Online Program

“Gulf Coast Health Alliance: Health risks related to the Macondo Spill - Using a CBPR Approach to Developing Tools & Techniques That Communicate Risk and Increase Environmental Health Literacy in Gulf Coast Communities Affected by the DWH Oil Disaster”

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 3:10 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

John Sullivan, MA, Sealy Center for Environmental Health & Medicine / NIEHS CET COEC, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
Sharon Croisant, MS, PhD, Associate Professor: Department of Pediatrics (CEIID); Director: NIEHS COEC, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
Wilma Subra, MS, Technical Advisor, Louisiana Environmental Action Networks, Baton Rouge, LA
John Prochaska, DrPH, MPH, Department of Preventive Medicine & Community Health, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
Marilyn Howarth, MD, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Marylee Orr, Director: Louisiana Environmental Action Network, LEAN, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, Baton Rouge, LA
Michael Orr, BS, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, Baton Rouge, LA
Lanor Curole, MS, United Houma Nation, Houma, LA
Lacy Vito, United Houma Nation, Houma, LA
James Black, Reverend, Center for Environmental & Economic Justice, Biloxi, MS
Joi Black-Tate, Center for Environmental & Economic Justice, Biloxi, MS
Zack Carter, MA, GC-HARMS Outreach Coordinator, Alabama Fisheries Cooperative, Coden, AL
Sharon Gauthe, BA, Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organizing, Thibodaux, LA
Cornelis Elferink, PhD, Pharmacology & Toxicology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX
At the onset of the DWH oil crisis, six non-profit community-based organizations and three universities (lead by the University of Texas Medical Branch) were funded through NIEHS to create the Gulf Coast Health Alliance: Health Risks related to the Macondo Spill (GC-HARMS).  This CBPR project aimed to determine the extent of oil exposure in frequently consumed seafood species from the Gulf and in humans using that food web by monitoring levels of a suite of petrogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.  Adoption of a CBPR approach reflects the NIEHS mandate that funded science would be grounded in the needs and cultural life-ways of affected communities.  Communities and local fishermen were key collaborators in research and dissemination of findings.

The CBPR relationship provided a structure for democratic decision-making and design, culminating in development of a risk message referenced to the project’s findings, and a range of traditional and virtual strategies for disseminating information on risk and outcomes of seafood sampling.  Our presentation focuses on how CBPR values, Environmental Justice principles and Environmental Health Literacy concepts guide formulation of a nuanced risk message and creation of dissemination tools to accommodate a wide range of environmental health literacy and learning styles in affected communities.  Major emphasis will be placed on a web-based, multi-level tool, and direct-outreach fishermen’s forums deployed throughout the study region.

The CBPR process allowed communities and science teams to become familiar with each other’s agendas and priorities.  Balancing urgent need of vulnerable communities for consumption guidelines against the careful nature of scientific processes  was crucial. GC-HARMS expanded Citizen Science models beyond data-gathering, including collaborative selection / development of methods and materials for dissemination on-site, and design / maintenance of a web-based portal.  Community hub coordinators handle regional messaging and GC-HARMS-affiliated fishermen serve as peer-to-peer project ambassadors, and risk messengers within their networks.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Environmental health sciences
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
List major values and practice principles of CBPR referenced in the presentation. Compare urgent needs and environmental justice issues of affected communities with methods and priorities of science as illustrated in GC-HARMS project. Explain the importance of establishing and maintaining multi-directional channels for communication and dialogue as key elements in CBPR focused community science. Describe Environmental Health Literacy in terms of a linkage across various scientific and communication disciplines, and real community needs.

Keyword(s): Environmental Justice, Community-Based Partnership & Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have managed Community Outreach & Dissemination at the grass roots level for the GC-HARMS NIEHS funded U19 Consortium Project since its launch in 2011. I have been responsible for guiding the development and roll-out of a collaborative model of information sharing, and have personally participated in such sharing in numerous sites throughout the tri-state project region (LA, MS, AL)
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.