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Devon C. Payne-Sturges, Dr.P.H.

I am an Associate Professor with the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health at the University of Maryland, School of Public Health.

I also hold joint appointment in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Maryland, I served as Assistant Commissioner for Environmental Health with the Baltimore City Health Department then later as the Assistant Center Director for Human Health with U.S. EPA’s National Center for Environmental Research where

I focused on biomonitoring for policy analysis, cumulative risk assessment, health impact assessment, environmental health indicator development, children’s environmental health and environmental health of minority populations.

My research focuses on racial and economic disparities in exposures to environmental contaminants and associated health risks with the aim of improving the science our society uses to make decisions about environmental policies that impact the health of communities and populations, especially vulnerable, low income and minority populations. I use systems science methods to make sense of complicated topics such as cumulative environmental health risks and environmental health disparities. Currently I am applying these methods to address structural inequalities that impact migrant and seasonal farmworkers for my RESPIRAR Project supported by an R01 award from NIEHS. For this project I am leading an interdisciplinary team to unpack the mechanisms through which structural racism shapes health of migrant and seasonal farmworkers with goal of informing policy interventions.  Additionally, I am co-leading a new Urban Equity Collaborative (UEC) with funding support from UMD’s Grand Challenges Initiative. The UEC aims to leverage the collective expertise of university researchers in the service of community-led work to address dispossession and displacement, and specifically issues of affordable housing access, immigrant rights, and small business displacement.


I am energized by the challenge of cumulative environmental health risks and social disparities in environmental health because these issues are difficult, complicated and sometimes controversial, from both science and policy perspectives. Understanding cumulative effects of multiple risk factors on health is critical for establishing environmental policies that are truly public health protective.

"Count chemicals, not just calories"

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Office Phone: 301-405-2025

2234L School of Public Health
University of Maryland
College Park , MD

UMD Website

Maryland Institute for

Applied Environmental Health


Honors and Awards

Fulbright Specialist Award, Germany, 2017


Philip Merrill Presidential Scholar Faculty Mentor, 2017


Johns Hopkins Woodrow Wilson Award for Government Service, 2012.


US EPA Scientific and Technological Achievement Award, Level III, 2012 for Advancing health risk interpretation of biomonitoring data for evaluation of policy actions to protect children’s health.

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