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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: 31 December 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Sacoby Wilson

School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742-2611, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: community-based exposure assessment; environmental justice; community-based participatory research (CBPR)
Guest Editor
Mr. Al Richmond

Executive Director, Community Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH), Raleigh, NC 27605, USA
Website | E-Mail

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 1800 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 (5 papers)

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Research

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
Received: 14 March 2019 / Revised: 4 May 2019 / Accepted: 10 May 2019 / Published: 13 May 2019
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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
Received: 12 February 2019 / Revised: 19 April 2019 / Accepted: 19 April 2019 / Published: 25 April 2019
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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
Received: 31 December 2018 / Revised: 29 January 2019 / Accepted: 14 February 2019 / Published: 16 February 2019
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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
Received: 21 November 2018 / Revised: 21 January 2019 / Accepted: 22 January 2019 / Published: 26 January 2019
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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
Received: 6 December 2018 / Revised: 15 January 2019 / Accepted: 17 January 2019 / Published: 24 January 2019
PDF Full-text (295 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
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

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Meeting the Challenges of Evaluating Community-Based, Community Led Projects
Authors: Derek Bolton, June Brown, Nina Khazaezadeh, et al.
Affiliations: Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, and Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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