Special Issue "Community-Engaged Research to Promote Environmental Health, Sustainability, and Community Resiliency"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Sacoby Wilson
Website
Guest Editor
School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-2611, USA
Interests: community-based exposure assessment; environmental justice; community-based participatory research (CBPR)
Mr. Al Richmond
Website
Guest Editor
Executive Director, Community Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH), Raleigh, NC 27605, USA

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The built and social environments can have both salutogenic and pathogenic features that can influence health at the individual, population, and community levels. Issues such as urban sprawl, substandard housing, transportation inequities, lack of access to environmental amenities, including green space and clean rivers, poor access to food resources, including grocery stores, the presence of locally unwanted land uses and environmental hazards, such as chemical plants, landfills, and heavily trafficked roadways, as well as limited pedestrian friendly infrastructure, can lead to environmental injustice, negative health behaviors, and health inequities.

Community-engaged research has become very important in helping to study and address these problems. Through community-engaged research including community-based participatory research (CBPR), participatory action research (PAR), community citizen science, community-owned and managed research (COMR), community-university partnerships, etc., community-based organizations utilize their grassroots activism and resources, contextual expertise, and research partners to translate research to action to make their communities more sustainable, healthier, and resilient.

In this Special Issue, we are seeking papers that highlight community-engaged research, particularly CBPR, action-oriented, and citizen science projects that are addressing built and social environment issues, environmental injustice, health inequities, and community resiliency. The listed keywords suggest a few of the many possible topics.

Prof. Dr. Sacoby Wilson
Mr. Al Richmond
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Environmental Justice
  • Public Health
  • Environmental Health
  • Community-Engaged Research
  • Citizen Science
  • Community-based Participatory Research
  • Resiliency
  • Community-University Partnerships
  • Social Justice
  • Health Equity
  • Built Environment

Published Papers (30 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Mobilizing for Community Benefits to Assess Health and Promote Environmental Justice near the Gordie Howe International Bridge
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(13), 4680; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17134680 - 29 Jun 2020
Abstract
Transportation infrastructure decisions contribute to social, economic, and health inequities in the U.S. Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) may improve understanding of potential strategies to mitigate adverse effects on quality of life from planned developments. We use the Gordie Howe International Bridge (GHIB), currently [...] Read more.
Transportation infrastructure decisions contribute to social, economic, and health inequities in the U.S. Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) may improve understanding of potential strategies to mitigate adverse effects on quality of life from planned developments. We use the Gordie Howe International Bridge (GHIB), currently under construction in southwest Detroit, MI, as a case study to examine 15 years of community mobilization, which resulted in community benefits that included an HIA. We describe community engagement processes, household survey methods, and select findings of the baseline HIA, with a focus on their application to inform recommendations to promote quality of life. Baseline HIA results indicated significantly higher self-reported asthma rates among children living within 500 feet of trucking routes. Residents reported substantial economic (e.g., decreased home values), health (e.g., adverse outcomes, lack of health care access), and environmental (e.g., air pollution) concerns related to the GHIB. We discuss specific recommendations, based on HIA results, to reduce adverse impacts of the GHIB. These recommendations will inform ongoing community benefits negotiations. This case study provides lessons for community, academic, and government partners conducting HIAs, especially during building and operation of major infrastructure, and discusses their potential role in improving community engagement opportunities towards environmental justice. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Can a Community-Led Intervention Offering Social Support and Health Education Improve Maternal Health? A Repeated Measures Evaluation of the PACT Project Run in a Socially Deprived London Borough
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(8), 2795; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17082795 - 18 Apr 2020
Abstract
Social adversity can significantly influence the wellbeing of mothers and their children. Maternal health may be improved through strengthened support networks and better health literacy. Health improvement at the population level requires optimizing of the collaboration between statutory health services, civic organizations (e.g., [...] Read more.
Social adversity can significantly influence the wellbeing of mothers and their children. Maternal health may be improved through strengthened support networks and better health literacy. Health improvement at the population level requires optimizing of the collaboration between statutory health services, civic organizations (e.g., churches, schools), as well as community groups and parents. Two key elements in improving community engagement are co-production and community control. This study evaluated a co-produced and community-led project, PACT (Parents and Communities Together), for mothers in a deprived south London borough. The project offered social support and health education. Intended effects were improvements in mental health, health literacy, and social support, assessed by standardized measures in a pre-post design. Sixty-one mothers consented to take part in the evaluation. Significant improvements were found in mental health measures, in health literacy, for those with low literacy at baseline, and in overall and some specific aspects of social support. Satisfaction with the project was high. We found that the project engaged local populations that access statutory health services relatively less. We conclude that community-organized and community-led interventions in collaboration with statutory health services can increase accessibility and can improve mothers’ mental health and other health-related outcomes. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of a Community-Led Intervention in South London: How Much Standardization Is Possible?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2523; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072523 - 07 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
It is widely recognized that public health interventions benefit from community engagement and leadership, yet there are challenges to evaluating complex, community-led interventions assuming hierarchies of evidence derived from laboratory experimentation and clinical trials. Particular challenges include, first, the inconsistency of the intervention [...] Read more.
