About us

HEI Energy is a nonprofit affiliate of the Health Effects Institute (HEI), chartered as an independent research organization to provide high-quality and impartial science about potential human exposure and health effects associated with onshore development of oil and natural gas from shale and other unconventional resources (UOGD) in the United States.

HEI Energy funds population-level exposure and health research in multiple U.S. regions that is broadly useful to decision-making by regulators, the oil and natural gas industry, environmental organizations, public health experts, communities, and other stakeholders. 

HEI Energy receives joint funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the oil and gas industry. Other public and private organizations periodically provide support.

With oil and gas resource development projected to continue, alongside growing efforts to switch to renewables and conserve energy, a source of credible science is needed to support decisions about how best to ensure the protection of public health in the oversight and implementation of this development.

For more information, check out the HEI Energy Implementation Plan and the HEI Energy Factsheet in English and Spanish, and a summary of HEI Energy Progress and Products. Looking for definitions of UOGD, exposure, and epidemiology-related terms? Check out the HEI Energy glossary.


To Accomplish Its Goals, HEI Energy:

  • Identifies and competitively funds high-priority areas for research
  • Empanels committees of experts to select, oversee, and review the research projects independently of our sponsors
  • Engages widely with communities in study locations and others interested in the research, with engagement beginning as we plan for research and continuing at key intervals thereafter
  • Communicates and interprets the results to public and private policymakers

Please check the Research page for more information about the research funded by HEI Energy.

Who Benefits:

Those who need high-quality, impartial science to inform decisions about unconventional oil and natural gas development (UOGD) including:

  • Communities
  • Government officials
  • Environmental and public health organizations
  • Industry
  • Researchers

Our History:

Prior to launching HEI Energy, the Health Effects Institute convened the Special Committee on Unconventional Oil and Gas Development to prepare a Strategic Research Agenda to help guide future research about the potential impacts from the onshore development of oil and natural gas from shale and other unconventional resources in the United States. 

To prepare the Research Agenda, the Special Committee evaluated peer-reviewed and grey literature. In addition, it hosted three workshops where various stakeholders and experts shared their expertise and recommendations to better understand the issues and research gaps surrounding UOGD. Information and slide presentations regarding those workshops can be found here

HEI Energy was formed to address a subset of questions from the Research Agenda about potential population exposures and health effects associated with UOGD. To ensure that the research it funds contributes important knowledge, the HEI Energy Research Committee oversees periodic reviews of the exposure and health literature.