Community Engagement Core: Abstract The goal of the Community Engagement Core (CEC) is to build bi-directional partnerships with four target communities in Northern New England to enhance their ability to understand and address the health risks posed by toxic metals in the environment. These communities include: (1) private drinking water well owners, (2) consumers of food products of concern, (3) parents and expectant parents, and (4) students at high schools located near Superfund sites. To accomplish our goal, we will pursue the following specific aims:
Aim 1 : Establish sustained engagement with target communities and community-serving organizations to better understand each other's existing and needed capacities for supporting healthy decisions that consider the risks posed by arsenic and mercury exposure. We will use a structured engagement approach based on elicited mental models as a means for comparing expert and community beliefs about the causes and consequences of target risks. This will reveal both community misconceptions and gaps in scientific understanding that need to be addressed.
Aim 2 : Serve communities by cultivating opportunities for Dartmouth to provide resources, information, communications, and expertise that meet immediate environmental health needs while jointly building long- term capacity. In collaboration with our community organizational partners, we will design tailored strategies for meeting the needs identified in Aim 1. Implementation will then involve the Center's Cores and Projects, as well as the energy and expertise of Dartmouth's community at-large. Throughout the process, we will use explicit metrics arising from our logic model to evaluate the success of activities, outputs, and impacts.
Aim 3 : Foster collaborative community-engaged research that advances the science of health risk assessment, communication, and reduction. As a long-term goal, the CEC will advance opportunities for community- engaged science that investigates novel ways to understand and address the health concerns of communities affected by Superfund sites and related environmental contaminants.
Community Engagement Core The overarching goal of SRP research is to improve public health. Communities have skills, ideas, and capabilities for accomplishing this goal that SRPs do not. We seek to link these proficiencies with scientific understanding to strengthen the ability of people to use factual information to make healthy choices. Through partnerships, we will also enhance the capacity of public and private institutions to address future concerns.
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