The US-Mexico Border region is plagued by a growing environmental health crisis resulting from inadequate environmental infrastructure, uncontrolled disposal of hazardous waste and widespread exposures to heavy metals from mining and metal processing. The Outreach Core has a long tradition of working on environmental health issues impacting residents of the Border region. Past Outreach Core funding has been used to leverage $2.5 M in financial support to initiate and administer the US-Mexico Binational Center for Environmental Sciences and Toxicology (Binational Center). The overarching goal of the Outreach Core is to empower underrepresented community members of the Border region to become active participants in recognizing and resolving hazardous environmental contamination risks to human health. The objective is that they will become active partners in the implementation of solutions in their communities.
The specific aims planned for the renewal will introduce new approaches of empowering community stakeholders as well as continue with the most successful approaches from the past outreach efforts. The new challenges for the competitive renewal are as follows:
Aim 1) Training of Mexican women health advocates (promotoras) in environmental toxicology in order to multiply outreach efforts as they network in their local neighborhoods;
Aim 2) Facilitate community-based-participatory-research opportunities between community stakeholders and superfund project researchers;
Aim 3) Mentoring programs to cultivate future professional environmental health advocates The continuation of the most successful tasks from the previous program is as follows:
Aim 4) Informing regional community stakeholders through bilingual workshops/meetings, community oriented publications and radio broadcasts;
Aim 5) Increase human capital in the Border region by providing professional workshops, bilingual educational materials and leveraging funds for graduate fellowships;
Aim 6) Administrative support and coordination of the Binational Center.
The Outreach Core is focused on developing human capital in impacted communities throughout the Border region in order to make citizen stakeholders active members in the decision making dialogue with government agencies and Industry. The focus of the Core is to increase access to information (especially in Spanish), provide workshops, educational materials and utilize community participatory approaches to outreach as well as facilitate participatory research between the communities and UA SBRP PIs.
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