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Your Environment. Your Health.

Progress Reports: Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Community Engagement Core

Superfund Research Program

Community Engagement Core

Project Leader: Kathleen M. Vandiver
Grant Number: P42ES027707
Funding Period: 2017-2022
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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Progress Reports

Year:   2019  2018  2017 

The MIT Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center is actively engaged with tribes in Maine and with environmental justice communities in the Mystic River Watershed in Massachusetts. The main goal is also to engage with communities concerned about Superfund chemicals, as well as to provide educational opportunities to schools, community groups, and health professionals. To accomplish these goals, the MIT SRP Community Engagement Core (CEC) met with stakeholders from tribes in Maine, including leadership from the Micmac and Passamaquoddy Tribes. In response to the concerns about water quality expressed by the Vice Chief of the Passamaquoddy Tribe, water samples were collected and analyzed for the presence of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), one of the key contaminants of concern for the MIT SRP. Future work will involve reanalysis and a report back process.

In addition to engagement with Tribes, the CEC also has strong connections with citizens who live close to the Olin Chemical Superfund site. In particular, the Center is working with the Wilmington Environmental Restoration Committee (WERC). In response to their concerns, the CEC and the Research Translation Core created a citizen science project wherein residents collected tap water and the MIT team arranged for NDMA testing. The MIT team will soon report back to the community.

Finally, the MIT SRP also engages with educators and health professionals to teach concepts related to MIT SRP research using innovative tactile learning kits invented by Kathy Vandiver. Taken together, the MIT SRP has made significant progress in engaging and supporting their community.

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