China Environment and Health Initiative

Generating new research on the connection between health, environment, and development in China

A Chinese public health expert (far right) teams up with a British anthropologist to interview members of rural families in Yunnan about their environmental health concerns.


China's rapid industrialization and urbanization have given rise to a range of environmentally-related threats to human health. While the health effects are becoming clear, the drivers of these problems, and the challenges they raise for governance have yet to be adequately explored. The SSRC's China, Environment and Health Initiative seeks to foster collaboration among researchers from the social, medical and environmental sciences, and to promote the generation and dissemination of new, social science-based research on environment and health. CEHI works in close collaboration with Chinese partner institutions through the Forum On Health Environment and Development (FORHEAD).

Key components of the program include:

  • A Collaborative Grants Program to support innovative, policy oriented research on environment and health in China.
  • An annual Summer Institute to strengthen capacity for cross-disciplinary research on environment and health in China.
  • An Annual Conference to promote communication and collaboration across the natural, medical and social sciences on environment and health issues
  • Publications and Web-based Resources to bring the findings of research to audiences of policy makers, media and NGOs.

New initiatives include:

An overview of environment-related health risks in China and related social science literature by Program Director Jennifer Holdaway is available here.  For more information, see the 2010 Journal of Contemporary China special issue and the FORHEAD website.

For a list of Collaborative Grants sponsored from 2008 through 2013, please visit Collaborative Grants, 2008-2013. For a map of the Project Sites of SSRC Collaborative Grants 2008-2014, please see FORHEAD's Collaborative Grants Map.

The China Environment and Health Initiative is supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Ford Foundation, United Board and Oxford University.

Program Director
Jennifer Holdaway
Program Staff