Session

70 Years after Nuclear Bomb Testing: How Radioactive Waste Still Plagues a San Francisco Community and Threatens Public Health

Natasha DeJarnett, PhD, MPH, Program & Partnership Development, National Environmental Health Association, 720 S. Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO 80246 and Katlyn McGraw, BA, MPH, School of Public Health and Information Sciences, University of Louisville, 580 S Preston St, Louisville, KY 40202

APHA's 2020 VIRTUAL Annual Meeting and Expo (Oct. 24 - 28)

Abstract

“the health cost of unanswered questions: Engaging the bvhp community to inform environmental health research and education agendas”

Annemarie Charlesworth, MA, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

APHA's 2020 VIRTUAL Annual Meeting and Expo (Oct. 24 - 28)

The Bayview Hunter’s Point (BVHP) community is a low-income, historically African American community located in the Southeast of San Francisco within a few miles of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). The neighborhood and residents are disproportionately and cumulatively impacted by many stationary and mobile pollution sources, including toxic contamination and development work at the former Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard site (a US EPA-designated Superfund site), the former PG&E Hunter’s Point power plant, the Southeast Sewage Treatment plant, many under-regulated and unregulated polluting industries, diesel freight transport, and two freeways. The community has increasing, unanswered concerns about how these environmental exposures may be contributing to chronic conditions and disease, (i.e., asthma in children and adults, COPD, and cancer) prevalent in BVHP residents, and they want healthcare advice and research that will help them answer these concerns and reduce exposures. The Community Engagement Core (CEC) of the UCSF Environmental Research and Translation for Health (EaRTH) Center - which seeks to achieve a healthcare system that values and addresses environmental health and contributes to preventing disease and improving the health and well-being of the public - is uniquely poised to address this unmet need. This presentation will focus on how the CEC, an interdisciplinary Center comprised of researchers, clinicians, and medical students committed to environmental health, will engage BVHP health professionals and community health advocates to understand their specific environmental health needs and provide them with timely and relevant environmental health education and outreach materials, while also creating a feedback loop to ensure researchers are working on environmental health questions relevant to the needs of the BVHP community.

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs Advocacy for health and health education Assessment of individual and community needs for health education Environmental health sciences Public health or related education

Abstract

“using academic resources to build community sustainability”

Kim Rhoads, MD, MS, MPH, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA

APHA's 2020 VIRTUAL Annual Meeting and Expo (Oct. 24 - 28)

The Office of Community Engagement (OCE) for the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center works to sustain community engagement; facilitate equitable community-academic partnerships and disseminate cancer information in order to eliminate the inequities that lead to cancer disparities in Northern California. The OCE is located on 3rd Street in the Mission Bay area of San Francisco, approximately two miles north of our neighbors in the Bayview Hunter’s Point (BVHP) community. The neighborhood and residents of BVHP are disproportionately and cumulatively impacted by many pollution sources, including toxic contamination at the former Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard site (a US EPA-designated Superfund site) and have many, significant health disparities, including higher rates of advanced stage breast cancer and breast cancer mortality than other sectors of San Francisco. As past efforts by the US Navy to clean up the toxic contamination were found to have been falsified, the BVHP community remains frustrated and alarmed at the potential risk of continued exposures. In response, the Bay View Hunter’s Point Community Advocates launched the first meeting of the Community Advisory Board for Environmental Justice, engaging the OCE and another local BVHP agency, Rafiki Coalition for Health. Together, they developed a multi-level strategy to maximize community input on strategies to eliminate cancer disparities. This presentation will focus on how the strategy will support sustainable community engagement; community led educational programming for UCSF trainees, and community driven research with the potential to transform local environmental health policy.

Advocacy for health and health education Assessment of individual and community needs for health education Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs Public health or related public policy

Abstract

“challenges from the frontline: A community perspective on building academic collaborations aimed at environmental justice”

Michelle Pierce, Bayview Hunter's Point Community Advocates, San Francisco, CA

APHA's 2020 VIRTUAL Annual Meeting and Expo (Oct. 24 - 28)

Bayview Hunters Point (BVHP) is a low-income community of color located in southeast San Francisco. Since the 1950s, the residents and environment of BVHP have been disproportionately impacted by many stationary and mobile pollution sources, including radioactive and toxic contamination at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard Superfund site and dozens of other contaminated sites along the waterfront and throughout the community. Residents suffer from a high rate of asthma and cancer, and the state’s CalEnviroScreen ranks BVHP as one of the communities in the state most at risk from pollution. Large mega-developments proposed for new upscale residents threaten add to emissions loads and displace longtime residents and small family owned businesses. Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates (BVHPCA) is the voice of the community, working to improve the quality of life of residents of the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco through advocacy, information, community organizing, education and economic development. It is critical that we develop collaborations with research scientists, health care providers, and other community-based organizations to achieve success in advocating for environmental justice for the BVHP community. However it is also very difficult given 1) historic breaches of trust between the community and the medical community (researchers and the department of public health); 2) divisiveness among the community, due to decades-long wear and tear; and 3) a lack of financial support for community infrastructure and sustainability. This presentation will focus on our challenges and successes in building those collaborations, and our vision for the future.

Advocacy for health and health education Diversity and culture Public health or related public policy

Abstract

“building community-based environmental justice solutions”

Daniel Hirsch, University of California, Santa Cruz (ret.), Ben Lomond, CA

APHA's 2020 VIRTUAL Annual Meeting and Expo (Oct. 24 - 28)

The Bayview Hunters Point (BVHP) community of San Francisco, a predominately African-American community, is in close proximity to a USEPA-designated Superfund site, the Hunters Point Navy Shipyard (HPNS). Beginning in 1946, the US Navy brought scores of ships contaminated with radioactivity from nuclear weapons tests efforts to HPNS, where the radioactivity was sandblasted off the ships in the open air. These and numerous other activities led to widespread contamination of HPNS. Cleanup efforts have been troubled. The Navy’s contractor was alleged by EPA to have falsified radiation measurements in 90-97% of survey units. Cleanup standards employed are decades out of date and non-protective. This presentation will focus on parallels between the US Navy contamination of BVHP and the contamination of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL), a Department of Energy facility in the LA area that is the site of a partial nuclear meltdown. We will discuss the importance of engaging community from the beginning as equal partners – guiding the process of finding solutions - and the critical role of independent, scientific technical assistance as part of that partnership.

Advocacy for health and health education Assessment of individual and community needs for health education Environmental health sciences Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines