The overarching theme of the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center (EHSRC) is research and outreach on the adverse health effects of environmental contaminants among rural and agricultural populations. Environmental health outreach and education have long been an integral part of the EHSRC since its inception in 1990. As a result, the EHSRC has established a visible presence in the Midwest as a resource for environmental health information and expertise. With this supplemental application, the EHSRC will resume funded activities with a redesigned COEC. The new COEC directors will build upon established strengths and collaborations to engage state legislators, community and tribal organizations, university students, medical and scientific professionals, and the general public in learning about environmental risks and exposures that affect the health of people residing in the Midwest. Five objectives are outlined in this proposal: 1) Establish, maintain and enhance an organizational structure that ensures bi-directional communication and interaction with stakeholders;2) Coordinate educational programming, community based learning and outreach services on environmental health issues to Midwestern legislators and community organizations;3) Expand the investigators'partnership with Northern Plains tribal communities to foster discussions of the needs of this population and to advance the state of knowledge of lung disease and its environmental triggers;4) Respond appropriately to environmental health emergencies when they arise and serve as a conduit for dissemination of educational materials;and 5) Evaluate progress toward these objectives through process and outcome evaluation activities. The investigators will expand their work with the Northern Plains tribal communities in the area of asthma education. The investigators will present to state policymakers the latest environmental health research in workshops that facilitate discussion of the implications of these environmental exposures. The investigators will be guided in their outreach activities by a 13-member Stakeholder's Advisory Board composed of representatives of advocacy groups, state and local government, rural-focused industries, tribal organizations and secondary education.
These activities enable bi-directional communication and learning between the public (e.g. general public, policymakers, industry and educators) and environmental health scientists so that each group may make well-informed decisions to improve and protect human health. This benefits the integrity of the research process and improves public understanding of environmental health risks and preventive strategies.
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