Superfund Research Program

April 2023

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The PROTECT team implemented feedback from pilot tests to develop the PROTECT Responde initiative, a digital social media campaign to share information about environmental contaminants and their health effects on mothers and children. (Image courtesy of the PROTECT SRP Center.)

SRP-funded researchers created "Mi PROTECT" (Spanish for "My PROTECT"), a mobile application to communicate environmental exposure results to pregnant people residing in a highly polluted area in Puerto Rico. The application provides information in both English and Spanish to individuals participating in studies conducted by the Northeastern University Puerto Rican Testsite to Explore Contamination Threats (PROTECT) SRP Center.

"Reporting back results in an accessible and culturally appropriate way is important for the PROTECT cohort because we want the participants to understand their results, in lay terms and with context-appropriate examples," said Irene Lafarga Previdi, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher at the PROTECT SRP Center.

To develop the mobile application, researchers conducted a series of focus groups and interviews with study participants and health professionals to learn about interests and preferences for receiving information. Then, they conducted pilot tests to improve the platform to ensure that results are culturally appropriate, easy to understand, and address participant expectations for report back.

The contextualized results provided to individuals and communities can increase trust among study participants, boost environmental health literacy, improve study designs, and empower people to make informed decisions about reducing exposures, according to the team.

To learn more, see the NIEHS Environmental Factor newsletter.