Superfund Research Program - Community Outreach Core
Brown's Superfund Research Program's Community Outreach Core works in partnership with community-based organizations, primarily those concerned with toxic waste contamination, in order to better understand and remediate existing contamination, and to prevent future contamination.
Superfund Research Program Community Outreach Core
Brown's Superfund Basic Research Program began in spring 2005. The Community Outreach Core works in partnership with community-based organizations, primarily those concerned with toxic waste contamination, in order to better understand and remediate existing contamination, and to prevent future contamination. The Core also develops environmental health curriculum in a variety of courses on campus, in collaboration with the Research Training Core. As well, the Core collaborates with the Research Translation Core in liaison with state and federal health and the environmental agencies, and in conducting educational activities and providing organizational resources for physicians and other health providers, lawyers, environmental remediators, community development corporations, and local business.
Work with Community Partners
Working with community partners is our central activity. There will be a rotating participation of community partners. In the first year, they are:
ENACT (Environmental Neighborhood Awareness Committee of Tiverton) http://members.cox.net/enactri/
Coal gasification byproducts from the former Fall River Gas Co. contaminated soil with arsenic, cyanide, lead, and mercury, affecting 151 properties Tiverton's Bay Street neighborhood. Children can't play outside. People can't eat vegetables from their gardens. Property values have dropped, making it hard to sell or refinance. Working with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, ENACT is getting the soil tested in order to proceed with remediation.
Woonsaquatucket River Watershed Council (WRWC)
Having gotten the Woonasquatucket River designated as one of fourteen American Heritage Rivers, the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council continues to revitalize the river and the six communities in the watershed - Gloucester, North Smithfield, Johnston, North Providence and Providence. Among its many projects, WRWC is working on remedial actions to address Superfund contamination of dioxin in the Centredale Manor area, along with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and others.
Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island
The Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island is an alliance of individuals and organizations working together to promote environmental justice in Rhode Island through advocacy, education, networking, organizing, and research. Its mission is to build power in the communities most affected by environmental burdens by developing leaders to take action to promote safe and healthy environments for all; so that everyone has a healthy place to live, work, and play regardless of race, ethnicity, or income. Current projects include:
- EPA-funded CARE Alliance to bring diverse stakeholders to the table to identify the sources of toxic pollution and environmental hazards in Providence, and create an action plan to address these problems.
-Community Environmental College that provides free courses to youth and adults
-Corner Store Campaign to increase healthy foods
-Science Cafes brief coffee-house presentations and discussions
-Green Teenz video training project
In working with our community partners, we seek to:
Make environmental justice and community-based participatory research important components of Brown's interaction with community partners.
Engage community groups more in the identification of specific environmental hazards that they notice and/or want remediated.
Provide leadership training for these groups through workshops led by experienced advocacy and training organizations.
Train community people in specific scientific skills.
Train community people in specific organizational skills, including grant-writing, media work, and governmental relations.
Help community groups produce narrative accounts of their experiences through writing, photography, and video, for sharing with other groups to facilitate more of a statewide collaboration, as well as to share more broadly outside of Rhode Island.
Have community groups make presentations at regular courses on campus, where they can share their experiences and their research needs with students and faculty.
Use these academic-community interactions to promote collaborative learning projects in courses and for master's level and senior honors theses in Environmental Studies, Sociology, and other departments and programs.
Even though only a small number of groups are formal partners in a given year, we engage a larger number of community groups.
Expand Environmental Health Curriculum Across the Campus
We bring the efforts of our community partners and other RI environmental health groups into many elements of the curriculum. This includes existing courses that already deal with such subjects, and with courses that as yet do not have such components. In doing so, we strengthen the focus on environmental justice, community-based participatory research, and research ethics. Community groups have much to teach students and professionals. We invite our community partners, as well as other community environmental groups, to speak to courses to share their experiences.
Conduct Lectures and Workshops on Environmental Health and Environmental Justice
We provide an ongoing series of lectures and workshops on topics such as environmental factors and breast cancer, air pollution and asthma, unequal race and class distribution of environmental burdens, transportation justice and environmental justice, and research ethics in campus-community partnerships.
Brown faculty collaborators:
Other project collaborators:
Terrence Grey, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
Robert Vandeslice, Rhode Island Department of Health
Environmental Neighborhood Awareness Committee of Tiverton
Woonsaquatucket River Watershed Council
Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island
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