It is widely recognized that public health interventions benefit from community engagement and leadership, yet there are challenges to evaluating complex, community-led interventions assuming hierarchies of evidence derived from laboratory experimentation and clinical trials. Particular challenges include, first, the inconsistency of the intervention across sites and, second, the absence of researcher control over the sampling frame and methodology. This report highlights these challenges as they played out in the evaluation of a community-organized health project in South London. The project aimed to benefit maternal mental health, health literacy, and social capital, and especially to engage local populations known to have reduced contact with statutory services. We evaluated the project using two studies with different designs, sampling frames, and methodologies. In one, the sampling frame and methodology were under community control, permitting a comparison of change in outcomes before and after participation in the project. In the other, the sampling frame and methodology were under researcher control, permitting a case-control design. The two evaluations led to different results, however: participants in the community-controlled study showed benefits, while participants in the researcher-controlled study did not. The principal conclusions are that while there are severe challenges to evaluating a community-led health intervention using a controlled design, the measurement of pre-/post-participation changes in well-defined health outcomes should typically be a minimum evaluation requirement, and confidence in attributing causation of any positive changes to participation can be increased by use of interventions in the project and in the engagement process itself that have a credible theoretical and empirical basis. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Health Literacy in the Everyday Lives of Older Adults in Greece, Hungary, and the Netherlands
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2411; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072411 - 02 Apr 2020
Abstract
Health literacy (HL) encompasses someone’s knowledge and abilities to access and use health information in order to make appropriate health decisions in life. HL is particularly valuable in later life when health challenges grow. An individual’s HL is typically considered a fixed and [...] Read more.
Health literacy (HL) encompasses someone’s knowledge and abilities to access and use health information in order to make appropriate health decisions in life. HL is particularly valuable in later life when health challenges grow. An individual’s HL is typically considered a fixed and skills-based characteristic, without taking into account how these are situated in the context of everyday life. Also, lay perspectives on health literacy are relatively scarce. Therefore, the aim of this article is to explore the context-specific perspectives of older adults and health professionals on HL in later life in Greece, Hungary, and the Netherlands. We adopted a qualitative methodology and conducted 12 focus groups: seven with 50 older adults and five with 30 health professionals to gain insight into individual perspectives on HL as situated in the health care and everyday life contexts. An informed grounded theory approach was used in analyzing the data. The results are structured in three themes: (1) interactions with health professionals, (2) perceived quality of the health care system, and (3) managing health in the context of everyday life. An overarching finding is that, for older adults, HL reflects the demands placed on them when managing their health. In the experience of older adults, these demands are placed upon them by healthcare professionals, the healthcare system, as well as their everyday lives. Our findings underscore the importance of Critical Health Literacy (CHL) as that concept foregrounds that HL is context specific. Also, CHL has been argued to be a community characteristic, which is why we call for community-based approaches to improve HL. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Treating Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE): The Impact of Historical Environmental Context on Healthcare Perceptions and Decision-Making in Charleston, South Carolina
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2285; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072285 - 28 Mar 2020
Abstract
Introduction: Over 400,000 slaves were taken from Africa and brought to Charleston, South Carolina, as part of the transatlantic slave trade during the 18th and 19th centuries. Due to these negative historical events, the healthcare of African Americans in Charleston may be compromised [...] Read more.
Introduction: Over 400,000 slaves were taken from Africa and brought to Charleston, South Carolina, as part of the transatlantic slave trade during the 18th and 19th centuries. Due to these negative historical events, the healthcare of African Americans in Charleston may be compromised in regard to chronic illnesses and other conditions affecting minorities, such as lupus. Materials and Methods: The current study used an ethnographic approach to obtain the perspectives of lupus patients with the goal of identifying gaps within current research. In addition to patient perspectives, the geographical location of Charleston, South Carolina was considered through inquiries around culture, community, advocacy, and client/patient interaction to establish a narrative for the themes that emerged. Results: The eleven major themes identified were connectedness, knowledge, experience with lupus, compliance, clinical trial participation, career and planning for the future, visits, access to resources, lifestyle, transition from child to adult care, and an overarching theme of self-management. Conclusion: Understanding healthcare perceptions and decision-making among culturally diverse populations, particularly those who have been defined by centuries of substandard care, marginalization, exploitation, and distrust, is critical to the development of culturally tailored interventions designed to improve patient outcomes and reduce health disparities. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Building Interdisciplinary Partnerships for Community-Engaged Environmental Health Research in Appalachian Virginia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(5), 1695; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051695 - 05 Mar 2020
Abstract
This article describes a collaboration among a group of university faculty, undergraduate students, local governments, local residents, and U.S. Army staff to address long-standing concerns about the environmental health effects of an Army ammunition plant. The authors describe community-responsive scientific pilot studies that [...] Read more.
This article describes a collaboration among a group of university faculty, undergraduate students, local governments, local residents, and U.S. Army staff to address long-standing concerns about the environmental health effects of an Army ammunition plant. The authors describe community-responsive scientific pilot studies that examined potential environmental contamination and a related undergraduate research course that documented residents’ concerns, contextualized those concerns, and developed recommendations. We make a case for the value of resource-intensive university–community partnerships that promote the production of knowledge through collaborations across disciplinary paradigms (natural/physical sciences, social sciences, health sciences, and humanities) in response to questions raised by local residents. Our experience also suggests that enacting this type of research through a university class may help promote researchers’ adoption of “epistemological pluralism”, and thereby facilitate the movement of a study from being “multidisciplinary” to “transdisciplinary”. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Developing Youth Environmental Health Literacy and Civic Leadership through Community Air Monitoring in Imperial County, California
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(5), 1537; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051537 - 27 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
With a rapidly changing climate, new leaders must be trained to understand and act on emerging environmental threats. In California’s Imperial Valley, a collaborative of community members, researchers, and scientists developed a community air monitoring network to provide local residents with better air [...] Read more.
