Faculty Member

Howard Hu M.D., M.P.H., Sc.D.

Email Address(es)
howard.hu@utoronto.ca
Office Address
Health Sciences Building 155 College Street, 6th Floor Toronto, Ontario M5T 3M7
Website(s)
, Toronto Environmental Molecular Epidemiology Research Group
Curriculum Vitae
Download
Division(s)/Office
Clinical Public Health Division
Epidemiology Division
Occupational & Environmental Health Division
Office of Global Public Health Education & Training
Position
Professor
SGS Status
Full Member
Appointment Status
Tenured

Research Interests

    1. Environmental and molecular epidemiologic research related to heavy metals, potential endocrine disruptors, other neurotoxicants, carcinogens, etc.
    2. Gene-environment interactions; epigenetic dysregulation
    3. Fetal/early life exposures and long-term effects
    4. Aging-environment interactions
    5. Environmental health, health inequities and health disparities, human rights
    6. Health and the global environment
    7. “Big Data” for population health
    8. Environmental sensitivities/Multiple chemical sensitivities

Education & Training History

EDUCATION:

9/1973-6/1976 Biology B.Sc. Brown University
9/1977-6/1982 Medicine M.D. Albert Einstein College of Medicine
9/1979-6/1980 (degree in 6/1982*) M.P.H. (Occ Hlth) Harvard School of Public Health
9/1985-6/1986 Epidemiology M.S. Harvard School of Public Health
7/1986-6/1990 Epidemiology Sc.D. Harvard School of Public Health
* Awarding of the M.P.H. to medical students is delayed until the M.D. degree is conferred

POSTDOCTORAL TRAINING:

Research Fellowships
7/1987-6/1988 Occupational Health Research Fellow, Dept. of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health
Internship and Residencies
7/1982-6/1983 Intern in Medicine, Boston City Hospital
7/1983-6/1984 Junior Assistant Resident, Internal Medicine, Boston City Hospital
7/1984-6/1985 Senior Assistant Resident, Internal Medicine, Boston City Hospital
7/1985-6/1987 Resident, Occupational Medicine, Harvard School of Public Health

Other Affiliations

1999 – International Society for Environmental Epidemiology
1987 – Member, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
1987 – Member, American Public Health Association
1987 – Member, Physicians for Human Rights
2009 – Member, Society for Toxicology
2012 – Member, Canadian Public Health Association

Videos

What is the Role of Schools of Public Health in the 21st century? A Panel of Deans (McGill University, May, 2015)

In conversation with Dr. Paul Farmer (with Dean Howard Hu; University of Toronto, June, 2014)

Collaborative Program in Neuroscience Distinguished Lecture by Dr. Howard Hu (University of Toronto, September, 2016)

Asean Institute for Health and Development (6th Asia-Pacific Conference on Public Health, Bangkok, Thailand, August, 2016)

Primary Teaching Responsibilities

Guest Lectures:

Introduction to Public Health (Introduction to Public Health Sciences, CHL5004H);
Introduction to Public Health (Determinants of Community Health, UT Medical School);
The Toxicology of Metals (Industrial Toxicology, CHL 5912F);
The Challenges of Environmental Health in a Rapidly-Changing World, from the Molecular to the Global (Doctoral Seminar, Collaborative Doctoral Program in Global Health, CHL 5701H)

Professional Summary & Appointments

Dr. Hu is Professor of Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Global Health, and Medicine and the Founding Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, a Faculty of the University of Toronto (2012-present). On July 1, 2017, Dr. Hu started a 1-year sabbatical/administrative leave, during which he is pursuing research and other scholarly activities in Seattle, Washington, USA, in part as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Washington School of Public Health. In the meantime, Dr. Adalsteinn Brown has been appointed and is serving as Interim Dean of the School of Public Health.

Dr. Hu is a physician-scientist, trained as an internist and preventive medicine specialist, with a doctoral degree in epidemiology from Harvard. Previously, Dr. Hu had been a tenured Professor of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Founding Director of the NIEHS Center for Children’s Environmental Health, and Director of the Occupational Medicine Residency at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Channing Laboratory of the Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston (1988-2006); and the NSF International Chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Professor of Environmental Health, Epidemiology and Internal Medicine, and Founding Director of the NIEHS Environmental Health Core Sciences Center at the University of Michigan (2006-2012). Dr. Hu retains an appointment as Adjunct Professor at the University of Michigan.

