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University of Washington

Superfund Research Program

Community Engagement Core

Project Leader: Thomas Burbacher
Co-Investigator: Katie Frevert
Grant Number: P42ES004696
Funding Period: 2015-2023
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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Project Summary (2015-2017)

The Community Engagement Core (CEC) plays a special role in the Superfund Research Program. CEC staff typically becomes the "face" of the program to the public and, as such, provides an important service to investigators, core directors, and staff of the program. CEC staff assists the Research Translation Core by helping identify and contact stakeholders for the research conducted in the SRP. The CEC also builds bi- directional relationships with community organizations and agencies involved in hazardous waste site clean- up. The CEC has a long history of working with government agencies, Tribal Nations, community groups and coalitions, health professionals, and individual stakeholders to address environmental problems of concern. The CEC is building on the strengths of the UW SRP Center as well as expanding their activities and partnerships.

The Core aims to:

  • Build upon previous collaborations with the Northwest Toxic Communities Coalition (NWTCC) to address hazardous waste site issues common across neighborhoods.
  • Continue successful Region 10 community partnerships and expand these partnerships to include communities associated with field studies.
  • Strengthen ties with Federal, State, and local agencies to assist them in communicating effectively with communities impacted by hazardous waste sites in EPA Region 10 (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska).

The CEC is expanding activities with NWTCC with webinars to address topics in-depth and in the context of specific site concerns. Working with the Training Core, the CEC provides assistance on interpreting scientific findings, messaging, and community involvement. They are also building upon previous successes with other community partners and expanding activities with them and new partners living near Lake Killarney in the state of Washington.

The CEC is strengthening ties with Federal, State, and local agencies. Their longstanding working partnership with EPA, ATSDR and state and local government agencies involved in hazardous waste site clean-up will expand in response to requests from agency staff. New initiatives to address community concerns throughout EPA Region 10 are planned. The common thread across all of the UW SRP activities with the NWTCC, individual community organizations, and Federal, State and local agencies is to help these organizations build capacity in areas critical for their success.

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