With a rapidly changing climate, new leaders must be trained to understand and act on emerging environmental threats. In California’s Imperial Valley, a collaborative of community members, researchers, and scientists developed a community air monitoring network to provide local residents with better air quality information. To expand the reach of the project and to prepare the next generation of youth leaders we developed an internship program to increase environmental health literacy and civic leadership. In the 10-week program, high school students learned about air quality science, respiratory health, community air monitoring, and policies intended to improve air quality. The students learned to present this information to their peers, neighbors, family, and community leaders. The program used participatory approaches familiar to community-engaged research to center the students’ experience. Surveys and interviews with the students were used to assess the program and found that the students became more familiar with air quality policies, increased their ability to use air monitoring resources, and increased their own confidence in their ability to effect change. With the growing threats related to environmental hazards, it is vital to prepare youth leaders to understand, communicate, and act. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Aligning Community-Engaged Research to Context
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1187; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041187 - 13 Feb 2020
Abstract
Community-engaged research is understood as existing on a continuum from less to more community engagement, defined by participation and decision-making authority. It has been widely assumed that more is better than less engagement. However, we argue that what makes for good community engagement [...] Read more.
Community-engaged research is understood as existing on a continuum from less to more community engagement, defined by participation and decision-making authority. It has been widely assumed that more is better than less engagement. However, we argue that what makes for good community engagement is not simply the extent but the fit or alignment between the intended approach and the various contexts shaping the research projects. This article draws on case studies from three Community Engagement Cores (CECs) of NIEHS-funded Environmental Health Science Core Centers (Harvard University, UC Davis and University of Arizona,) to illustrate the ways in which community engagement approaches have been fit to different contexts and the successes and challenges experienced in each case. We analyze the processes through which the CECs work with researchers and community leaders to develop place-based community engagement approaches and find that different strategies are called for to fit distinct contexts. We find that alignment of the scale and scope of the environmental health issue and related research project, the capacities and resources of the researchers and community leaders, and the influences of the sociopolitical environment are critical for understanding and designing effective and equitable engagement approaches. These cases demonstrate that the types and degrees of alignment in community-engaged research projects are dynamic and evolve over time. Based on this analysis, we recommend that CBPR scholars and practitioners select a range of project planning and management techniques for designing and implementing their collaborative research approaches and both expect and allow for the dynamic and changing nature of alignment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
HGBEnviroScreen: Enabling Community Action through Data Integration in the Houston–Galveston–Brazoria Region
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1130; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041130 - 11 Feb 2020
Abstract
The Houston–Galveston–Brazoria (HGB) region faces numerous environmental and public health challenges from both natural disasters and industrial activity, but the historically disadvantaged communities most often impacted by such risks have limited ability to access and utilize big data for advocacy efforts. We developed [...] Read more.
The Houston–Galveston–Brazoria (HGB) region faces numerous environmental and public health challenges from both natural disasters and industrial activity, but the historically disadvantaged communities most often impacted by such risks have limited ability to access and utilize big data for advocacy efforts. We developed HGBEnviroScreen to identify and prioritize regions of heightened vulnerability, in part to assist communities in understanding risk factors and developing environmental justice action plans. While similar in objectives to existing environmental justice tools, HGBEnviroScreen is unique in its ability to integrate and visualize national and local data to address regional concerns. For the 1090 census tracts in the HGB region, we accrued data into five domains: (i) social vulnerability, (ii) baseline health, (iii) environmental exposures and risks, (iv) environmental sources, and (v) flooding. We then integrated and visualized these data using the Toxicological Prioritization Index (ToxPi). We found that the highest vulnerability census tracts have multifactorial risk factors, with common drivers being flooding, social vulnerability, and proximity to environmental sources. Thus, HGBEnviroScreen is not only helping identify communities of greatest overall vulnerability but is also providing insights into which domains would most benefit from improved planning, policy, and action in order to reduce future vulnerability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Community-Engaged Air Monitoring to Build Resilience Near the US-Mexico Border
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 1092; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17031092 - 09 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Initiated in response to community concerns about high levels of air pollution and asthma, the Imperial County Community Air Monitoring Project was conducted as a collaboration between a community-based organization, a non-governmental environmental health program, and academic researchers. This community-engaged research project aimed [...] Read more.
Initiated in response to community concerns about high levels of air pollution and asthma, the Imperial County Community Air Monitoring Project was conducted as a collaboration between a community-based organization, a non-governmental environmental health program, and academic researchers. This community-engaged research project aimed to produce real-time, community-level air quality information through the establishment of a community air monitoring network (CAMN) of 40 low-cost particulate matter (PM) monitors in Imperial County, California. Methods used to involve the community partner organization and residents in the development, operation, and use of the CAMN included the following: (1) establishing equitable partnerships among the project collaborators; (2) forming a community steering committee to guide project activities; (3) engaging residents in data collection to determine monitor sites; (4) providing hands-on training to assemble and operate the air monitors; (5) conducting focus groups to guide display and dissemination of monitoring data; and (6) conducting trainings on community action planning. This robust community engagement in the project resulted in increased awareness, knowledge, capacity, infrastructure, and influence for the community partner organization and among community participants. Even after the conclusion of the original research grant funding for this project, the CAMN continues to be operated and sustained by the community partner, serving as a community resource used by residents, schools, researchers, and others to better understand and address air pollution and its impacts on community health, while strengthening the ability of the community to prepare for, respond to, and recover from harmful air pollution. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Citizen Science-Informed Community Master Planning: Land Use and Built Environment Changes to Increase Flood Resilience and Decrease Contaminant Exposure
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 486; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020486 - 12 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Communities adjacent to concentrated areas of industrial land use (CAILU) are exposed to elevated levels of pollutants during flood disasters. Many CAILU are also characterized by insufficient infrastructure, poor environmental quality, and socially vulnerable populations. Manchester, TX is a marginalized CAILU neighborhood proximate [...] Read more.
