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New York University School of Medicine

Superfund Research Program

Community Outreach (ARRA Funded)

Project Leader: Judith Zelikoff
Grant Number: P42ES010344
Funding Period: 2009-2011

Project Summary (2009-2011)

The Outreach Core was developed around the theme of NYU SBRP's research expertise in metal toxicity. The overall goal is to improve public health by empowering local communities and their leaders with the information and expertise they need to bring ameliotory actions into their communities. This is accomplished by providing the latest scientific knowledge regarding toxic metals, specifically chromium (Cr) as it is contained in sites throughout New Jersey (NJ), with particular attention to chromium-contaminated areas in Hudson and Gloucester County. Three Specific Aims are proposed: educate the community, local workers, health professionals and community leaders on the prevalence and sites of contamination in NJ and the potential health effects of exposure; develop a web site focused on publishing educational materials and presentations aimed at empowering Community Leaders in educating affected populations; and, provide our Community Outreach partners with scientific information needed for their emerging "Clean and Build" initiative to identify, evaluate and prioritize waste sites throughout NJ. These aims will be achieved by a variety of focused and coordinated activities such as: public forums involving SBRP members with expertise in Cr; technical briefings to the Community leaders/advocates/organizations and the community at large, on the latest scientific findings and health impacts of Cr exposure; distribution of informational literature regarding exposure parameters and associated health risks to residents, religious leaders, Community Advisory Groups, workers and health professionals; sponsoring short courses to improve the community's awareness and understanding of environmental health issues; and, developing a web site that provides educational materials for interested parties. Through these information-sharing and educational actions, the Outreach Core seeks to expedite the process of linking of the NYU SBRP's scientific expertise and research results with public needs and interests. Partnering with the NYU SBRP for all of these initiatives is the Interfaith Community Organization, a citizens’ advisory group that has served to advise the community, its leaders and NJ policy-makers about the Cr hazard in Hudson County since 1989. These initiatives will serve to educate the public of the potential dangers associated with exposure to toxic metals, thereby reducing the human health risk from hazardous waste sites.

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