The mission of the South Bronx Environmental Justice Partnership (SBEJP) is to improve the health of the people who live and work in the South Bronx, beginning with children and pregnant women, and expanding to include other adults. SBEJP is a partnership between the Montefiore Medical Center (MMC), Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AECOM), and South Bronx Clean Air Coalition (SBCAC). The SBEJP Advisory Board will include representatives of other community organizations. In this proposal, the SBEJP proposes to explore the most appropriate methods for addressing the social, ethical, and legal challenges arising from non-therapeutic, epidemiological research on the prevalence of elevated mercury levels in urine of children living in the South Bronx and its possible sources.
The specific aims of the SBEJP are as follows: 1) To assess the South Bronx community's level of knowledge regarding the health impacts of environmental mercury and its sources in the local environment. 2) To develop, implement, and evaluate educational materials and programs that enhance the South Bronx's community awareness of the ethical issues and challenges related to conducting environmental health research on mercury. 3) To develop a community-driven educational intervention to reduce childhood exposure to mercury in the South Bronx for both community residents and health professionals informed by on-going dialogue with its community and spiritual leaders, clergy, bioethicists, and scientific and clinical experts. 4) Establish an on-going and long-term dialogue between SBEJP environmental health scientists, clinicians, bioethicists, community members, clergy, and spiritual leaders on ethical issues related to environmental health research on the ritual use of elemental mercury as a case study or model. Formal evaluation will be conducted of all specific activities, including formative, process, and outcome evaluations, and will be the responsibility of the principal investigator.