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Your Environment. Your Health.

Dartmouth College

Superfund Research Program

Research Translation Core

Project Leader: Celia Y. Chen
Grant Number: P42ES007373
Funding Period: 2005-2020

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Project Summary (2008-2014)

The mission of the Superfund Basic Research Program is to produce scientific knowledge that has relevance for protecting the environment and public health. For research outcomes to be applied in these settings, the findings and expertise of program scientists must be communicated to the right audiences, in the right format, at the right time. Learning how SBRP science fits the needs and interests of potential users is a motivating theme of the Research Translation Core. The scientific goal of this research program is to investigate how toxic metals, particularly arsenic and mercury, contribute to adverse effects on human health, and to produce knowledge that leads to science-based risk assessments, risk management, and public policy.

Arsenic-contaminated drinking water is a global health issue, and exposure to arsenic through drinking water is a priority public health issue in New Hampshire, where naturally occurring arsenic leaches from bedrock into drinking water. Arsenic in food, particularly rice, is a growing concern and may represent a significant source of exposure.

Mercury contamination of fish is a global concern, with particular relevance in New England, where fish with high mercury concentrations are found in the most pristine lakes. In addition, consumption of marine fish species is higher in New England than in inland regions of the U.S. The RTC's research program integrates mechanistic and translational research, highlighting sensitive subpopulations, for example, pregnant women and their offspring. As the proactive communication arm of the program, the role of the Translation Core is to develope and implement evidence-based strategies for translating research findings.

The following goals are those of the Research Translation Core:

  1. To collaborate with investigators to convey findings with relevance for environmental risk assessment, risk management, and public policy to appropriate audiences using best practices in science communication, risk communication, and technology transfer;
  2. To investigate the needs of end-users for science, as well as barriers to translation, and to share that information with partners;
  3. To explore and develop more effective ways of communicating science, such as science illustration and audience-driven websites;
  4. To develop mechanisms to initiate and maintain person-to-person interactions among those affected, interested, or involved in environmental health topics;
  5. To provide expertise in science and risk communication, technology transfer and media relations; and
  6. To develop and maintain resources that support effective translation, such as science writing, graphic illustration, and web development.
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