Online Program

Environmental Public Health Disaster: Community Based Participatory Research Results in Successful Response

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Tanis Hernandez, MSW, LCSW, Center for Asbestos Related Disease, Libby, MT
Charlene Winters, PhD, APRN, ACNS-BC, Montana State University College of Nursing, Missoula, MT
Tracy McNew, LPN, MPA, Center for Asbestos Related Disease, Libby, MT
Decades of vermiculite mining in the northwest corner of Montana resulted in widespread, multigenerational, occupational and environmental exposure to Libby Amphibole Asbestos (LAA). Called “the worst environmental disaster” in U.S. history, exposure to LAA has resulted in 385+ deaths and 1,000s with asbestos related diseases [ARD]).  The EPA designated Libby a Superfund site in 2002 and declared a public health emergency (PHE) in 2009, the only PHE ever declared under Superfund law. The Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD) was established as a non-profit community based organization (governed by a volunteer board of community members) to address the public health needs. In 2003, CARD invited academic institutions and agency partners to engage in research to explore the unique properties of LAA, asbestos related disease presentation and trajectory. CARD successfully used community based participatory research (CBPR) with over a dozen academic and agency partners to: 1) create strong, cutting edge ARD and lung cancer screening programs, 2) conduct physical/behavioral health research, 3) develop national policy that entitles people with ARD (resulting from the Libby exposure) Medicare and a Pilot program, and 4) regularly engage local community members in activities to improve understanding of asbestos health issues and research goals and findings. The CBPR strategies (equal partnerships that collaborate in problem identification, proposal/program development, implementation and delivery of outcomes) utilized by CARD and its partners may serve as a model for other rural communities living near contaminated sites or facing public health disasters to address the public health needs of their communities.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Other professions or practice related to public health
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Explain the important elements of Community Based Participatory Research to adhere to in addressing community based public health issues. Identify the positive outcomes experienced in Libby, Montana that can serve as a model for other communities living near a contaminated site or facing a public health disaster.

Keyword(s): Community-Based Health, Community-Based Research (CBPR)

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a licensed clinical social worker working at the Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD) for the past twelve and a half years. I have worked in the capacity of case manager, outreach/education coordinator, behavioral research coordinator, community organizer, policy liaison, and the administrative director. In my roles at CARD, I have participated in many CBPR partnerships with more than a dozen academic institutions and federal agencies.
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.