COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND ENGAGEMENT CORE ABSTRACT The COEC has successfully forged and nourished relationships with various neighborhoods and local groups in the Boston area, particularly in the Dorchester neighborhood. Over the past four years, we have organized and participated in numerous community events such as science fairs, clean air fairs, focus groups and community forums. This year, we are creating a new structure that is designed to strengthen our link to the neighborhood by soliciting input from community stakeholders and healthcare advocates, and working on environmental issues that they have identified as most important to them. We call our new initiative the Healthy Neighborhoods, Healthy Homes, Healthy People Program. It is a direct response to a 2012 Dorchester Health of Boston Forum where participants identified the environment's role in children's elevated obesity and asthma levels as the most important health concern to the neighborhood. Our new approach entails convening a Board of Stakeholders that consists of leading local healthcare and community advocates. This Board will help the Center to expand its neighborhood networks and strengthen its relationships with the community and its health professionals. The COEC will focus on: 1) Citizen/Community Science - Street-level (ground-based) and stationary measurement of air quality by monitoring PM2.5 levels. This will be used to promote the development of low pollution biking/walking routes, and to provide data to Center researchers so that they can refine the spatial resolution of remote sensing satellite data for use in future epidemiologic studies;2) Education around Integrated Pest Management for newcomer families living in low-income housing;3) Education about the Asthma-Obesity Connection for low income newcomer families;4) A summer internship program through the Boston Public Health Commission's Y2HC (Youth to Health Care) program to inspire young people to become interested in health care and the environment;and 5) Outreach regarding the Asthma - Obesity Connection and other pediatric environmental health issues of interest to pediatric health professionals and informed by Center research. The COEC will also continue to pursue ongoing, broader goals that involve other regional and national public health initiatives in partnership with other Centers and environment groups. Examples include the environmental effects of fracking with the UPenn COEC, the Cambridge Science Festival with the MIT COEC, the UTMB Galveston - Harvard WorldMap training program, and the UW-Milwaukee environmental health nursing initiatives, among others.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND ENGAGEMENT CORE NARRATIVE The main aim of the of the Harvard-NIEHS Center's COEC is to fulfill the goals of a program that we call Healthy Neighborhoods, Healthy Homes, Healthy People that will monitor and improve environmental factors that we believe will result in a reduced prevalence of asthma and obesity in children living in Dorchester. Through our newly formed Stakeholders Advisory Board, we will form a true partnership between our Center, Dorchester residents, and local healthcare providers to bring our Center's research into practice in the community, and to receive feedback and data from the community that will help to better inform and focus our Center's research. Our COEC will also continue to partner with other Centers and research groups on environmental public health topics of import to our region and nation.
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