Since 1990, Dr. Hu has led multi-institutional and international teams of scientists, students and fellows devoted to investigating the environmental, nutritional, social, psychosocial, genetic and epigenetic determinants of chronic disease and impaired child development in population-based studies in the U.S., Mexico, India, China, and elsewhere around the world. His team’s work has generated over 300 publications and won several awards, such as the 1999 Progress and Achievement Award from the U.S. National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, the 2009 Linus Pauling Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2011 Award of Excellence from the American Public Health Association, and the 2015 John Goldsmith Award for Outstanding Contributions from the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology.

In 1999-2000, Dr. Hu was a Senior Faculty Fulbright Scholar in India. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors and the principal epidemiologist on four fact-finding missions for Physicians for Human Rights; served on the Board of Population and Public Health Practice of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences; and served as the Chair of the Research Commission for the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. In the latter capacity, he and colleagues published “Nuclear Wastelands”, which was nominated for the U.S. National Book Award in 1996.

As the Founding Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Dr. Hu led Canada’s best and largest School of Public Health , a Faculty within Canada’s best Global University . With the School’s leaders, he advanced a number of innovative initiatives involving healthy cities, big data for population health, Indigenous health, new systems that integrate public health and primary care, social entrepreneurship, and, with its partners around the world, the global agenda of addressing health inequities. Dean Hu also initiated the first major fund-raising campaign for a School of Public Health in Canada, accompanied by the launch of the Dean’s Leadership Lecture Series, a high-profile forum for debating ideas of major regional and global impact. In 2016, Dean Hu was elected to Fellowship in the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Dr. Hu is married to Rani Kotha JD MPH, Senior Strategist in Global Health and Innovation Initiatives at the Munk School for Global Affairs at U. Toronto. They have two sons, one who recently graduated from the University of Michigan and one who has attended the University of Toronto’s elementary laboratory school.

Honours & Awards

1978-1982 National Health Service Corps Scholarship

1985-1988 National Research Service Award

1990-1992 Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Clinical Environmental Medicine Award

1994 Will Solimene Award of Excellence, American Medical Writers Association, for: Chivian E, McCally M, Hu H, Haines H, eds. Critical Condition: Human Health and the Environment. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1993.

1997 Alice Hamilton Lecturer, University of California at San Francisco

1998 First Prize for Best Infant Nutrition Research, Instituto Danone, Mexico (for González-Cossío T, Peterson KE, Sanín L, Fishbein SE, Palazuelos E, Aro A, Hernández-Avila M, Hu H. “Decrease in birth weight in relation to maternal bone lead burden.” (Published in Pediatrics)

1999 National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences “Progress and Achievement of the Year Award”, 1998-1999

1999 True Memorial Lecturer, Maine Medical Center, Portland ME.

2000-2001 Faculty Sabbatical Award, Harvard School of Public Health

2000-2001 Senior Fulbright Scholar in India

2001 Hoopes Prize, Faculty Mentorship (for Senior Thesis of Charles Lin, “More than Black and White: Lead Poisoning as an Environmental Justice Issue in Boston”

2003 Best Paper in Preventive Medicine by a Medical Student (for Senior Thesis of Vanitha Janakiraman; Janakiraman V, Hu H, Mercado-Garcia A, Hernandez-Avila M. A randomized crossover trial of nocturnal calcium supplements to suppress bone resorption during pregnancy. Am J Prev Med 2003;24:260-4.). American College of Preventive Medicine, Ulrich and Ruth Frank Foundation for International Health.

