Faculty Member

Hong Chen

Email Address(es)
hong.chen@oahpp.ca
Office Phone
(647) 260-7109
Office Address
480 University Avenue, Suite 300 Toronto, Ontario M5G 1V2
Website(s)
Public Health Ontario
Division(s)/Office
Occupational & Environmental Health Division
Position
Assistant Professor
SGS Status
Associate Member
Appointment Status
Status Only

Research Interests

The goal of my research is to investigate the health effects of exposure to environmental risk factors, particularly ambient air pollution, extreme weather, urban greenness, and environmental noise. I am also interested in evaluating the effectiveness of environmental health policies and programs using causal inference methods. My research is aimed to be policy-relevant and contribute to better decision making and actions to achieve environmental exposure reduction and disease prevention.

Main Research Interests

  • Health Effects of Air pollution, Weather, Urban Greenness, and Environmental Noise
  • Effectiveness of Environmental Health Policies and Programs (Accountability Research)
  • Environmental Epidemiology

Education & Training History

  • Ph.D., Epidemiology, McGill University, Canada (2011)
  • M.Sc., Management Information Systems, Texas A&M University, U.S.A. (2002)
  • M.Sc., Environmental Sciences, University of Akron, U.S.A. (2000)

Other Affiliations

  • International Society for Environmental Epidemiology
  • The Society for Epidemiologic Research
  • American Heart Association

Primary Teaching Responsibilities

CHL5416: Environmental Epidemiology* (fall semester, offerred every other year), University of Toronto

* My role as co instructor

Professional Summary & Appointments

  • Assistant Professor, Occupational and Environmental Health Division, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto (2012-Present)
  • Scientist, Environmental Health Assessment, Public Health Ontario, Toronto, Ontario (2013-Present)
  • Research Scientist, Population Studies Division, Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario (2018-Present)
  • Adjunct Scientist, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (2013-Present)
  • Environmental Epidemiologist, Public Health Ontario, Toronto, Ontario (2010-2012)

Honours & Awards

  • New Principal Investigator Best Poster Award, Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) (2014)
  • Graduate Research Enhancement and Travel Award, McGill University (2010)
  • Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) Doctoral Research Award (2008)
  • Principal’s Graduate Fellowship, McGill University (2008)
  • Fonds de recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ) Doctoral Training Award (2008)
  • Research Institute of McGill University Health Centre Studentship, McGill University (2007)

Current Research Projects

Currently, I am principal investigator of ONtario Population Health and Environment Cohort (ONPHEC), a large, population-based cohort in the province of Ontario, Canada focusing on understanding the independent and combined effects of various environmental exposures (e.g., air pollution, traffic-related noise, green space) on the development and progression of chronic diseases. Another objective of ONPHEC is to evaluate public health impacts of environmental-related policies and programs. Funded by Health Canada and CIHR, the overarching goal of ONPHEC is to gain new insights into the environmental burden of chronic diseases and to provide policy-relevant research findings. Currently, five major projects are underway in the context of ONPHEC as follows:

  • To determine the associations between long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and noise and the development of cardiovascular disease and diabetes;
  • To investigate the effects of air pollution on the development of major neurodegenerative diseases, especially dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis;
  • To quantify the health burden of ambient temperatures on mortality and morbidity;
  • To examine the effects of environmental exposures (e.g., air pollution, greenspace, etc) on the long-term survival and other outcomes of adults living with major chronic diseases; and
  • To evaluate public health impacts of environmental health programs, such as smog advisories and extreme cold warnings, using novel causal inference methodologies.

* Potential opportunities are available for postdoctoral research fellows, doctoral students, and summer practicum students. Inquires to these opportunities are welcome.

