SEHS: Southern Environmental Health Study

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

What is the Southern Environmental Health Study?

The Southern Environmental Health Study (SEHS) will investigate environmental and other exposures related to the risk of Cancer and other health conditions in the general population.

SEHS is a population-based study. In this type of study, thousands of participants are asked to join and to give permission to share what happens with their health over several years. Scientists can then look for patterns in the health of different groups. SEHS research aims to help improve the health of communities in the southern U.S.

By partnering with scientists and healthcare providers across the southern U.S., SEHS plans to recruit 50,000 study participants. SEHS wants to understand how the environment we live in and our life experiences may affect our health.

The study will evaluate associations of Environmental Exposures with Cancer intermediate biomarkers and Cancer outcomes. SEHS would like to bring together environmental exposure data from multiple sources to understand the range of exposures that each study participant has. The information from SEHS study participants will allow the SEHS to look at multiple exposures together and apart in relation to Cancer risk. Systematically looking at Environmental Exposures in this way will provide researchers with substantial data to improve our understanding of Environmental Exposures over a long period of time and how those exposures relate to health. This could pave the way to reduce Cancer rates that are found to have an environmental link.

Who can be involved?

The SEHS study will establish a large group of approximately 50,000 participants between the ages of 40 and 70.  SEHS participants will live in rural and urban areas across 12 southern US states.

Link to the SEHS website

To learn more about SEHS or to get involved:

Today’s Discoveries, Tomorrow’s Hope: Cancer Epidemiology

Environmental Exposures of Interest

What physical, chemical, biological, or behavioral factors external to a person is SEHS focusing on?

  • Cumulative exposome risk
    • “The exposome can be defined as the measure of all the exposures of an individual in a lifetime and how those exposures relate to health. An individual’s exposure begins before birth and includes insults from environmental and occupational sources. Understanding how exposures from our environment, diet, lifestyle, etc. interact with our own unique characteristics such as Genetics, physiology, and epigenetics impact our health is how the exposome will be articulated.”


Outcomes of Interest

What is SEHS trying to do and find out about through this study?

  • Cancer-related biologic markers

SEHS Principal Investigators

Martha Shrubsole, PhD
Wei Zheng, MD, PhD, MPH