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Duke University

Superfund Research Program

Research Translation Core

Project Leader: Charlotte Clark
Grant Number: P42ES010356
Funding Period: 2005-2022

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Project Summary (2017-2022)

The Duke University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center Research Translation Core (RTC) works to accelerate the application of Duke SRP Center research in order to prevent or reduce early-life developmental exposures through strategic networks, partnerships, and other activities. The RTC works with investigators from each project to identify key stakeholders with the capacity to influence early life exposures or their outcomes. The RTC also organizes practical trainings in research translation and science communication for all Center members. These communication trainings will include RTC-led workshops in monthly Center meetings and training sessions led by outside experts. The RTC also collaborates with the Training Core, the Community Engagement Core (CEC), and the Administrative Core to implement a structured program of trainee involvement with research translation and community engagement activities, named the Trainee Communication and Engagement Program (TCEP). The RTC also works in coordination with the CEC to select and mentor Trainee Response Teams (TRT) to respond to short-term requests by community-based organizations, industry, or policy makers for information related to one of the Center’s areas of expertise. To most effectively engage SRP key stakeholders, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), around Center findings, the RTC is expanding an existing collaboration with the University of Kentucky and the University of Pennsylvania in EPA Regions 3 and 4.

The Duke SRP Center has a long-standing partnership with the Elizabeth River Project (ERP) in conjunction with the Duke SRP Center project, "Persistent Mitochondrial and Epigenetic Effects of Early Life Toxicant Exposure." The Research Translation Core helps to coordinate the regular meetings of the ERP Sediment Remediation Partnership and uses the meetings as an opportunity to share related research conducted at the Duke SRP Center. Duke SRP Center trainees and RTC/CEC staff also attend the annual ERP RiverFest, where they share their research with the many festival attendees in informal, engaging formats such as live demonstrations and science-based games and activities. The researchers plan to continue to deepen their research translation partnership with ERP and other area stakeholders around the Elizabeth River.

To communicate and contextualize the implications of Duke SRP Center findings to health professionals who work with women, infants, and children, as well as to broad audiences, the RTC strategically employs online communication efforts to disseminate timely environmental health resources to existing stakeholders and other identified partners. In particular, the RTC engages both broad audiences and targeted professional leaders who are focused on developmental exposures through their existing communities. The RTC works with Duke SRP Center project leaders to develop summaries, review articles, and editorial pieces about managing risks from environmental exposures for OB/GYN periodicals or other appropriate resource centers, including online resources for new and expecting parents. RTC staff and interns manage the Duke SRP Center website and work with the Admin Core, PIs, and trainees to ensure that each project and core webpage concisely shares their latest findings, research direction, and news/media publicity.

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