Superfund Research Program
Community Engagement Core
Project Leader: James Dearing
Grant Number: P42ES004911
Funding Period: 2013-2020
Project Summary (2013-2020)
The Community Engagement Core (CEC) partners with Michigan State University (MSU) Extension in the Michigan Tri-Cities area (Saginaw, Midland, and Bay City) to build upon the trust MSU Extension has established in the region to develop bidirectional communication and engagement between the MSU Superfund Program and the Tri-Cities community. The Core believes the community to be divided around the issues concerning dioxin contamination, much of which is due to lack of, or incomplete, information. This has led to some members of the community losing trust in state regulatory agencies, the USEPA, and the Dow Chemical Company.
The CEC is partnering with local government officials as well as USEPA Region 5, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and industry stakeholders to interact with the Tri-Cities community. The CEC in co-operation with MSU Extension will host meetings with community members and the aforementioned stakeholders to facilitate a dialogue with the overall goal of help to understand the needs of the public and then to respond by providing information to address those needs. In addition, where possible, community needs are further addressed by MSU research activities.
Using a multi-faceted approach including online and face-to-face forums, MSU Extension community development educators are enhancing the lay public's knowledge on the current state of environmental science. This bidirectional communication will improve community problem-solving around dioxin-associated environmental health risks as well as identify specific areas of research that could be initiated under the auspices of the CEC and the MSU Superfund Program.