201669 Fostering collaboration and new leadership in environmental health: A case study from the oil fields of Los Angeles

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lark Galloway-Gilliam, MPA , Community Health Councils, Inc., Los Angeles, CA
David C. Sloane, PhD , Policy, Planning, and Development, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Gwendolyn Flynn , REACH US Project, Community Health Councils, Inc., Los Angeles, CA
Bethany Ulrich , REACH US Project, Community Health Councils, Los Angeles, CA
Research Question: What methods effectively foster collaboration and leadership among urban residents in policy development that supports local environmental health?

Problem statement: A series of noxious gas releases revealed oil drilling operations in a densely populated urban area of Los Angeles County were being conducted largely without regulation and oversight. With proposed oil drilling operation expansion, residents lacked unified forms of expression, leadership and participation in mitigating risks to water, air, and human health.

Methods: Utilizing a model for social change, a diverse stakeholder group conducted a systematic approach to the issue from problem identification to policy formulation. The group formalized an operational structure, then researched health and environment data used to both influence the planning process and establish a zoning regulation. Research findings were also used in the collaborative effort to mobilize impacted residents.

Specific Conclusions: Supported grassroots collaboration on land-use policy fosters multiple levels of sustained leadership for enduring environmental health protections. Creation of a zoning regulation for urban oil drilling operations offers a replicable remedy to environmental and health risks for vulnerable populations.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe a policy solution to mitigate human health and environmental risks for populations in urban settings; 2. Name elements of a model for effectively engaging urban residents and cultivating local leadership in environmental policy development.

Keywords: Environmental Health, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Community Health and Education Policy Director with Community Health Councils, a non-profit community-based, health policy advocacy organization in Los Angeles, California. I oversee program and policy operations of multiple REACH U.S. Project interventions, the successor to REACH 2010. I have facilitated the creation of a community advisory committee, developed the infrastructure for conducting neighborhood resource assessments including adaptation of the Projectís mini-grant program. My background includes more than ten years experience addressing social justice issues in various capacities in both the private and public sectors.
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.