The Community Engagement Core (CEC) advances social science of environmental health and justice through a deliberative and participatory process of research, education, and advocacy in the state of Rhode Island. Combining academic and community-based approaches builds mutual trust and promotes understanding of complex socio-environmental problems to reduce environmental exposures, improve public health and inform public health and environmental policy. CEC compliments the SRP Training Core and Research Translation Core by working on multiple levels with a variety of constituencies, including community-based organizations, tribal communities, and local, state and federal government agencies, as well as with students and faculty at Brown and other universities.
- To work with communities to design and conduct social research to better understand and respond to pressing environmental health and environmental justice concerns.
- To build and deepen formal and informal partnerships with community organizations and state agencies to improve and advance environmental health education, legislation, regulation, and cleanup.
- To develop innovative strategies for environmental health and environmental justice education among academic, state and community partners.
- To communicate our work and its impacts to the broader public in Rhode Island and beyond.
Core Leader: Scott Frickel, Ph.D.
Core Co-Leader: Summer Gonsalves, MPH
Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT) serves people in economically challenged urban neighborhoods where fresh produce is scarce and who, as a result, are at risk for life-threatening, diet-related, chronic diseases. SCLT owns or directly manages 21 community gardens in Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls, and partners with schools, housing and community organizations to manage another 37. They also own or manage land used by 25 farmers to supply fresh fruits and vegetables to farmers markets, food businesses, restaurants and CSAs. SCLT will work closely with the CEC and SRP trainees to identify, assess, and mitigate environmental contaminants on urban farms, gardens, and other sites potentially impacting Rhode Island neighborhoods.
The mission of the Coalition Center for Environmental Sustainability (CC4ES) is to build sustainable and resilient communities with environmental, social and economic justice and equity. The meaning of “Environmental Sustainability” varies depending upon the context. Sustainability encompasses three essential components -- environmental (Planet), social (People) and economic (Prosperity or Profit). Environment can be a community of social interactions, a political system, a natural ecosystem, a business entity of economic interactions, or society as a whole. The CC4ES Environmental Justice & Diversity module underpins all of the CC4ES Modules since collective shift requires a system that champions justice and equity. Building such a system must start with awareness and continual practice of justice and equity at the individual level. CC4ES’ resources are structured in a journey format that accommodates individual pace and curiosity. CC4ES will be involved in the CEC’s work and planning efforts focused on issues and concerns related to “emerging contaminants” in Rhode Island.
Mystic Aquarium, Connecticut’s premier aquarium, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through conservation, education and research. Our CEC has partnered with the Mystic Aquarium to engage in youth activities, STEM training, and address environmental concerns.
Founded in 2016 with a generous donation from the family of Alan Hassenfeld, the Hassenfeld Child Health Innovation Institute aims to make a positive impact on the lives of children and their families in Rhode Island and beyond. The Hassenfeld Child Health Innovation Institute seeks to integrate research, clinical practice, public health efforts and educational programs to achieve the following four goals:
• Improve the health of children, making the communities we serve among the world’s healthiest places for children and their families
• Address the issue of poverty and how it impacts child health
• Serve as a national and international model for what can be achieved in child health
• Train the next generation of child health leaders
The Compass School is a public K-8th grade charter school and in accordance with our charter, enrollment is through a lottery which is open to all RI residents. The Compass School was founded in 2002 by a group of parents who desired an environment where their children would be challenged to become problem solvers, critical thinkers, and life long learners. They offer children a continuous, multiyear educational experience. An integrated, project based curriculum provides the foundation to develop each individual as a cognitive, physical, social, emotional, and reflective being. Their strength is gathered through reciprocal relationships among all members of the learning community. Students graduate knowing they are members of a global community, having developed an awareness of and practiced their personal, social and ecological responsibility.
TerraCorps works to create a future where land is the foundation for health and well-being for all people in every community. The mission of TerraCorps is to prepare and mobilize emerging leaders to help communities gain access to and conserve land for people and nature.
The Community Engagement Core helped in the formation of the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island (EJLRI) to create a network of community-based organizations that addresses issues related to Superfund brownfields clean up, remediation, and redevelopment, and to help this network secure resources, training and scientific expertise to address community concerns about toxics.
The Narragansett Indian Tribe is the only federally recognized tribe in Rhode Island. As a sovereign nation, the Narragansett Tribe has its own governing body comprised of Chief Sachem, Medicine Man, Tribal Secretary, Tribal Treasurer, a nine-member Council, and a Tribal Elders' Council. In 2007, there were approximately 2,600 Tribal members. The Tribal government has administrative and department offices, a health center, daycare and senior centers, and the Four Winds community building. The Narragansett Indian Health Center provides a holistic approach to address the health needs of its Tribal members. The Department of Community Planning and Natural Resources promotes sustainable community development and protects the health and welfare of the Tribal culture, community members and the natural environment.
One of the nation's fourteen federally-designated American Heritage Rivers, the Woonasquatucket River's watershed comprises five towns (including Providence), and includes a Superfund site and several Brownfields. Among its many projects, the WRWC is working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and others on remediation to address dioxin contamination at the Centredale Manor area. WRWC also works on maintaining and promoting land preservation along the watershed, and in developing environmental materials for students. The Brown SRP Community Outreach team has researched cleanup methods implemented at forty other similar Superfund sites, and has interviewed community organizations near those sites to learn about their satisfaction with the cleanup alternatives chosen. We are also helping the Watershed Council identify other stakeholders along the river, so that they may network and make a coordinated demand for cleanup to the most stringent standards possible.
Our Research Translation Core has fostered and strengthened our partnerships with the RIDEM and RIDOH. Through these partnerships, we have collaborated with individuals and organizations throughout the greater Northeast, and have become informed about emerging and existing environmental challenges in Rhode Island and beyond. Training workshops with broad participation by professionals and regulators have been designed to provide information about how to successfully manage these environmental challenges.
The Green and Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) is implementing a cost-effective and integrated approach to housing interventions by combining federal and philanthropic investments in weatherization, energy efficiency, health and safety. Together with our partners at the RI Department of Health, we are helping to develop the data and evaluation component of the program to quantify the environmental and health impacts of this intervention.
U.S. EPA's National Health And Environmental Effects Research Laboratory (NHEERL)
Many of Brown's SRP stakeholders have been concerned by sediment contamination, and have expressed an interest in improving sediment contamination characterization techniques. Our SRP received supplemental funding through NIEHS for a collaborative research translation effort with the U.S. EPA's National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory (NHEERL) to sample pollutants like PCBs from contaminated waters and sediments.
Comprehensive list of organizations specializing in issues related to human and environmental health and environmental justice.