Brown Superfund Basic Research Program: A Multistakeholder Partnership Addresses Real-World Problems in Contaminated Communities

Department of Sociology, Center for Environmental Studies, International Relations Program, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA.
Environmental Science and Technology (Impact Factor: 5.48). 08/2008; 42(13):4655-62. DOI: 10.1021/es7023498
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The NIEHS funds several basic and applied research programs, many of which also require research translation or outreach. This paper reports on a project by the Brown University Superfund Basic Research Program (SBRP), in which outreach and research translation teams collaborated with state regulatory agency personnel and community activists on a legislative initiative to mitigate the financial impacts of living in a contaminated community. The Environmentally Compromised Home Ownership (ECHO) program makes home equity loans of up to $25,000 available to qualified applicants. This collaboration provides a case study in community engagement and demonstrates how research translation and outreach activities that are clearly differentiated yet well-integrated can improve a suite of basic and applied research. Although engaging diverse constituencies can be difficult community-engaged translation and outreach have the potential to make research findings more useful to communities, address some of the social impacts of contamination, and empower stakeholders to pursue their individual and collectively held goals for remediation. The NIEHS has recently renewed its commitment to community-engaged research and advocacy, making this an optimal time to reflect on how basic research programs that engage stakeholders through research translation and outreach can add value to the overall research enterprise.

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