Superfund Research Program
Community Engagement Core
Project Summary (2020-2025)
The overall goal of the Community Engagement Core (CEC) is to actively engage residents and other stakeholders of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Superfund Research Program's (UAB SRP) affected area in education, research, and prevention and/or intervention to reduce or mitigate the impact of hazardous substance exposure on chronic lung disease. The CEC includes a multidisciplinary team with expertise in health disparities, community-engaged research, health education and promotion, and preventive medicine. Guided by the principles of community-based participatory research (CBPR), the CEC focuses on three specific aims:
- Develop and implement an infrastructure for sustainable bi-directional communication between residents of the affected area and the UAB to build capacity for collaborative endeavors to address environmental health issues;
- Identify and develop tools and resources to assist communities impacted by hazardous substances to address community-driven priorities to reduce exposure and protect health; and
- Implement evidence-based prevention/intervention activities to reduce exposure and protect the health of residents impacted by hazardous substances.
Working with the Administrative and Research Translation Core, the five research projects, and other cores, the CEC serves a vital role in the UAB SRP's research activities by helping to build trust and facilitate bi-directional communication between members of the community and the research team. The CEC also provides opportunities for community members to increase their knowledge about environmental health issues, learn about prevention and remediation strategies to reduce exposure to airborne heavy metals, and increase community capacity to support collaborative partnerships to address environmental health issues in their community. Over the five-year project period, the CEC will construct and maintain an academic-community partnership infrastructure to support the long-term sustainability of collaborations to improve community health and well-being and increase community resilience to exposure to environmental hazards. In addition, it will design, deliver, and evaluate the effectiveness of a wide range of community-engaged activities that seek to increase community members' health literacy, social cohesion, self-efficacy for reducing risk of airborne heavy metal exposure, and knowledge about research findings originating from the UAB SRP.