Communities adjacent to concentrated areas of industrial land use (CAILU) are exposed to elevated levels of pollutants during flood disasters. Many CAILU are also characterized by insufficient infrastructure, poor environmental quality, and socially vulnerable populations. Manchester, TX is a marginalized CAILU neighborhood proximate to several petrochemical industrial sites that is prone to frequent flooding. Pollutants from stormwater runoff discharge from industrial land uses into residential areas have created increased toxicant exposures. Working with local organizations, centers/institutes, stakeholders, and residents, public health researchers sampled air, water, indoor dust, and outdoor soil while researchers from landscape architecture and urban planning applied these findings to develop a community-scaled master plan. The plan utilizes land use and built environment changes to increase flood resiliency and decrease exposure to contaminants. Using a combination of models to assess the performance, costs, and benefits of green infrastructure and pollutant load impacts, the master plan is projected to capture 147,456 cubic feet of runoff, and create $331,400 of annual green benefits by reducing air pollution and energy use, providing pollution treatment, increase carbon dioxide sequestration, and improve groundwater replenishment. Simultaneously, there is a 41% decrease across all analyzed pollutants, reducing exposure to and transferal of toxic materials. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Guidance for Genuine Collaboration: Insights from Academic, Tribal, and Community Partner Interviews on a New Research Partnership
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 5132; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16245132 - 16 Dec 2019
Abstract
As community engaged research (CEnR) increases in popularity and recognition, specific guidance on partnership approaches that are more likely to lead to community benefits is needed. Here, we describe a qualitative interview study aimed at better understanding community and academic perspectives on elements [...] Read more.
As community engaged research (CEnR) increases in popularity and recognition, specific guidance on partnership approaches that are more likely to lead to community benefits is needed. Here, we describe a qualitative interview study aimed at better understanding community and academic perspectives on elements of genuine collaboration within a project’s new community–academic partnership. This partnership involved a large, public, urban university, a tribal nation government program, a small, rural, community-based university, and a local high school working together to develop CEnR on air quality. Interview questions were formulated from a literature review examining the relationships between trust, cultural relevance, and community involvement in research with partnership processes, roles, and strengths. Twelve semi-structured interviews were conducted with individuals from the community–academic partnership: six University of Washington research team members and six community partners. Guidance for an authentic collaborative partnership supported by interview analyses includes incorporating elements of partnership and project sustainability from the earliest phases and throughout; promoting funding mechanism responsiveness to relationship building and community partner involvement in budget decision-making; acknowledging community strengths, knowledge, and expertise and applying them; establishing roles that reflect community partner capacity building goals; and recognizing community diversity and dynamics to promote representation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Understanding Social-Ecological Challenges of a Small-Scale Hilsa (Tenualosa ilisha) Fishery in Bangladesh
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4814; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234814 - 29 Nov 2019
Abstract
Small-scale fisheries (SSFs) have been playing a crucial role in meeting the basic needs of millions of people around the world. Despite this, the sustainability of global fisheries is a growing concern, and the factors enabling or constraining the sustainable management of small-scale [...] Read more.
Small-scale fisheries (SSFs) have been playing a crucial role in meeting the basic needs of millions of people around the world. Despite this, the sustainability of global fisheries is a growing concern, and the factors enabling or constraining the sustainable management of small-scale fisheries remain poorly understood. Hilsa shad (Tenualosa ilisha) is the single most valuable species harvested in Bangladesh waters, serves nutrition, income, and employment to the large population. This study analyzed the state and challenges of hilsa fishery in the Gangetic River systems (Padma and Meghna Rivers) by using two frameworks, namely the social-ecological systems (SES) and drivers-pressure-state-impact-responses (DPSIR) frameworks. Primary data for this analysis were collected by in-depth interviews (n = 130) and focus group discussions (n = 8) with various stakeholders in the hilsa fisheries. The perspectives explored here have been both critical and constructive, including the identification of problems and suggestions for improving the management of this particular social-ecological system. Hilsa fisheries, however, have come under severe threat since 2003 because of population growth, overfishing, pollution, climate change, the disruption of migration routes due to siltation, etc. All these have caused reduced catches and less stable incomes for fishers. This, in turn, has led to poverty, malnutrition, social tensions, stakeholder conflicts, and debt cycles amongst more impoverished fishing communities. These problems have been compounded by improved fishing technology amongst larger-scale ventures, the use of illegal fishing gears, and the non-compliance of government fishery management programs. Recommendations include the promotion of community-supported fisheries, the enhancement of stakeholder’s social resilience, the introduction of co-management approach, an increase in incentives and formal financial supports, and possible community-managed sustainable ecotourism including hilsa fishing-based tourism. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Washington State Environmental Health Disparities Map: Development of a Community-Responsive Cumulative Impacts Assessment Tool
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4470; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224470 - 13 Nov 2019
Abstract
Communities across Washington State have expressed the need for neighborhood-level information on the cumulative impact of environmental hazards and social conditions to illuminate disparities and address environmental justice issues. Many existing mapping tools have not explicitly integrated community voice and lived experience as [...] Read more.
Communities across Washington State have expressed the need for neighborhood-level information on the cumulative impact of environmental hazards and social conditions to illuminate disparities and address environmental justice issues. Many existing mapping tools have not explicitly integrated community voice and lived experience as an integral part of their development. The goals of this project were to create a new community–academic–government partnership to collect and summarize community concerns and to develop a publicly available mapping tool that ranks relative environmental health disparities for populations across Washington State. Using a community-driven framework, we developed the Washington Environmental Health Disparities Map, a cumulative environmental health impacts assessment tool. Nineteen regularly updated environmental and population indicators were integrated into the geospatial tool that allows for comparisons of the cumulative impacts between census tracts. This interactive map provides critical information for the public, agencies, policymakers, and community-based organizations to make informed decisions. The unique community–academic–government partnership and the community-driven framework can be used as a template for other environmental and social justice mapping endeavors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Communication and Community Involvement to Support Risk Governance
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4356; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224356 - 08 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In past years, communication activities have become increasingly important in the environment and health domain, considering the concurrent developments of social media and scientific citizenship that contributed changes in legislation and culture. Communication is particularly crucial where an environmental hazard is present, as [...] Read more.
