, and have supported research for over 150 students. 
We have published the student projects in 13 international journal supplements and 13 books on public health. 

In 2012 we conducted a survey of past students who rated their experience with Break the Cycle valuable, and many continued to pursue careers related to their Break the Cycle projects.

Desired Outcomes

To inspire students from a variety of academic disciplines to explore the relationship between adverse social, economic and environmental factors and the health and development of children and to creatively generate strategies to address the challenges

To collaborate with an interdisciplinary team of academic leaders from different universities and colleges to creatively examine the broader landscape of this topic

To promote leadership among students

To encourage faculty of our university partners to promote academic interest and social awareness of Children’s Environmental Health Disparities.

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