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University of Rhode Island

Superfund Research Program

Research Translation Core

Project Leader: Judith M. Swift
Co-Investigator: Amber Neville
Grant Number: P42ES027706
Funding Period: 2017-2022

Project-Specific Links

Project Summary (2017-2022)

University of Rhode Island-led Sources, Transport, Exposure and Effects of PFASs (STEEP) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center Research Translation Core (RTC) is leveraging and building upon already existing relationships and communication networks to disseminate information on PFASs and their human health impacts, and STEEP’s scientific accomplishments to its stakeholders, including other SRP centers and their associated researchers; state and federal regulatory agencies, especially the MA Departments of Environmental Protection (MADEP) and Public Health (MADPH), RI Departments of Environmental Management (RIDEM) and Health (RIDOH), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR); managers and decision-makers at federal, state, and local levels; and communities on Cape Cod, MA, within the hydrologic plume of the military/firefighting training base that have potential PFAS exposure through drinking water.

The RTC is enhancing traditional bi-directional communication by making the process an iterative one that constantly closes the informational loop on ever more specific concerns guided by scientific findings. The RTC is making STEEP’s research results and the implications of these findings readily accessible to stakeholders to assist them in understanding PFASs effects and characterizing risk. As part of the iterative process, RTC is embedding in the overall communication strategy opportunities for stakeholders to provide feedback to the SRP researchers at regular intervals, and a clear timeline for researchers to provide updates in response to community concerns. As this iterative process continues, stakeholders and researchers are narrowing in on scientific questions and research that have needed management and regulatory applications.

To accomplish the overarching goal, RTC is developing targeted messages for: 1) researchers within STEEP and the broader SRP network; 2) state and federal agencies including the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, U.S. EPA, ATSDR, and Tribal councils; 3) other end-users with a focus on communities on Cape Cod, MA, and the Faroe Islands; and 4) additional groups as identified by the Expertise Enhancing Network. Moreover, the RTC is providing appropriate and timely information on PFASs and unfolding research findings in order to:

  1. Ensure STEEP’s results are widely disseminated guided by principles of the Transtheoretical Model of behavior change (TTM).
  2. Provide information to state and federal regulators as well as industry leaders to influence the mitigation of PFASs use to protect human health.
  3. Facilitate technology transfer where appropriate.
  4. Synergize relationship with Community Engagement Core (CEC) to ensure dissemination of information to impacted communities, and improve communication techniques of STEEP trainees, scientists, and researchers.
  5. Coordinate broad-spectrum outreach and communication efforts in partnership with CEC and Training Core.
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