On August 19, 2009 five SRP programs from across the country came together to present “Working Together: Aligning Communities, Academia, and US EPA” at the US EPA’s 2009 Community Involvement Coordinator’s Training Conference (CIC conference) in Seattle, Washington.
The CIC conference is designed to provide professional training and a platform to discuss community involvement and public communication, education, and stewardship programs within environmental programs for federal, tribal, state, and local agency staff. This year’s conference theme was: Reaching Across Boundaries: Sharing Challenges and Opportunities.
Led by Katie Frevert, University of Washington’s (UW) Research Translation and Outreach Core Manager; the University of California – San Diego (UCSD), and the University of Arizona’s (UA) Research Translation and Community Outreach cores came together to present a series of case studies on community, academic, and governmental partnerships to improve community outreach to populations neighboring Superfund sites. The specific goals of the SRP session were to:
- Improve SRP engagement with the CIC as partners by seeking input on how to bridge gaps and work more closely together;
- Inform participants on how to leverage resources of academia as a partner;
- Inform participants about the SRP mission, history, existing SRP tools and resources.
In response, the following case studies were presented:
- The Northwest Toxic Communities Coalition- Supporting and Empowering Communities Impacted by Toxic Waste, by Darlene Schanfald- Northwest Toxic Communities Coalition and Katie Frevert, University of Washington
- Building a Community-Based Participatory Research Program with Promotoras, by Denise Moreno Ramirez and Monica Ramirez, University of Arizona
- Reducing Exposure to Superfund Chemicals in Tribal Communities Along the U.S.- Mexico Border, Hiram Sarabia and Dr. Keith Pezzoli, University of California – San Diego
The session concluded with an interactive panel discussion comprised of the presenters and Leana Rosetti, US EPA Region 9 CIC, to address the scenarios presented, provide insight, gain input, and brainstorm alternative ideas for collaborating, as well as exploring ways to improve the SRP’s engagement with CIC partners. By the end of the session, participants were aware of the SRP at a national level, the breadth of the SRP outreach, educational expertise, and community resources, and learned that the SRP is a committed resource for the US EPA.
Special thanks to Maureen Avakian, MDB, Inc., and Beth Anderson, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for their guidance and support.