Superfund Research Program
Community Engagement Core
The CEC has been working with the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (SITC) and Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) to develop a shared understanding of the impact environmental pollution has on Tribal members. Each Tribal Nation hosted a Sense of Place Exchange this year that invited faculty, staff, and trainees from the OSU Superfund Center to come to their reservation, meet Elders and tribal scientists and staff, and learn about health and environmental issues that are important to the Tribe. Evaluations from these events indicate that participants gained a deeper understanding of issues that are important to each Tribal nation such as sovereignty, ethical research considerations, and food security. These shared experiences have shifted people's cultural awareness and increased the recognition that developing cultural competency skills are important for university-based environmental health science researchers. The CEC and SITC have also started a Photovoice Project that will engage Tribal members to visually capture images in their community that show how they are being impacted by air pollution from the nearby petrochemical refineries. The goal of this project is to develop culturally-relevant risk communication messages that can be used by the SITC to promote community health and reduce exposures to PAHs and other hazardous substances that are found in their food and environment. The CEC and the CTUIR have also worked together to create protocols for a public health campaign to share information about how Tribal members can promote their health while reducing their exposures to toxics in river foods.