Community Information Sheet: Understanding Environmental Health Risk Assessment

The UA SRP Research Translation Core (RTC) received a grant in 2016 from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to develop a community information sheet that describes the environmental health risk assessment process for environmental contaminants. ADHS approached the UA SRP because of their experience in developing environmental health educational materials. The new information sheet is designed for individuals living near Superfund sites and is entitled, “Understanding Environmental Health Risk Assessment”. 
 
The information sheet was developed by RTC Director Dr. Monica Ramirez-Andreotta and designed by Dorsey Kaufman a MS student in Illustrator and Design. Concepts presented include risk perception, regulatory standards, the four steps risk assessment process, and components of environmental risk assessment. 
 
A formative assessment was used to fine-tune the text and concepts presented in the community information sheet. The assessment was performed by partnering with diverse community, governmental, and university stakeholders. For example, focus groups were organized in two Arizona communities neighboring federal Superfund sites: Dewey-Humboldt (Iron King Mine and Humboldt Smelter Superfund site) and southern metropolitan Tucson (Tucson International Airport Area Superfund site). Experts chosen from government and academia were also asked to review the information sheet.
 
Kaufmann said of her experience: “Revisualizing the figures that communicate risk assessment was a collaborative effort, utilizing functional design to communicate environmental data.  Through our community engagement, we were able to examine the most effective and purposeful means of risk communication, evaluate the ways in which people receive and understand information about environmental quality and the potential exposure to contaminants near hazardous waste sites, and how design incites more informed citizens and behavioral changes”.