Community Engagement Core
CEC Events and Highlights
The Community Engagement Core (CEC) conducts and actively disseminates the Center’s cutting-edge, community-engaged environmental health research, making it accessible to community members, policy-makers, researchers and educators, public health practitioners, and healthcare providers through relationship-building and innovative dissemination of scientific findings via in-person and technology-based communication methods. Locally, the CEHNM has joined forces with community partners, including WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Inc. (WE ACT), South Bronx Unite, and Little Sisters of the Assumption, all of which are well rooted within the markedly disadvantaged, medically underserved, environmentally burdened Northern Manhattan and South Bronx communities. The CEC has ongoing, successful partnerships by which we identify these communities’ concerns, provide information about CEHNM findings that can be used to address them, and engage community and other stakeholders in dialogues to promote sound personal and policy decisions about environmental health. We propose to realize broader national and international outreach through widespread communications via media and digital platforms.
The CEC’s ongoing efforts to promote healthy and resilient homes and communities meaningfully address a wide array of environmental health issues, including facilitating conversion to clean heating, reducing local vehicular emissions, climate resilience, and emergency preparedness among vulnerable groups. This focus fully leverages the strengths and expertise of our new CEC director, Dr. Diana Hernández, and is the ideal outgrowth for CEHNM’s overall strategic vision and organizational structure, which emphasizes the translation of scientific evidence into prevention. With new leadership and additional community partners, we have substantial momentum to support existing projects and begin new initiatives. Moving forward, the CEC will collaborate with numerous stakeholders, including those who serve on our stakeholder advisory board (SAB)—which features distinguished multi-sectoral advisors involved in education, the news media and communication, and local and regional government agencies—to provide community-engaged initiatives. Our specific aims are to: 1) foster effective collaboration between community members and Center investigators; 2) broaden partnerships to support environmental health policy and advocacy; 3) implement an active communications strategy; 4) engage in multi-level training and outreach and engagement activities; and 5) evaluate the impact of our work.
We accomplish these goals through:
a) Research and educational forums to address community concerns
b) Scientific training in community leadership programs
c) Scientific testimony at public hearings related to timely environmental health policy issues
d) Briefings and roundtables for policymakers
e) Youth mentoring
f) Communicating environmental health research findings to community organizations to improve the health of the communities we serve
The CEHNM CEC will collaboratively develop and actively disseminate our Center’s cutting-edge, community-engaged environmental health research, making it accessible to community members, policy-makers, researchers and educators, public health practitioners, and healthcare providers through relationship building and active dissemination of scientific findings via in-person and technologically enabled communication methods. We will foster strong collaborations between Center investigators and community and government partners in order to more effectively communicate science and identify the needs and interests of key stakeholders. We define “community” at several levels: first, Columbia University’s neighbors in Northern Manhattan and South Bronx communities can personally connect with investigators and students to achieve local impact. However, because Center researchers engage populations across the country and around the world, and because environmental health issues affect people worldwide, we also subscribe to a broader sense of community that includes the city, state, national, and global scales. Hence, our CEC will pursue local community engagement as well as global community outreach, via the internet, social media, and traditional media.
Core Director: Diana Hernandez, PhD (MSPH/SMS)
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