The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) has been Involved in response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster since May 2010. Multiple discussions with community groups have revealed primary concerns over lack of knowledge regarding the safety of petrogenic polycyclic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the oil and long-term effects on the food web and human health. Concerns are increased since many families not only subsist on Gulf seafood but also rely on its harvest for financial support. This proposal thus seeks to understand the long-term health effects from contamination of the Gulf by oil, with emphasis on finfish and shellfish and potential effects in humans consuming them. The CODC embraces a Community-Based Participatory Research approach, actively involving communities in all activities. The CODC includes community groups from LA, AL and MS, UTMB, the University of Pennsylvania, Texas A&M University at Galveston, LA State University, and the University of AZ. Its goal is to serve as the mechanism for bidirectional communication among community partners, scientists, local health officials, policy makers, and the greater public. The CODC will utilize scientific findings to create programs in outreach, intervention, and education to increase the resiliency of affected communities.
Specific aims i nclude: 1) Develop CODC network based on previous disaster recovery interventions 2) Develop and maintain the Stakeholder Advisory Board as the mechanism for bidirectional communication among community stakeholders and academic consortium members;3) Develop methods for outreach, intervention, and education based upon scientific findings related to risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication;4) Develop methods to translate and disseminate findings to the broader public;5) Translate findings from the Project 1 investigation of the inherent/traditional community resilience in affected communities and utilize them to build community resiliency capacity;6) Develop strategies to provide answers to health-related questions from impacted individuals or communities;and 7) Evaluate study processes and results to determine success in reducing vulnerability and increasing the resilience of communities involved.
Proposed research will benefit residents of the Gulf Coast communities economically dependent harvesting seafood. The results of the proposed research will ascertain whether seafood caught locally contaminated by the oil spill and unfit for human consumption, or is in fact safe to eat. The findings will be communicated to the community partners, research scientists, local health officials, policy makers, and the greater public through outreach efforts and dissemination.
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