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Final Progress Reports: Harvard School of Public Health: Outreach - Community-Based Participatory Project

Superfund Research Program

Outreach - Community-Based Participatory Project

Project Leaders: Ann S. Backus, Karl T. Kelsey
Grant Number: P42ES005947
Funding Period: 1995 - 2006

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Final Progress Reports

Year:   2005 

The model of distributed outreach fostered through the Visiting Scholars Program enables the Harvard SBRP Outreach Core to reach out with significance at local, regional, and national levels. Some recent accomplishments include:

  • Emergency response training for health care and public health workers
  • Completion of a health survey in Corrales, New Mexico which substantiates the relationship between toxic discharge from a large computer chip manufacturer and adverse health outcomes
  • Participation on the Quad Council of Public Health Nursing Organizations (PHN section of APHA) to establish environmental health principles for nursing in the areas of practice, education, research and advocacy
  • Teaching of critical thinking courses that focus on the analysis of argument and the decision-making process in complex environmental issues using the Wells G&H Superfund site as a case study; publication, as editor, of a book entitled Ethics, Computing, and Genomics (Jones and Bartlett, 2006, published July 2005)
  • Building a photographic collection of Superfund images toward the goal of producing a traveling exhibition for community and educational venues.

In 2005, the Core added outreach in collaboration with the Community-Based Metal Exposure in Child Development and Hearing Project lead by Robert Wright and sited in Tar Creek. In May 2005 Ann Backus visited Integris Hospital, in Miami, Oklahoma, and observed the testing of auditory brainstem evoked responses in a newborn and in November 2005 she returned to discuss with Mary Happy, project nurse, the development of educational materials for study participants. These discussions resulted in plans to develop lead exposure/risk reduction materials for study participants and for local obstetricians, pediatricians, as well as for child care facilities. The materials will build on EPA’s publication, Lead in your Home: A Parent’s Reference Guide (EPA 747-B-98-002)

The Harvard University Outreach Core EPA Research Seminars are models of researcher/practitioner interactions and involve collaboration among the three New England Superfund Basic Research Programs and US EPA Region I. In the past year the Core held seminars at US EPA Region I offices titled Arsenic: Health Effects and Policy, which focused on the implementation of the new Drinking Water Arsenic Rule; Environmental Epidemiology on Cape Cod, a discussion regarding modeling of trichloroethylene exposure and the use of spatial epidemiology; and Cancers from Arsenic in New England. These seminars include a mix of researchers and practitioners and are formatted with an emphasis on interdisciplinary discussion.

The Harvard SBRP faculty and researchers contribute expertise and advice in the form of miniconferences for the scholars, assistance with educational materials, and presentations at the EPA Research Seminars. It is their willingness and strong commitment that makes outreach of significance possible. These outreach programs provide meaningful translations of the research that are then applied in the classroom, the government agency, to policy decisions, and by citizens who are stewards of the environment and human health.

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