Representative Publications

  • Shin, S.H., Burnett, R.T., Kwong, J.C., Hystad, P., van Donkelaar, A., Brook, J.R., Goldberg, M.S., Tu, K., Copes, R., Martin, R.V., Liu, Y., Kopp, A., and Chen, H. Ambient Air Pollution and the Risk of Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke: a Population-Based Cohort Study. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2019;https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/pdf/10.1289/EHP4883
  • Bai, L., Shin, S.H., Burnett, R.T., Kwong, J.C., Hystad, P., van Donkelaar, A., Goldberg, M.S., Lavigne, E., Copes, R., Martin, R., Kopp, A., and Chen, H. Exposure to ambient air pollution and the incidence of congestive heart failure and acute myocardial infarction: a population-based study of 5.1 million Canadian adults living in Ontario. Environment International, 2019;https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2019.105004
  • Bai, L., Shin, S.H., Burnett, R.T., Kwong, J.C., Hystad, P., van Donkelaar, A., Goldberg, M.S., Lavigne, E., Weichenthal, S., Copes, R., Martin, R., Kopp, A., and Chen, H. Long-term exposure to air pollution and the incidence of lung and breast cancer: ONPHEC cohort. International Journal of Cancer, 2019;DOI: 10.1002/ijc.32575
  • Ilango, S., Chen, H., Hystad, P., van Donkelaar, A., Kwong, J.C., Tu, K., Martin, R.V., and Benmarhnia T. The role of cardiovascular disease in the relationship of chronic exposure to air pollution and dementia. International Journal of Epidemiology, 2019;DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyz154
  • Benmarhnia, T., Zhao, X., Wang, J., MacDonald, M., and Chen, H. Evaluating the Potential Public Health Impacts of the Toronto Cold Weather Program. Environment International, 2019;https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2019.03.042
  • Lavigne, E., Donelle, J., Hatzopoulou, M., Ryswyk K.V., van Donkelaar, A., Martin, R.V., Chen, H., Stieb, D.M., Gasparrini, A., Crighton, E., Yasseen, A.S., Burnett, R.T., Walker, M., and Weichenthal, S. Spatiotemporal Variations in Ambient Ultrafine Particles and the Incidence of Childhood Asthma. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2019;doi:10.1164/rccm.201810-1976OC
  • Wong, J.J., Kwong, J.C., Tu, K., Butt, D.A., Burnett, R.T., Copes, R., Wilton, A.S., Murray, B.J., Kopp, A., and Chen, H. Time Trends of the Incidence, Prevalence, and Post-Diagnosis Mortality of Parkinsonism. The Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences, 2019;doi: 10.1017/cjn.2018.387
  • Bai, L., Weichenthal, S., Kwong, J.C., Burnett, R.T., Hatzopoulou, M., Jerrett, M., van Donkelaar, A., Martin, R.V., van Ryswyk, K., Lu, H., Kopp, A., and Chen, H. Risk of Incident Congestive Heart Failure and Acute Myocardial Infarction in Relation to Long-term Exposure to Ambient Ultrafine Particles and Nitrogen Dioxide. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2018;https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwy194
  • Burnett, R.T., Chen, H., Szyszkowicz, M., Fann, N., Hubbell, B., Pope III, C.A., Apte, J.S., Brauer, M., Cohen, A., Weichenthal, S., Coggins, J., Di, Q., Brunekreef, B., Frostad, F., Lim, S.S., Kan, H., Walker, K.D., Thurston, G.D., Hayes, R.B., Lim, C.C., Turner, M.C., Jerrett, M., Krewski, D., Gapstur, S.M., Diver, W.R., Ostro, B., Goldberg, D., Crouse, D.L., Martin, R.V., Peters, P., Pinault, L., Tjepkema, M., van Donkelaar, A., Villeneuve, P.J., Miller, A.B., Yin, P., Zhou, M., Wang, L., Janssen, N.A.H., Marra, M., Atkinson, R.W., Tsang, H., Thach, T.Q., Cannon, J.B., Allen, R.T., Hart, J.E., Laden, F., Cesaroni, G. Forastiere, F., Weinmayr, G., Jaensch, A., Nagel, G., Concin, H., and Spadaro, J.V. Global estimates of mortality associated with long-term exposure to outdoor fine particulate matter. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (PNAS); 2018; 115(38):9592-9597. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1803222115
  • Lavigne, E., Burnett, R.T., Stieb, D.M., Evans, G.J., Godri Pollitt, K.J., Chen, H., van Rijswijk, D., and Weichenthal S., Fine Particulate Air Pollution and Adverse Birth Outcomes: Effect Modification by Regional Non-Volatile Oxidative Potential. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2018;doi: 10.1289/EHP2535
