Superfund Research Program
Community Engagement Core
Project Leader: Anna M. Adachi-Mejia
Grant Number: P42ES007373
Funding Period: 2014-2021
Project Summary (2014-2021)
The goal of the Community Engagement Core (CEC) is to build bi-directional partnerships with four target communities in Northern New England to enhance their ability to understand and address the health risks posed by toxic metals in the environment. These communities include: (1) private drinking water well owners, (2) consumers of food products of concern, (3) parents and expectant parents, and (4) students at high schools located near Superfund sites.
To accomplish this goal, Core researchers are pursing the following specific aims:
- Establish sustained engagement with target communities and community-serving organizations to better understand each other’s existing and needed capacities for supporting healthy decisions that consider the risks posed by arsenic and mercury exposure. The researchers use a structured engagement approach based on elicited mental models as a means for comparing expert and community beliefs about the causes and consequences of target risks. This reveals both community misconceptions and gaps in scientific understanding that need to be addressed.
- Serve communities by cultivating opportunities for Dartmouth to provide resources, information, communications, and expertise that meet immediate environmental health needs while jointly building longterm capacity. In collaboration with community organizational partners, the researchers are designing tailored strategies for meeting the needs identified in the first aim. Implementation will then involve the Center’s Cores and Projects, as well as the energy and expertise of Dartmouth’s community at-large. Throughout the process, the researchers use explicit metrics arising from their logic model to evaluate the success of activities, outputs, and impacts.
- Foster collaborative community-engaged research that advances the science of health risk assessment, communication, and reduction. As a long-term goal, the CEC will advance opportunities for community engaged science that investigates novel ways to understand and address the health concerns of communities affected by Superfund sites and related environmental contaminants.