COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT CORE ABSTRACT The Community Engagement Core will adopt a new approach to engagement in order to be responsive to the new theme of the Harvard Chan School-NIEHS Center, Re-Envisioning Environmental Health: Integrating Environmental Exposures of People and Place. Our main target stakeholders remain the community of Dorchester and health/public health professionals.
The aims for the CEC are to 1) develop a long-term model of community engagement focused on dialogue, shared vision, and commitment to community-driven change; 2) foster initiatives and collaborations that address environmental health concerns expressed by community partners and other stakeholders; and 3) to assess the effectiveness of our engagement with the community. The new approach to engagement includes holding annual Engaging for Change workshops in the community with community leaders, stakeholders and Center members present. The objectives of these workshops are to highlight current exemplary practices related to mitigating environmental exposures and to define projects for the coming year through facilitated discussions. A new 3-tiered funding mechanism to support community organizations will provide funds for community projects at three different levels: Community Action Grants ($1K-3K), Facility Access Funds (up to $7,500) and pilot projects (up to $25K). Multi-directional exchange between the community and the Center will be fostered through the Engaging for Change workshops, the Stakeholder Advisory Board, interaction with the Research Core faculty plus community participation in the incubator sessions, and utilization of the Facilities Cores for statistical analysis, sample analysis, new data summaries, data visualization and GIS data mapping options in support of CEC aims. Collaboration with NIEHS and the Disaster Recovery Research (DR2) Program will continue as will collaboration with NIEHS Centers such as MIT and the University of North Carolina through the Cambridge Science Festival and the Boston Area Health Education program, respectively. The Region 1 Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) and the Boston Public Health Commission will continue as partners. A new collaboration with Harvard Law School will support the more integrated approach to exposures i.e., to foster a ?beyond science? approach to pollution problems and to increase the synergy between environmental exposure mitigation and local laws and regulations. The expanded membership of the Stakeholder Advisory Board (SAB) will increase community representation and expand the scope of community expertise available to the Center. Similarly the expectation for SAB participation has been augmented to include participation in annual workshops and project meetings.
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