Superfund Research Program
Research Translation Core
The Columbia Research Translation Core (RTC) focuses on a broad range of government partnerships, including several with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), and local, state, and international agencies concerned with the health impacts and geochemistry of Arsenic (As) and Manganese (Mn) exposures via drinking water, primarily from groundwater in the US and Bangladesh. Together with the Community Engagement Core (CEC) and Project scientists, the RTC engages in constructive collaborations with those who can benefit from the Center's extensive and integrated biomedical, geoscience, and geospatial expertise. The Columbia RTC widely disseminates, via monthly seminars/webinars, listservers, and numerous conferences, the Center's significant findings and helps to facilitate the timely application of innovative approaches for testing, treatment, and remediation.
Evidence of the "value added" from the Columbia RTC efforts over the past year includes that the state of NJ continues to support partnerships with staff time towards Columbia RTC activities, e.g., a water treatment vendor survey and a fourth educational video (this year on arsenic treatment options for home owners). Furthermore, the state of NJ even provided additional funds and staff time planning and carrying out a joint NJ-RTC-CEC survey of private well owners in northern NJ using the same methodology as the CEC's 2013 household surveys implemented in Maine. At the local government level, Rockland County publically credited RTC's Braman and his students for providing the county with the evidence-based scientific information necessary for the county to move forward on a water conservation initiative that was passed in June 2014. The objective evidence of the success of the monthly webinars include the attendees from state and federal agencies as well as the requests, such as those from the director of the NIEHS Linda Birnbaum, for copies of the presentations. In addition, the RTC's expertise with GIS and geospatial data has continued to be sought out in 2014 for their work on the NPL Superfund Footprint Mapper as well as to potentially host interagency workshops and discussions. Finally, the investigator team has carried out a wide array of research translation activities in the US and Bangladesh. Here are two highlights: first the National Research Council (NRC) Interim Report on "Critical Aspects of EPA's IRIS Assessment of Inorganic Arsenic" was released in 2014. It was the culmination of a NRC committee chaired by Graziano with input from a number of Columbia SRP scientists. Second, Graziano together with Columbia SRP scientists van Geen, Parvez and Matin summarized and discussed the key findings of Columbia's 15 years of arsenic research in Bangladesh at a meeting with the Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) and the Bangladesh Minister of Health on 17 June 2014.