212429 West End Revitalization Association's Innovation for Sustainability: North Carolina's only AmeriCorps*VISTA and Environmental Justice Sponsor Site

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Natasha Bumpass , West End Revitalization Association, Mebane, NC
The West End Revitalization Association (WERA) was organized in 1994 in order to address health disparities due to a planned highway that would impact two historic African American communities historically denied access to safe drinking water, clean surface water, paved residential streets, and good environmental quality in Mebane, NC. With the support of environmental grants from the U.S. EPA, WERA used the COMR approach to document environmental hazards in these communities. As an AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer, the presenter assisted WERA staff, board, and UNC-Chapel Hill graduate students and faculty in the collection, entry, and management of water quality data. During this time, she also assisted in the development of WERA U.S. EPA quality assurance plan (QAP) for a Collaborative Problem-Solving Agreement ($100,000) that the organization received in 2005.

As a result of best practices and lessons learned from the innovative COMR model, the presenter led the submission of an application to AmeriCorps*VISTA in order to become the only environmental justice sponsor site in North Carolina with a focus on reduction of contaminated drinking water and surface water in low-income minority communities. AmeriCorps*VISTA then approved WERA's site for four volunteers to support the development of community-based manuals on: 1) how to implement WERA's community-owned and managed research principles; 2) obtain sustainable funding; 3) improve environmental justice literacy in impacted communities; and 4) mentor youth and young adults on planning and preparation for careers in public health through WERA's Career Pipeline and DREAM-Network.

The above topics will be covered in this presentation.

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss how the basic principles of community-owned and managed research can more effectively replicated in comparable environmental justice communities with the support of AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer members 2. Describe how to build the capacity of members of community based organizations to have the skills necessary to manage site-specific databases and perform staff recruiting 3. Evaluate the use of the AmeriCorp program as a mechanism for pipeline development and engagement of youth and young adults from other impacted environmental justice communities

Keywords: Environmental Justice, Community-Based Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have co-presented at presentations conducted by the West End Revitalization Association, once for Community-Campus Partnerships for Health, and University of North Carolina Minority Health Conferences. Also as a former AmeriCorp*Vista volunteer and current Site Supervisor, I have the expertise to make the presentation on the topic at the conference.
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.