Superfund Research Program
Community Outreach Core
Project Leader: Robert Vanderslice (Rhode lsland Department of Health)
Grant Number: P42ES013660
Funding Period: 2005-2021
Project Summary (2009-2014)
The Community Outreach Core promotes environmental health and justice outreach and education across Rhode Island, a small, densely populated state burdened by a long history of industrial activity. Its program complements the SBRP's focus on a state-based approach by working on multiple levels with a variety of constituencies, including community-based organizations, state and federal government agencies such as EPA, ATSDR, and RI Department of Environmental Management, and Brown and other universities. The Core pursues four aims.
- Core researchers continue to work closely on environmental health and justice education and outreach with their community-based partner organizations (Environmental Neighborhood Awareness Committee of Tiverton, Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council, and Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island) as well as with other community groups addressing issues such as school siting on Brownfields. The Outreach Core continues to help develop the capacity of these organizations to advocate for remediation of existing toxic waste sites and the prevention of future contamination.
- Core researchers are expanding the 4-week after-school environmental health education module into middle and high schools in the six Woonasquatucket River watershed towns, and launch an after-school/evening Community Environmental College for teenagers and adults, offering free classes on a wide range of environmental health and justice issues.
- The reserachers continue to work with six municipal governments, two state agencies, three EPA offices, and legislators in two states to develop comprehensive environmental legislation on remediation and reuse, strengthen existing legislation such as the ECHO home loan program for contaminated areas, and promote alternative models for school siting.
- The researchers are communicating their work to the broader Brown community, and also promoting and broadening faculty, undergraduate, and graduate student awareness of and involvement in community environmental health and justice issues. They continue to both promote their community partners' contributions to courses and sharing of their experiences with students and faculty as well as encourage students to work with the Core’s partners on participatory research projects.
The Core leader, Dr. Phil Brown, has dedicated his career to combining academic scholarship, community service, teaching, and mentorship that helps community organizations in their campaigns for environmental health and justice.