  • Shin, S.H., Burnett, R.T., Kwong, J.C., Hystad, P., van Donkelaar, A., Brook, J.R., Copes, R., Tu, K., Goldberg, M.S., Villeneuve, P.J., Martin, R.V., Murray, B.J., Wilton, A.S., Kopp, A., and Chen, H. Effects of Ambient Air Pollution on Incident Parkinson’s Disease in Ontario, 2001 to 2013: A Population-Based Cohort Study. International Journal of Epidemiology, 2018; https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyy172 
  • Crouse, D.L., Balram, A., Hystad, P., Pinault, L., van den Bosch, M., Chen, H., Rainham, D., Thomson, E.M., Close, C.H., van Donkelaar, A., Martin, R.V., Ménard, R., Robichaud, A., Villeneuve, P.J. Associations between living near water and risk of mortality among urban Canadians. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2018;DOI:10.1289/EHP3397
  • Bai, L., Burnett, R.T., Kwong, J.C., Hystad, P., van Donkelaar, A., Brook, J.R., Copes, R., Tu, K., Goldberg, M.S., Martin, R.V., Murray, B.J., Wilton, A.S., Kopp, A., and Chen, H. Chronic Exposure to Ambient Air Pollution and Incidence of Multiple Sclerosis: A Cohort Study. Environmental Research, 2018;166:437-443. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.06.003
  • Dalia, L.R., Chen, H., Wilton, A.S., Kwong, J.C., Marrie, R.A., Gozdyra, P., Krysko, K., Kopp, A., Copes, R.  and Tu, K. Temporal trends in multiple sclerosis prevalence and incidence in a large population. Neurology, 2018;doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000005331
  • Lavigne, E., Belair, M., Duque, D.R., Do, M.T., Stieb, D.M., Hystad, P., van Donkelaar, A., Martin, R.V., Crouse, D., Crighton, E., Chen, H., Burnett, R.T., Weichenthal, S., Villeneuve, P.J., To, T., Brook, J.R., Johnson, M., Cakmak, S., Yasseen, A.S., and Walker, M. Prenatal exposure to ambient air pollution, maternal history of asthma and childhood asthma incidence. European Respiratory Journal, 2018;doi: 10.1183/13993003.01884-2017
  • Bai, L., Chen, H., Hatzopoulou, M., Jerrett, M., Kwong, J.C., Burnett, R.T., van Donkelaar, A., Copes, R., Martin, R.V., Van Ryswyk, K., Lu, H., Kopp, A. and Weichenthal, S. Exposure to Ambient Ultrafine Particles and Nitrogen Dioxide and Incident Hypertension and Diabetes. Epidemiology, 2018;http://doi: 10.1097/EDE.0000000000000798
  • Chen, H., Li, Q., Kaufman J.S., Wang, J., Copes, R., Su, Y., and Benmarhnia, T. Effect of air quality alerts on human health: a regression discontinuity analysis. Lancet Planetary Health, 2018; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(17)30185-7
  • Bai, L., Li, Q., Wang, J., Lavigne, E., Gasparrini, A., Copes, R., Yagouti, A., Burnett, R.T., Goldberg, M.S., Cakmak, S., and Chen, H. Increased Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke-related Hospitalizations from Cold and Hot Temperatures in Ontario, Canada. Heart, 2017;http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/heartjnl-2017-311821 
  • Chen, H., Kwong, J.C., Copes, R., Hystad, P., van Donkelaar A., Tu, K., Brook, J.R., Goldberg, M.S., Martin, R.V., Murray B.J., Wilton, A.S., Kopp, A., and Burnett, R.T. Exposure to ambient air pollution and the incidence of dementia: a population-based cohort study. Environment International, 2017;108:271-277. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2017.08.020
  • Crouse, D.L. Pinault, L., Balram, A., Hystad, P., Peters, P.A., Chen, H., van Donkelaar, A., Martin, R.V., Ménard, R., Robichaud, A., Villeneuve, P.J. Residential green space is associated with reduced risk of dying in Canada’s largest cities: Results from a national cohort study. Lancet Planetary Health, 2017;https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(17)30118-3
  • Pinault, L., Weichenthal, S., Crouse, D.L., Brauer, M., Erickson, A., van Donkelaar, A., Martin, R.V., Hystad, P., Chen, H., Finès, P., Brook, J.R., Tjepkema, M., and Burnett, R.T. Shape and Thresholds of the Associations between fine particulate matter and mortality in the 2001 Canadian Census Health and Environment Cohort (2001 CanCHEC). Environmental Research, 2017;159:406-415
  • Weichenthal, S., Bai, L., Hatzopoulou, M., Van Ryswyk, K., Kwong, J.C., Jerrett, M., van Donkelaar, A., Martin, R.V., Burnett, R.T., Lu, H. and Chen, H. Long-term exposure to ambient ultrafine particles and incidence of lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and adult-onset asthma in Toronto, Canada. Environmental Health, 2017;16:64;DOI:10.1186/s12940-017-0276-7
  • Chen, H., Kwong, J.C., Copes, R., Tu, K., Villeneuve, P.J., van Donkelaar, A., Hystad, P., Martin, R.V., Murray, B.J., Jessiman, B., Wilton, A.S., Kopp, A., and Burnett, R.T. Living near major roads and the incidence of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis: a population-based cohort study, Lancet, 2017; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)32399-6
