I have Extension, research, and teaching responsibilities at the University. The common theme in these activities is improving understanding of both benefits and potential adverse effects of pesticides. Pesticide policy, exposure patterns, and safety education are integrated in these programs.
My research combines toxicology, epidemiology, and policy aspects, and has a very applied focus. Projects center on potential human health effects of pesticides and the policies that address these issues, particularly with regard to pesticide education. This research requires cooperation with pesticide applicators, pesticide control officials, and members of the health care community. Reduction of the potential for exposure is the focus of several current and recent projects.
My Extension program has three components, and I serve as the state Coordinator for each: (1) increasing the health care community's understanding of pesticide-related illnesses; (2) improving pesticide applicators' knowledge and skills to minimize potential effects on human health and the environment; and (3) collecting and disseminating sound information about pesticide use, policies, regulations, developing issues, and technologies. The Maryland Agromedicine Program (MAP) has trained physicians, student nurses, graduate students in public health and epidemiology, sanitarians, public health workers, allied health care providers, and clinicians who treat migrant and seasonal laborers. Through the Maryland Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP), I develop educational materials and programming for pesticide applicators in all categories (agricultural, structural, public health, landscape, right-of-way, and many others). I also serve as a resource on pesticide safety, education, and policy for the state's network of Extension agents and specialists. The Maryland Information Network for Pesticides and Alternative Strategies (MINPAS) is part of a grant-funded network designed to gather and transmit information on issues relevant to both current and transitional pest management strategies, including pesticides. I serve as a liaison between the University of Maryland and state and federal agencies on pesticide policy issues, and am on several state and national pesticide-related task forces, workgroups, and advisory panels.