The COEC of the Rochester EHSC has two primary aims: 1. to address the environmental health issues and concerns identified in the community through a Community Advisory Board and partnerships with community groups; 2. to provide information and education related to environmental health issues to concerned citizens, educators, children, and public health professionals. Organizational structure: The COEC became formally incorporated into the EHSC in the fall of 1998 when Dina Markowitz, was appointed COEC Director. Dr. Markowitz was joined by Katrina Korfmacher who was appointed Community Outreach Coordinator in the fall of 2002. Our COEC has played an integral role in translating environmental health science information from our EHSC research faculty (and other environmental health scientists) into information that is widely accessible to members of our community and beyond. Dr. Markowitz actively participates as a member of the EHSC Internal Policy Committee, which provides one of several ongoing forms of communication between COEC and EHSC researchers. COEC programs and issues are discussed and receive faculty-wide input at our monthly Center faculty meetings. In addition, the COEC is an integral part of the Integrative Health Sciences Facility Core {IHSFC), which was formed in 2007. Shaw-Ree Chen, assistant director of the Life Sciences Learning Center, collaborates with the COEC primarily through graphical communication and translation of research to broad audiences. Key audiences: Our outreach efforts span the entire range of the community, from rural to urban residents, and from children through the elderly. Our audiences include local, state, and national government and non-governmental groups. However, local community members are the primary focus of our outreach and education activities. For example, our involvement in state and national healthy homes initiatives has grown from our local work in childhood lead poisoning prevention as we have communicated our local 'lessons learned'to wider audiences. Our interactions with medical students and health care professionals facilitate their involvement in solving the local community's lead poisoning prevention efforts. Similarly, our work with state and national educators is based on experience gained in providing environmental health education to local teachers and students. Diverse outreach strategies: Our outreach programs have grown considerably since our Center grant review in 2004, from a narrow focus on local lead poisoning prevention efforts to a sophisticated local, statewide, and national network of communication and policy advice on issues relating to environmental health. The outreach framework we developed for the lead poisoning issue is now used as a model for a growing number of environmental health issues related to our Center's research and community needs. In addition, we provide education programs on a wide range of environmental health topics to teachers, students, and professionals to increase environmental health literacy. These educational efforts complement our outreach programs by increasing understanding of environmental health research in general as well as providing context for specific issues of local concern. Relationship to Center research: Our COEC reflects the Center's research focus "Environmental agents as modulators of disease processes," by educating diverse audiences about environmental agents and their effects on human health. In 2004, our outreach programs focused primarily on childhood lead poisoning prevention. We chose this focus because of the strong connection between our Center's research on this topic and the local community's interest in reducing lead poisoning rates that were in some neighborhoods over ten times the national average. We continually expand our programs to include other topics related to our Center's research, such as air particulates and phthalates. However, the majority of our outreach programs remain grounded around the local concern about environmental health hazards in low income housing around Rochester. As noted above, our educational programming often involves researchers in development and review of new materials. Center faculty are actively involved in COEC by delivering presentations at community forums and teacher workshops, assisting with development and review of educational materials, and actively participating in our Community Advisory Board.

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National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
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Environmental Health Sciences Review Committee (EHS)
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University of Rochester
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