The Swetland Center studies the complex interplay between the environment and health. Our research places special emphasis on investigating the environmental determinants of health inequities and translating these findings into policies and practices that promote community and population health. Our collaborative, team science research agenda integrates environmental health and community systems science with an emphasis on the physical, social, built, and natural infrastructure that affects health equity. Our work is organized into two domains:

Food Systems and Health Equity

Food systems encompass a range of interconnected systems ranging from food production to consumption. Throughout this process, there are many intersections with environmental health. Food is a key vector through which environmental inequities are ingested and produce health disparities. The Swetland Center has a strong research agenda focused on food systems change that is supported by grants from federal, state, and foundation grants. This work is conducted in partnership with community residents, state and local government agencies, and community organizations who are leading innovative food systems changes in the Greater Cleveland area, across the state of Ohio, and nationwide.

Learn more about our food system research by clicking on the links in the sidebar.

Photo of an info graphic from convening action + Ideas summer


Air Quality and Health

Cleveland was the “silicon valley” of the industrial revolution leading the nation’s manufacturing industry. Like other Rust Belt cities, this manufacturing focus resulted in economic peaks and valleys as well as increased exposure to pollutants that manifest in environmental health inequities. The Swetland Center has been at the forefront of air quality research through our healthy homes initiatives. Early in the Swetland's history, the center demonstrated that remediation of mold and dampness in housing could significantly decrease the morbidity of asthma in children living in such environments. Subsequently, it has been a leader in demonstrating the clinical value, e.g. decreasing hospitalizations, by addressing the environmental triggers in the homes of asthmatics. The Center continues to be part of a national effort to include environmental and case management home visits within the standard of medical care and funding.

Cleveland Skyline
Eric Drost