In past years, communication activities have become increasingly important in the environment and health domain, considering the concurrent developments of social media and scientific citizenship that contributed changes in legislation and culture. Communication is particularly crucial where an environmental hazard is present, as in the case of high risk environmental and health risk areas. The project “International Center of Advanced Study in Environment, Ecosystem and Human Health” (CISAS), carried out by the Italian National Research Council, covers multiple research activities, from ecology to biology and medical sciences, from epidemiology to social sciences and communication. Three different studies based on human biomonitoring and a birth cohort study are currently in progress in the project locations, together with studies on the environmental fate of pollutants. A clear, accurate and respectful communication of study protocols and results represents a priority to produce comprehensible information available for policy makers, citizens, and stakeholders. This paper describes the multiple external and internal communication activities planned in the framework of the CISAS project as an example of promotion of knowledge in the society at large and improvement of risk management in the environmental health domain. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Development and Evaluation of a Training Program for Community-Based Participatory Research in Breast Cancer
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4310; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224310 - 06 Nov 2019
Abstract
This paper describes the development and feasibility of the Community Based Research Infrastructure to Better Science (CRIBS) training. The goal of this training program was to help new or existing community-academic teams to build strong partnerships and successfully develop together fundable research projects [...] Read more.
This paper describes the development and feasibility of the Community Based Research Infrastructure to Better Science (CRIBS) training. The goal of this training program was to help new or existing community-academic teams to build strong partnerships and successfully develop together fundable research projects focused on breast cancer environmental causes and disparities. A comprehensive mixed-methods participatory approach was utilized to assess the training. Twenty-two community-academic teams applied for the training program; twelve teams were enrolled. All teams completed the training and subsequently submitted research applications for funding. All components of the training received high ratings and positive qualitative comments. Self-rated competency in all of the learning domains increased during the training. Four (33%) of teams were successful in their first attempt to garner research funding, and six (50%) were eventually successful. The evaluation of CRIBS found it to have successfully achieved all four goals of the training: (1) Twelve new CBPR (community-based participatory research) teams, (2) improved knowledge about CBPR and science, (3) twelve submitted grant proposals in the first year, and (4) six (50%) successfully funded research projects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Community-Engaged Research for the Promotion of Healthy Urban Environments: A Case Study of Community Garden Initiative in Shanghai, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(21), 4145; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16214145 - 28 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The importance of community gardens in a healthy urban environment has been extensively documented, while the garden building involving communities has not been much explored in fast-developing cities. This study examines community engagement in garden building activities in a rapid urbanization context, aiming [...] Read more.
The importance of community gardens in a healthy urban environment has been extensively documented, while the garden building involving communities has not been much explored in fast-developing cities. This study examines community engagement in garden building activities in a rapid urbanization context, aiming to explore the application of community-engaged research methods for the promotion of neighbourhood environments. The Community Garden Initiative consisting of an array of progressive actions is formulated by the research team, featuring a process of increasing involvement of community members and decreasing intensity of external interventions. These activities have been launched based on community-university partnerships in Shanghai since 2014, synchronising with a transformation of urban regeneration paradigm in China where people-oriented approaches are more emphasized. Five actions covering 70 community gardens are analysed through surveys on participants’ attitudes and perceptions towards the activities. The results of the study presented people’s rapid acceptance of participation in public affairs, reflected possible measures to promote public participation, and confirmed the positive impacts of the garden building on the neighbourhood environmental health as well as on the community-building. Taking into account that residents generally lack the consciousness and capacities required to implement actions at the initial stage of community engagement, we proposed in the conclusion to start with external interventions and capacity buildings carried out by professionals as a supplement to the ‘community-driven’ principle of CBPR methods. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Addressing Cardiovascular Health Disparities in Minnesota: Establishment of a Community Steering Committee by FAITH! (Fostering African-American Improvement in Total Health)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(21), 4144; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16214144 - 28 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Despite its rank as the fourth healthiest state in the United States, Minnesota has clear cardiovascular disease disparities between African-Americans and whites. Culturally-tailored interventions implemented using community-based participatory research (CBPR) principles have been vital to improving health and wellness among African-Americans. This paper [...] Read more.
Despite its rank as the fourth healthiest state in the United States, Minnesota has clear cardiovascular disease disparities between African-Americans and whites. Culturally-tailored interventions implemented using community-based participatory research (CBPR) principles have been vital to improving health and wellness among African-Americans. This paper delineates the establishment, impact, and lessons learned from the formation of a community steering committee (CSC) to guide the Fostering African-American Improvement in Total Health (FAITH!) Program, a CBPR cardiovascular health promotion initiative among African-Americans in Minnesota. The theory-informed CSC implementation process included three phases: (1) Membership Formation and Recruitment, (2) Engagement, and (3) Covenant Development and Empowerment. The CSC is comprised of ten diverse community members guided by mutually agreed upon bylaws in their commitment to FAITH!. Overall, members considered the CSC implementation process effective and productive. A CBPR conceptual model provided an outline of proximal and distal goals for the CSC and FAITH!. The CSC implementation process yielded four lessons learned: (1) Have clarity of purpose and vision, (2) cultivate group cohesion, (3) employ consistent review of CBPR tenets, and (4) expect the unexpected. A robust CSC was established and was instrumental to the success and impact of FAITH! within African-American communities in Minnesota. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of the Local Agenda 21 in Madrid Compared with Other Global Actions in Sustainable Development
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(19), 3685; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193685 - 30 Sep 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Over the last two decades, numerous towns have been involved in the Local Agenda 21 program in Spain, which is founded on social participation. In the wake of this initiative, the recent promotion of the new Spanish Urban Agenda by the national government [...] Read more.
