199241 Community Participation in Environmental Decision-Making in Rural Mississippi

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 1:30 PM

Ademola M. Omishakin, MPH, PhD, MBA , Department of Natural Science & Environmental Health, Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Bena, MS
Debra Patton Lloyd, MS, PhDc , Department of Agriculture & Information Science, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS
Community Participation in Environmental

Decision-Making in Rural Mississippi

Background. The two communities that are involved in this project are Leflore and Humphreys counties. Based on 2000 U.S. Census data, the population of Leflore County is 37,947, of which 67.6% are African Americans. The population of Humphreys County is 11,350 of which 68.1% are African Americans. Humphreys County is designated as a primary health care shortage area by DHHS. Unemployment for all races in the two counties was higher than national average. Methods. We employed the Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health (PACE-EH), by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). The protocol is designed to assess environmental health priorities by involving community members in a process that identifies and compares environmental problems. Community Engagement.

To collect environmental health issues from the two counties we followed the methods closely related to those suggested by NACCHO. The two approaches to collect environmental data were:

Nominal Group Process

Environmental Health Survey

Eight community group meetings (four in each county) were conducted in which two sets of data were collected. First, a measurement of community awareness and perception of local environmental health was made through a pre-test questionnaire. Second, after the pretest questionnaire was completed, a prioritized list of environmental health problems was developed through the use of nominal group process. The four-steps of the nominal group process involved listing, recording, collating, and prioritizing.

RESULTS The issues rated in the top five for all meetings in Leflore and Humphreys Counties were:

Farm chemicals (insecticides, herbicides); contaminated air, surface water, and possibly ground water; deterioration of indoor air quality due to pesticides drift; inadequate general environmental education; mosquito pestilence during wet, warm weather

CONCLUSION While our experience was positive, we faced many challenges throughout the process.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participants will be able to

Learning Objectives:
Describe how to asses environmental health priorities by involving community members; Discuss Nominal Group process; Recognize disparities and magnitude of environmental health issues in African American communities.

Keywords: Environmental Health, Minority Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Was Co-PI for this project.
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.