2004 Das Travel Grant Award, The South Asia Initiative, Harvard University (for Travel in India)

2005 Adolph G. Kammer Merit in Authorship Award, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (for Rhodes D, Spiro A, Aro A, Hu H “Relationship of Bone and Blood Lead Levels to Psychiatric Symptoms: The Normative Aging Study”, Published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine)

2006 Teacher of the Year Award, Occupational/Environmental Medicine Residents, Harvard School of Public Health

2006 Harriett Hardy Award, the New England College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

2009 Linus Pauling Award for Lifetime Achievements, American College for the Advancement of Medicine

2010 Nomination to the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences (not elected this round)

2011 Award for Excellence, American Public Health Association

2015 John R. Goldsmith Award (for Outstanding Contributions to the field), International Society for Environmental Epidemiology

2016 Election to Fellowship, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences

Current Research Projects

Current funded grants
6/1/2012-3/30/2018 (NCE) 1R01ES021446-01, PI, $3,840,000; “Prenatal and Childhood Exposure to Fluoride and Neurodevelopment”
7/1/2012-7/1/2017 European Commission (EC), Funded under FP7-Health, Project 304925, co-Investigator; PI, epidemiologic studies, $6,000,000 E; “A novel micronutrient-based strategy to prevent hearing impairments: test and road to market for age-related hearing loss and preservation of residual hearing”
5/15/2015-5/15/2017 Health Canada; PI, $200,000 (Phase 1); $1,400,000 (proposed Phase 2); “A Community-based First Nation Study of Cancer and the Environment in Northern Ontario”
4/1/13-3/31/18 NIEHS/EPA P01ES022844 (co-inv; PI: Peterson at the University of Michigan) “Lifecourse Exposures & Diet: Epigenetics, Maturation & Metabolic Syndrome.”
4/1/12-3/30/17 NIEHS R01ES013744 (consultant; PI: Wright; Mt Sinai School of Medicine) “Stress-Lead Interactions and Child Development”
7/1/16-6/30/21 CIHR (co-PI; Director; PI: Jeffrey Brook at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health) $4,700,000M CNDN; “CANadian Urban Environmental (CANUE) Health Research Consortium”

Selected Recent Publications (out of over 350)

Huang S, Hu H, Sánchez BN, Peterson KE, Ettinger AS, Lamadrid-Figueroa H, Schnaas L,
Mercado-García A, Wright RO, Basu N, Cantonwine DE, Hernández-Avila M, Téllez-Rojo MM. Childhood Blood Lead Levels and Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A Cross-Sectional Study of Mexican Children. Environ Health Perspect. 2016 Jun;124(6):868-74. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1510067. PubMed PMID: 26645203; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4892926.

Taylor KM, Saint-Hilaire MH, Sudarsky L, Simon DK, Hersh B, Sparrow D, Hu H, Weisskopf
MG. Head injury at early ages is associated with risk of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2016 Feb;23:57-61. doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2015.12.005. PubMed PMID: 26725141; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4787263.

Cantoral A, Téllez-Rojo MM, Levy TS, Hernández-Ávila M, Schnaas L, Hu H, Peterson KE,
Ettinger AS. Differential association of lead on length by zinc status in two-year old Mexican children. Environ Health. 2015 Dec 30;14:95. doi: 10.1186/s12940-015-0086-8. PubMed PMID: 26715556; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4696318.

Watkins DJ, Fortenberry GZ, Sánchez BN, Barr DB, Panuwet P, Schnaas L, Osorio-Valencia E,
Solano-González M, Ettinger AS, Hernández-Ávila M, Hu H, Téllez-Rojo MM, Meeker JD. Urinary 3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3-PBA) levels among pregnant women in Mexico City: Distribution and relationships with child neurodevelopment. Environ Res. 2016 May;147:307-13. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2016.02.025. PubMed PMID: 26922411; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4821665.

Specht AJ, Lin Y, Weisskopf M, Yan C, Hu H, Xu J, Nie LH. XRF-measured bone lead (Pb) as a
biomarker for Pb exposure and toxicity among children diagnosed with Pb poisoning. Biomarkers. 2016 Jun;21(4):347-52. doi: 10.3109/1354750X.2016.1139183. Epub 2016 Feb 9. PubMed PMID: 26856822.