Over the last two decades, numerous towns have been involved in the Local Agenda 21 program in Spain, which is founded on social participation. In the wake of this initiative, the recent promotion of the new Spanish Urban Agenda by the national government seeks to implement the 2030 Agenda in municipalities nationwide. This research aims to examine the Local Agenda 21 process by using Madrid as a case study to determine the lessons learned to enable the effective application of the new Spanish Urban Agenda. A total of 3712 activities included in the action plans of the 21 districts of Madrid were analyzed to identify linkages with the Sustainable Development Goals and the targets of Sustainable Development Goal # 11 (“Sustainable cities and communities”). Methodologies used were solely oriented to develop an ad hoc Local Agenda 21 plan for each district, hindering the comparison of schemes and findings. Social, institutional, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development were not equally considered by the plans, being the first two aspects the most predominant. Social engagement hardly reached 0.44% of the registered population. The contribution of all action plans to the sustainable development of Madrid was not assessed due to the absence of indicators in the program. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Rapid Health Impact Assessment of a Proposed Poultry Processing Plant in Millsboro, Delaware
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(18), 3429; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183429 - 16 Sep 2019
Abstract
In 2013, Allen Harim Foods purchased the former site of a Vlasic Pickle plant in Millsboro, Delaware, and proposed to convert the site into a poultry processing plant that would process approximately two million birds weekly. This generated concerns about the proposed plant’s [...] Read more.
In 2013, Allen Harim Foods purchased the former site of a Vlasic Pickle plant in Millsboro, Delaware, and proposed to convert the site into a poultry processing plant that would process approximately two million birds weekly. This generated concerns about the proposed plant’s potential to impact health and quality of life among residents. We conducted a rapid health impact assessment (HIA) of the proposed plant to assess baseline environmental health issues in the host community and projected impacts. The scoping and baseline assessment revealed social, economic, and health disparities in the region. We also determined that residents in the area were already underserved and overburdened with pollution from multiple environmental hazards near the proposed plant including two sites contaminated with hazardous wastes, a power plant, and another poultry processing plant. The projected size and amount of poultry to be processed at the plant would likely cause increased levels of air, soil and water pollution, additional odor issues, and increased traffic and related pollution and safety issues. The information generated from the HIA formed the basis of a campaign to raise awareness about potential problems associated with the new facility and to foster more engagement of impacted residents in local decision-making about the proposed plant. In the end, the HIA helped concerned residents oppose the new poultry processing plant. This case study provides an example of how HIAs can be used as a tool to educate residents, raise awareness about environmental justice issues, and enhance meaningful engagement in local environmental decision-making processes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Collaborative Workshops for Community Meaning-Making and Data Analyses: How Focus Groups Strengthen Data by Enhancing Understanding and Promoting Use
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(18), 3352; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183352 - 11 Sep 2019
Abstract
Community-based participatory research is a growing approach, but often includes higher levels of community engagement in the research design and data collection stages than in the data interpretation stage. Involving study participants in this stage could further knowledge justice, science that aligns with [...] Read more.
Community-based participatory research is a growing approach, but often includes higher levels of community engagement in the research design and data collection stages than in the data interpretation stage. Involving study participants in this stage could further knowledge justice, science that aligns with and supports social justice agendas. This article reports on two community-based participatory environmental health surveys conducted between 2015 and 2019 in an industrial region near Marseille, France, and focuses specifically on our approach of organizing focus groups to directly involve residents and community stakeholders in the analysis and interpretation process. We found that, in these focus groups, residents triangulated across many different sources of information—study findings, local knowledge, and different types of expert knowledge—to reach conclusions about the health of their community and make recommendations for what should be done to improve community health outcomes. We conclude that involving residents in the data analysis and interpretation stage can promote epistemic justice and lead to final reports that are more useful to community stakeholders and decision-makers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Shifting from “Community-Placed” to “Community-Based” Research to Advance Health Equity: A Case Study of the Heatwaves, Housing, and Health: Increasing Climate Resiliency in Detroit (HHH) Partnership
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(18), 3310; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183310 - 09 Sep 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Extreme summertime heat is a significant public health threat that disproportionately impacts vulnerable urban populations. Research on health impacts of climate change (including increasing intensity, duration, and frequency of hot weather) is sometimes designed and implemented without the involvement of the communities being [...] Read more.
Extreme summertime heat is a significant public health threat that disproportionately impacts vulnerable urban populations. Research on health impacts of climate change (including increasing intensity, duration, and frequency of hot weather) is sometimes designed and implemented without the involvement of the communities being studied, i.e., “community-placed” not “community-based.” We describe how the Heatwaves, Housing, and Health: Increasing Climate Resiliency in Detroit (HHH) partnership engaged relevant communities by integrating a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach into an existing, academic-designed research project through a steering committee of community and academic partners. Using a case study approach, we analyze program documentation, partnership evaluation questionnaires, and HHH steering committee meeting notes. We describe the CBPR process by which we successfully collected research data in Detroit during summer 2016, engaged in collaborative analysis of data, and shared results with Detroit residents. Evaluations of the partnership over 2 years show community involvement in research; enhanced capacities; success in securing new grant funding; and ways that CBPR strengthened the validity, relevance, and translation of research. Engaging communities as equal partners using CBPR, even after a study is underway, can strengthen research to understand and address the impacts of extreme heat on health and equity in urban communities. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Building Vulnerability in a Changing Climate: Indoor Temperature Exposures and Health Outcomes in Older Adults Living in Public Housing during an Extreme Heat Event in Cambridge, MA
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(13), 2373; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16132373 - 04 Jul 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
In the Northeastern U.S., future heatwaves will increase in frequency, duration, and intensity due to climate change. A great deal of the research about the health impacts from extreme heat has used ambient meteorological measurements, which can result in exposure misclassification because buildings [...] Read more.
