|Beth Anderson and Meredith Golden at the PEPH Annual Meeting 2014|
Meredith Golden, CU SRP RTC Co-PI, participated in the Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) 2014 Annual Meeting: Communication Research in Environmental Health Sciences – Environmental Health Literacy (EHL), September 22-23rd, in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Golden facilitated the meeting’s group discussions on Tools and Technologies- Methods for Raising EHL. The session focused on the full range of tools from printed materials to social media and interactive mapping as well as other innovative research technologies that enhance EHL and assist community science.
NIEHS Director Dr. Linda Birnbaum in her welcoming speech emphasized how Communications Research is a vital component of the NIEHS Strategic Plan. There must be bi-directional communications among researchers and affected communities. Research studies and their findings must be presented so that communities will get involved and take actions. Different communities and stakeholders require different strategies. Birnbaum’s charge to the meeting participants is 1) to identify research opportunities, evaluation approaches, validation tools, and key partners; 2) to identify the critical parameters of Environmental Health Literacy (EHL); 3) to examine next steps to advance EHL; and 4) to help further NIEHS’ commitment to Communications Research.
The first speaker of the Tools and Technology Session, Paul English, Environmental Epidemiologist and Science Advisor for the Environmental Health Investigations Branch at the California Department of Health, demonstrated how The California Environmental Health Tracking Program uses GIS mapping and statistical modeling of local data to communicate risk to communities. Then, Sara Wylie, assistant professor at Northeastern University’s Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute and co-founder of Public Lab, along with community partner Deborah Thomas jointly discussed using photographic paper to monitor Hydrogen Sulfide exposure from oil and gas extraction, and then mapping their findings so that community members could more easily visualize the extent of potential hazardous health risks. Finally, Alexandra Anderson, Community Outreach & Translation Core Coordinator for Zero Breast Cancer, explained the Photovoice project which provides adolescent girls with hands on experiences to understand their environment and identify potential risks impacting their health during puberty.
Over 120 participants representing government, academia, health care providers, non-profit organizations, and community partners actively participated in the meeting. In addition, several “Watch Parties” joined in remotely and ran concurrent discussion groups. The meeting presentations and summaries from the discussion groups will be available online sometime in the next month.