  • Lavigne, E., Gasparrini, A., Stieb, D.W., Chen, H., Yasseen III, A.S., Crighton, E., To, T., Weichenthal, S., Villeneuve, P.J., Cakmak, S., Coates, F., Walker, M. Maternal exposure to aeroallergens and the risk of early delivery. Epidemiology, 2017; 28(1): 107–115;doi:10.1097/EDE.0000000000000573
  • Ordon, M., Welk, B., Li, Q., Wang, J., Lavigne, E., Yagouti, A., Copes, R., Cakmak, S., and Chen, H. Ambient Temperature and the Risk of Renal Colic: A Population-Based Study of the Impact of Demographics and Comorbidity, Journal of Endourology, 2016;30(10):1138-1143
  • Li, B., Li, S., Wang, J., Lavigne, E., Gasparrini, A., Copes, R., Yagouti, A., Burnett, R.T., Goldberg, M.S., Villeneuve, P.J., Cakmak, S., and Chen, H. Risk of hospital admissions for hypertensive diseases, diabetes, and arrhythmia attributable to low and high temperatures: population-based study. Nature Scientific Reports, 2016; doi:10.1038/srep30283
  • Nasari, M., Szyszkowicz, M., Chen, H., Crouse, D., Turner, M.C., Jerrett, M., Pope III, C.A., Hubbell, B., Fann, N., Cohen, A., Gapstur, S.M., Diver, W.R., Stieb, D., Forouzanfar, M.H., Kim, S.Y., Olives, C., Krewski, D., and Burnett, R.T. A Class of Non-Linear Exposure-Response Models Suitable for Health Impact Assessment Applicable to Large Cohort Studies of Ambient Air Pollution. Air Quality, Atmosphere and Health, 2016; doi: 10.1007/s11869-016-0398-z
  • Chen, H., Burnett, R.T., Kwong, J.C., Copes, R., Villeneuve, P.J., Goldberg, M.S., Brook, R.D., van Donkelaar, A., Jerrett M., Martin, R.V., Kopp, A., Brook, J.R., and Tu, JV. Ambient fine particulate matter and mortality among survivors of myocardial infarction: population-based cohort study. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2016; DOI:10.1289/EHP185
  • Chen, H., Kwong, J.C., Copes, R., Villeneuve, P.J., Goldberg, M.S., Weichenthal, S., van Donkelaar, A., Jerrett M., Martin, R.V., Brook, J.R., Kopp, A., and Burnett, R.T. Cohort Profile: The ONtario Population Health and Environment Cohort (ONPHEC). International Journal of Epidemiology, 2016; doi: 10.1093/ije/dyw030
  • Chen, H., Wang, J., Li, S., Yagouti, A., Lavigne, E., Foty, R., Burnett, R.T., Goldberg, M.S., Villeneuve, P.J., Cakmak, S., and Copes, R. Assessment of the impact of cold and hot temperatures on mortality: a population-based study. CMAJ Open, 2015;4;E48-E58
  • Shin, H., Cakmak, S., Brion, O., Villeneuve, P.J., Turner, M., Goldberg, M.S., Jerrett, M., Chen, H., Crouse, D., Peters, P., Pope, CA III, and Burnett, R.T. Indirect adjustment for multiple missing variables applicable to environmental epidemiology. Environmental Research, 2014;134:482-487
  • Chen, H., Burnett, R.T., Kwong, J.C., Villeneuve, P.J., Goldberg, M.S., Brook, R.D., van Donkelaar, A., Jerrett M., Martin, R.V., Brook, J.R., and Copes, R. Spatial Association between Ambient Fine Particulate Matter and Incident Hypertension. Circulation, 2013; doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.113.003532
  • Chen, H., Burnett, R.T., Kwong, J.C., Villeneuve, P.J., Goldberg, M.S., Brook, R.D., van Donkelaar, A., Jerrett M., Martin, R.V., Brook, J.R., and Copes, R. Risk of Incident Diabetes in Relation to Long-term Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter in Ontario, Canada. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2013 doi:10.1289/ehp.1205958
  • Chen, H., Goldberg, M.S., Burnett, R.T., Jerrett M., Wheeler, A.J., and Villeneuve, P.J. Long-Term Exposure to Traffic-Related Air Pollution and Cardiovascular Mortality. Epidemiology, 2012;24: 35-43
  • Chen, H., Goldberg, M.S., Crouse, DL, Burnett, R.T., Jerrett M., Villeneuve, P.J., Wheeler, A.J., Labrèche, F., and Ross, N.A. Back-extrapolation into the past of estimates of exposure from current land-use regression models. Atmospheric Environment, 2010; 44(35): 4346-4354
  • Chen, H., Goldberg, M.S., and Villeneuve, P.J. A systematic review of the relation between long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and chronic diseases. Reviews on Environmental Health, 2008; 23(4): 243-297

Representative Media Interviews

  • CNN interview about a JAMA Cardiology study on cold temperatures and heart attacks
  • CNN interview about a Lancet study on traffic exposures and dementia risks
  • BBC interview about air pollution and diabetes risks