198197 Environmental Justice Youth Corps Action Plan to Improve Community Health

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 8:45 AM

C. Linn Gould, MS, MPH , Just Health Action, Seattle, WA
Just Health Action (JHA) advocates for reducing health inequities that result from social, political, and economic factors. Through a social justice lens, JHA teaches workshops that review the evidence and then facilitates discussion and consensus on how individuals and communities can take action on these root causes. JHA has developed a four part health action framework that teaches students: 1. Knowledge: underlying causes of health inequities; 2. Advocacy: elements needed to become an effective advocate for social change; 3. Skills: advocacy strategies; 4. Action: reaching consensus on an action and implementing it. This presentation describes an Environmental Justice (EJ) Youth Corps program for Latino youth, conducted in collaboration with the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition. The program takes place in South Park (Seattle), Washington, a low-income, minority, industrial/residential community with multiple health disparity issues including asthma, exposure to violence, drug and alcohol addiction, diabetes, lead poisoning, etc. The community borders the Duwamish River Superfund Site and is exposed to contaminants in water, sediments, and fish. Other EJ issues that cause health disparities include food security, housing, employment, education, etc. The program integrates EJ education (12 classes) with an experiential component of 12 Saturday field trips including service learning as one form of advocacy. The program culminates with student consensus on an action plan to improve population health in South Park and its subsequent implementation. We describe our curriculum, the community action taken, challenges and successes, as well as an evaluation of the student's improved ability to be agents for social change.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the relationship between Environmental Justice and health disparities. 2. Describe a community action that has the potential to simultaneously address an environmental injustice and a health disparity.

Keywords: Environmental Justice, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Linn Gould, MS, MPH is the Managing Director of Just Health Action, a non-profit organization in Seattle, Washington that develops curriculum for and teaches workshops on the social determinants of health. Specifically, Just Health Action advocates for reducing health inequities that result from social, political and economic factors. JHA facilitates discussion and consensus around health inequities and the social determinants of health and teaches individuals and communities tools to take action on these root causes. Examples of our work can be found on JHA's website at www.justhealthaction.org.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.