217443 Evaluation of the effectiveness of an innovative environmental justice community-university partnership

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sacoby Wilson, MS, PhD , Institute for Families in Society, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Omega R. Wilson, MA, LUTCF , West End Revitalization Association (WERA), USEPA Collaborative Problem Solving Project, Mebane, NC
Leah Renee Williams, MPH , Arnold School of Public Health, Department of Health Promotion, Education and Behavior, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Roy Charles, MEd , School of Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
This study seeks to address critical gaps in the scientific knowledge on the effectiveness of community-university partnerships in empowering vulnerable communities. The West End Revitalization Association (WERA), established a community-university partnership to address environmental injustice and public health issues in African-American neighborhoods in North Carolina. WERA developed the community-owned and managed research (COMR) framework as the foundation for its community-university partnership.Semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and self-administered surveys were used to evaluate the effectiveness of WERA's community-university partnership, particularly its COMR approach and use of the Environmental Protection Agency's collaborative problem solving (CPS) model to address environmental justice (EJ) and health issues.Thirty-five interviews of community leaders, residents, other stakeholders, and project partners were completed. At venues in community and professional settings, 75 respondents completed evaluation surveys. Interview participants agreed that the COMR approach has been effective in increasing the community members' trust of the scientific research process and addressing EJ and health issues in WERA neighborhoods. Interview data also revealed that participants strongly felt that COMR could be used by other communities impacted by environmental injustice to solve local problems. Analysis of survey data revealed similar results. There are mixed results on the impact and utility of the CPS approach. Interview and survey data reveal that WERA's community-university partnership has been effective at addressing local EJ and health issues. More work should be performed to evaluate the impact of the partnership and use of COMR to address EJ and health issues.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice

Learning Objectives:
Define community-owned and managed research. Evaluate the West End Revitalization Association's (WERA) community-university partnership.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I work as the USC project coordinator on this project. Also, I have attended many Environmental Justice conferenes and summits. I have taken several qualitative methods course during my academic career.
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.