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University of Tennessee Knoxville

Alton Park/Piney Woods Environmental Health & Justice



Mary E. Rogge
mrogge@utk.edu

Project Description:

The long-term objective of the Environmental Health and Justice Collaborative (EHJC) is to facilitate and strengthen neighborhood empowerment and leadership, ongoing information exchange, health promotion, and policy improvements in regard to environmental health and justice - with a focus on industrial and commercial chemical contamination - in the Alton Park/Piney Woods (AP/PW) neighborhood of Chattanooga, Tennessee. To accomplish this, the EHJC is building on linkages that have already been established over the past five years among UT researchers who have been investigating levels, exposure pathways, and potential health effects of contamination along Chattanooga Creek; neighborhood organizations spearheaded by the Alton Park Development Corporation (APDC); The Southside Community Health Center (SCHC); and Howard School. A community organizer was hired, through this grant to work with APDC to develop a neighborhood-based model of information exchange called the Neighborhood Environmental College (NEC) to involve the community in emerging research about chemicals in AP/PW, associated health concerns, and decision-making regarding risk reduction strategies. This model is a venue to build on existing connections with AP/PW residents about basic environmental health and justice issues. Neighborhood youth are engaged in the technical research, through Project Explore and the proposed NEC, to participate in hands-on training onsite and at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville (UT). An environmental health specialist was hired to work with the SCHC to conduct a series of health assessments, to be conducted by neighbors and researchers jointly, including door-to-door, workshop, and focus group methods, to enhance baseline information in these areas and as prioritized by neighborhood collaborators. Finally, to ensure sustainability of the knowledge base and remediation strategies created by the EHJC, community leaders have been identified who can organize and educate other AP/PW members about local environmental issues, encourage ongoing leadership development, and be empowered to act collectively to improve environmental health in the AP/PW and other communities.

Collaborators

  • Deborah Maddox
    Executive Director
    Alton Park Development Corporation
  • Bill Hicks
    Executive Director
    Southside/Dodson Avenue Community Health Centers


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