Tamayo Y Ortiz M, Téllez-Rojo MM, Hu H, Hernández-Ávila M, Wright R, Amarasiriwardena
C, Lupoli N, Mercado-García A, Pantic I, Lamadrid-Figueroa H. Lead in candy consumed and blood lead levels of children living in Mexico City. Environ Res. 2016 May;147:497-502. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2016.03.007. Epub 2016 Mar 11. PubMed PMID: 26974363.

Thomas DB, Basu N, Martinez-Mier EA, Sánchez BN, Zhang Z, Liu Y, Parajuli RP, Peterson K,
Mercado-Garcia A, Bashash M, Hernández-Avila M, Hu H, Téllez-Rojo MM. Urinary and plasma fluoride levels in pregnant women from Mexico City. Environ Res. 2016 Oct;150:489-95. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2016.06.046. PubMed PMID: 27423051.

Ding N, Wang X, Weisskopf MG, Sparrow D, Schwartz J, Hu H, Park SK. Lead-Related Genetic
Loci, Cumulative Lead Exposure and Incident Coronary Heart Disease: The Normative Aging Study. PLoS One. 2016 Sep 1;11(9):e0161472. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161472. PubMed PMID: 27584680; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5008632.

Farooqui Z, Bakulski KM, Power MC, Weisskopf MG, Sparrow D, Spiro A 3rd, Vokonas PS,
Nie LH, Hu H, Park SK. Associations of cumulative Pb exposure and longitudinal changes in Mini-Mental Status Exam scores, global cognition and domains of cognition: The VA Normative Aging Study. Environ Res. 2017 Jan;152:102-108. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2016.10.007. PubMed PMID: 27770710; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5135609.

Hu H. Heavy Metal Poisoning. In: Jameson JL, Fauci AS, Kasper DL, Hauser SL, Longo DL,
Loscalzo J, eds. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, (20th edition). New York: McGraw-Hill 2017 (in press).

Somers E, Monrad S, Warren J, Solano M, Schnaas L, Hernandez-Avila M, Tellez-Rojo MM,
Hu H. Antinuclear antibody prevalence in a general pediatric cohort from Mexico City: discordance between by immunofluorescence and multiplex assays. Clin Epidem (in press).

Bashash M, Connors JM, Gascoyne RD, Slack GW, Hu H, Berry BR, Meissner B, Schuetz JM,
Leach S, Sehn LH, Brooks-Wilson A, Spinelli JJ. Genetic Polymorphism at BCL2 as a predictor for R-CHOP efficacy in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Haematologica (in press)

Hu H, Galea S, Rosella L, Henry D. Big Data and Population Health: Focusing on the Health
Impacts of the Social, Physical, and Economic Environment. Epidemiology (in press).

Wang X, Ding N, Tucker KL, Weisskopf MG, Sparrow D, Hu H, Park SK. Western Diet is
Associated with Higher Bone and Blood Lead Concentrations among Middle-aged and Elderly Men. Nutrition (in press).

Bashash M, Thomas D, Hu H, Martinez-Mier EA, Sanchez BN, Basu N, Peterson KE, Ettinger
AS, Wright R, Zhang Z, Liu Y, Schnaas L, Mercado-Garcia A, Téllez-Rojo MM, Hernández-Avila M. Prenatal Fluoride Exposure and Cognitive Outcomes in Children at 4 and 6-12 Years of Age in Mexico. Environ Health Perspec (in press).

Wei X, Ge E, Min F, Qiu H, Hu H, Tian L, Wang X, Xue G. Ambient sulfur dioxide levels
associated with reduced risk of initial outpatient visits for tuberculosis: a population based time series analysis. Environ Pollution (in press).

Tse LA, Lee PMYL, Ho WM, Lam AT, Lee MK, Ng S, He Y, Leung K-S, Hartle JC, Hu H, Kan
H, Wang F, Ng CF. Bisphenol A and Other Environmental Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer in Hong Kong. Environ Int (in press).

Taskforce on Environmental Health (Hu: Taskforce Chair). Time for Leadership: Recognizing
and Improving Care for those with ME/CFS, FM and ES/MCS. Interim Report. Ministry of Health and Longterm Care, Province of Ontario. July, 2017