In the Northeastern U.S., future heatwaves will increase in frequency, duration, and intensity due to climate change. A great deal of the research about the health impacts from extreme heat has used ambient meteorological measurements, which can result in exposure misclassification because buildings alter indoor temperatures and ambient temperatures are not uniform across cities. To characterize indoor temperature exposures during an extreme heat event in buildings with and without central air conditioning (AC), personal monitoring was conducted with 51 (central AC, n = 24; non-central AC, n = 27) low-income senior residents of public housing in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2015, to comprehensively assess indoor temperatures, sleep, and physiological outcomes of galvanic skin response (GSR) and heart rate (HR), along with daily surveys of adaptive behaviors and health symptoms. As expected, non-central AC units (Tmean = 25.6 °C) were significantly warmer than those with central AC (Tmean = 23.2 °C, p < 0.001). With higher indoor temperatures, sleep was more disrupted and GSR and HR both increased (p < 0.001). However, there were no changes in hydration behaviors between residents of different buildings over time and few moderate/several health symptoms were reported. This suggests both a lack of behavioral adaptation and thermal decompensation beginning, highlighting the need to improve building cooling strategies and heat education to low-income senior residents, especially in historically cooler climates. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Use of Planning Training Courses and Activities to Enhance the Understanding of Eco-Community Planning Concepts in Participatory Planning Workshop Participants: A Case Study in Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(9), 1666; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16091666 - 13 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In recent years, in order to make community planning content closer to people’s life needs and psychological expectations, and to obtain the support of the people, “citizen participatory planning” and “community-engagement” have become two important strategies of the community planning process. In this [...] Read more.
In recent years, in order to make community planning content closer to people’s life needs and psychological expectations, and to obtain the support of the people, “citizen participatory planning” and “community-engagement” have become two important strategies of the community planning process. In this study, an indigenous people participatory planning workshop was conducted with the support of government funds, and pre-training and post-training questionnaires were completed by the participants of the planning training of the citizen participation planning. Through questionnaire analysis, this study obtained data of the participants’ cognitive status related to community planning and analyzed the basic background of the participants in order to determine the effectiveness of the planning training. According to the results of this study, most of the participating citizens had a basic understanding of the “community environment”, “the relationship between ecological knowledge and community planning”, and “community identity” before the training. Moreover, the research results also confirm that planning training can effectively enhance participants’ understanding of community planning, spatial planning, planning tools, planning laws, and the environment of the community. Additionally, planning training also contributes to the implementation of participatory decision-making and the promotion of public support for planning content. However, it is necessary to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the needs of participants, and to make appropriate adjustments to the planning training courses and activities in order to obtain stable training effectiveness and build the basic ability of citizens with respect to participatory planning. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Hybrid Resiliency-Stressor Conceptual Framework for Informing Decision Support Tools and Addressing Environmental Injustice and Health Inequities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(8), 1466; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16081466 - 25 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
While structural factors may drive health inequities, certain health-promoting attributes of one’s “place” known as salutogens may further moderate the cumulative impacts of exposures to socio-environmental stressors that behave as pathogens. Understanding the synergistic relationship between socio-environmental stressors and resilience factors is a [...] Read more.
While structural factors may drive health inequities, certain health-promoting attributes of one’s “place” known as salutogens may further moderate the cumulative impacts of exposures to socio-environmental stressors that behave as pathogens. Understanding the synergistic relationship between socio-environmental stressors and resilience factors is a critical component in reducing health inequities; however, the catalyst for this concept relies on community-engaged research approaches to ultimately strengthen resiliency and promote health. Furthermore, this concept has not been fully integrated into environmental justice and cumulative risk assessment screening tools designed to identify geospatial variability in environmental factors that may be associated with health inequities. As a result, we propose a hybrid resiliency-stressor conceptual framework to inform the development of environmental justice and cumulative risk assessment screening tools that can detect environmental inequities and opportunities for resilience in vulnerable populations. We explore the relationship between actual exposures to socio-environmental stressors, perceptions of stressors, and one’s physiological and psychological stress response to environmental stimuli, which collectively may perpetuate health inequities by increasing allostatic load and initiating disease onset. This comprehensive framework expands the scope of existing screening tools to inform action-based solutions that rely on community-engaged research efforts to increase resiliency and promote positive health outcomes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
“Mejorando Nuestras Oportunidades”: Engaging Urban Youth in Environmental Health Assessment and Advocacy to Improve Health and Outdoor Play Spaces
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(4), 571; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040571 - 16 Feb 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Youth can be valuable partners in community health improvement efforts. Latino youth from Lawrence, MA were engaged in research and health promotion over an 11-month period. Utilizing their knowledge of the community, youth assessed local parks and carried out evidence-based health promotion efforts [...] Read more.
Youth can be valuable partners in community health improvement efforts. Latino youth from Lawrence, MA were engaged in research and health promotion over an 11-month period. Utilizing their knowledge of the community, youth assessed local parks and carried out evidence-based health promotion efforts to communicate community resources to encourage physical activity, nurture community ownership of parks, and advocate for park improvements. Health promotion efforts can engage youth in strategies to address critical public health issues by leveraging their unique perspective and distinct location within communities. The communications developed by the youth were distributed within the community, benefiting residents directly. Youth were motivated to engage in the project by a sense of civic obligation, and upon completing the project, they expressed that they had gained research and communication skills and were inspired to continue to support their community. Youth engagement in applied research and health promotion at the local level can provide a foundation for community health improvement efforts that are relevant for distinct communities, while fostering the positive development of youth, and nurturing community-driven efforts to help create a healthier environment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Utilization of the Maryland Environmental Justice Screening Tool: A Bladensburg, Maryland Case Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(3), 348; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16030348 - 26 Jan 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Maryland residents’ knowledge of environmental hazards and their health effects is limited, partly due to the absence of tools to map and visualize distribution of risk factors across sociodemographic groups. This study discusses the development of the Maryland EJSCREEN (MD EJSCREEN) tool by [...] Read more.
