PROTECT Researcher Nancy Raquel Cardona receives ECHO Diversity Supplement

Nov 10, 2020 | Community Engagement Core

PROTECT Collaborator Nancy Cardona was recently awarded the ECHO Diversity Supplement which she will use to study how phthalate exposure levels related to lifestyle factors during the gestational period affect infancy and childhood in Latina Women. Cardona will analyze PROTECT and ECHO Data alongside other aggregated sources of exposure to better understand the determinants of consumer choices and how these relate to health disparities.

This administrative supplement aims at fostering diversity in the child health research workforce within the ECHO Program and children’s health field. This award provides two years of support to postdoctoral and doctoral degree candidates working within ECHO Cohorts on pediatric research and has a mentorship and training focus.


Cardona’s study, titled, “Phthalates-containing products, Exposure Disparities and Determinants of Health” will use a mixed-method (qualitative and quantitative) approach, using PROTECT Cohort Participants’ food frequency, lifestyle factors, and urinary biomarker data from ECHO visits to track and analyze pediatric outcomes.

In the short term, this grant will provide her with training in the evaluation of aggregate exposures and associated determinants, grant writing, research collaboration, and risk communication. In the long term, Cardona hopes that this 2-year supplement from ECHO will help her become a better exposure scientist and translational researcher, positioning her to go for the K99 grant. “My ultimate career goal is to develop an “Early Career Development Training Program” to sponsor teenagers with experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics as part of my interdisciplinary exposure and risk communication laboratory,” says Cardona.

Cardona is a former PROTECT Trainee and current PROTECT Collaborator working with the Community Engagement Core primarily on research translation. Her PROTECT Collaborations currently focus on grant writing and developing manuscript series to discuss the different projects and cores across PROTECT and how they work together to create multidisciplinary research.

Cardona also received the 2019 Community Health Mini-Grant from the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) when she was a Population Health PostDoc Fellow in URMC’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute working on her project titled, Puerto Rican Diaspora Experiences with Recent Hurricanes and Housing Environment Health Risks.  “The objectives of her project include conducting community-based formative research to identify salient issues related to the passage of Hurricane Maria among families who moved from Puerto Rico to the Rochester area, engaging Puerto Rican community members to fortify a relationship with the Puerto Rican Diaspora in Rochester, and providing actionable pilot data for a larger longitudinal study of Puerto Rican Diaspora families in the future.” [1] Likewise, Cardona led a study focused on the determinants that affect the reproductive health of Puerto Rican women who gave birth in Upstate New York from 2004-2018, presented at the 2019 RCMI annual conference. Currently, Cardona holds an Adjunct Instructor position at URMC where she continues to work with underrepresented communities globally.

We are proud of Nancy’s accomplishments and look forward to continuing to collaborate with her in the future.