Maryland residents’ knowledge of environmental hazards and their health effects is limited, partly due to the absence of tools to map and visualize distribution of risk factors across sociodemographic groups. This study discusses the development of the Maryland EJSCREEN (MD EJSCREEN) tool by the National Center for Smart Growth in partnership with faculty at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. The tool assesses environmental justice risks similarly to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) EJSCREEN tool and California’s tool, CalEnviroScreen 3.0. We discuss the architecture and functionality of the tool, indicators of importance, and how it compares to USEPA’s EJSCREEN and CalEnviroScreen. We demonstrate the use of MD EJSCREEN through a case study on Bladensburg, Maryland, a town in Prince George’s County (PG) with several environmental justice concerns including air pollution from traffic and a concrete plant. Comparison reveals that environmental and demographic indicators in MD EJSCREEN most closely resemble those in EPA EJSCREEN, while the scoring is most similar to CalEnviroScreen. Case study results show that Bladensburg has a Prince George’s environmental justice score of 0.99, and that National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) air toxics cancer risk is concentrated in communities of color. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Designing and Facilitating Collaborative Research Design and Data Analysis Workshops: Lessons Learned in the Healthy Neighborhoods Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(3), 324; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16030324 - 24 Jan 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
One impediment to expanding the prevalence and quality of community-engaged research is a shortage of instructive resources for collaboratively designing research instruments and analyzing data with community members. This article describes how a consortium of community residents, grassroots community organizations, and academic and [...] Read more.
One impediment to expanding the prevalence and quality of community-engaged research is a shortage of instructive resources for collaboratively designing research instruments and analyzing data with community members. This article describes how a consortium of community residents, grassroots community organizations, and academic and public institutions implemented collaborative research design and data analysis processes as part of a participatory action research (PAR) study investigating the relationship between neighborhoods and health in the greater Boston area. We report how nine different groups of community residents were engaged in developing a multi-dimensional survey instrument, generating and testing hypotheses, and interpreting descriptive statistics and preliminary findings. We conclude by reflecting on the importance of balancing planned strategies for building and sustaining resident engagement with improvisational facilitation that is responsive to residents’ characteristics, interests and needs in the design and execution of collaborative research design and data analysis processes. Full article

Review

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Open AccessReview
A Scoping Review of Capacity-Building Efforts to Address Environmental Justice Concerns
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 3765; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17113765 - 26 May 2020
Abstract
Environmental justice (EJ) efforts aimed at capacity building are essential to addressing environmental health disparities; however, limited attention has been given to describing these efforts. This study reports findings from a scoping review of community–academic partnerships and community-led efforts to address environmental inequities [...] Read more.
Environmental justice (EJ) efforts aimed at capacity building are essential to addressing environmental health disparities; however, limited attention has been given to describing these efforts. This study reports findings from a scoping review of community–academic partnerships and community-led efforts to address environmental inequities related to air, water, and land pollution in the United States. Literature published in peer-reviewed journals from January 1986 through March 2018 were included, and community capacity theory was applied as a framework for understanding the scope of capacity-building and community change strategies to address EJ concerns. Paired teams of independent analysts conducted a search for relevant articles (n = 8452 citations identified), filtered records for content abstraction and possible inclusion (n = 163) and characterized selected studies (n = 58). Most articles implemented activities that were aligned with community capacity dimensions of citizen participation (96.4%, n = 53), community power (78%, n = 45), leadership (78%, n = 45), and networks (81%, n = 47); few articles identified a direct policy change (22%, n = 13), and many articles discussed the policy implications of findings for future work (62%, n = 36). This review synthesizes three decades of efforts to reduce environmental inequities and identifies strategic approaches used for strengthening community capacity. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Advancing Global Health through Environmental and Public Health Tracking
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 1976; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17061976 - 17 Mar 2020
Abstract
Global environmental change has degraded ecosystems. Challenges such as climate change, resource depletion (with its huge implications for human health and wellbeing), and persistent social inequalities in health have been identified as global public health issues with implications for both communicable and noncommunicable [...] Read more.
Global environmental change has degraded ecosystems. Challenges such as climate change, resource depletion (with its huge implications for human health and wellbeing), and persistent social inequalities in health have been identified as global public health issues with implications for both communicable and noncommunicable diseases. This contributes to pressure on healthcare systems, as well as societal systems that affect health. A novel strategy to tackle these multiple, interacting and interdependent drivers of change is required to protect the population’s health. Public health professionals have found that building strong, enduring interdisciplinary partnerships across disciplines can address environment and health complexities, and that developing Environmental and Public Health Tracking (EPHT) systems has been an effective tool. EPHT aims to merge, integrate, analyse and interpret environmental hazards, exposure and health data. In this article, we explain that public health decision-makers can use EPHT insights to drive public health actions, reduce exposure and prevent the occurrence of disease more precisely in efficient and cost-effective ways. An international network exists for practitioners and researchers to monitor and use environmental health intelligence, and to support countries and local areas toward sustainable and healthy development. A global network of EPHT programs and professionals has the potential to advance global health by implementing and sharing experience, to magnify the impact of local efforts and to pursue data knowledge improvement strategies, aiming to recognise and support best practices. EPHT can help increase the understanding of environmental public health and global health, improve comparability of risks between different areas of the world including Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), enable transparency and trust among citizens, institutions and the private sector, and inform preventive decision making consistent with sustainable and healthy development. This shows how EPHT advances global health efforts by sharing recent global EPHT activities and resources with those working in this field. Experiences from the US, Europe, Asia and Australasia are outlined for operating successful tracking systems to advance global health. Full article
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