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Your Environment. Your Health.

Engaging Communities to Advance Environmental Health Policy

PEPH Workshop: Engaging Policy and Decision Makers

September 7-8, 2011
Iowa City, IA


Meeting Description:

This two-day event promoted shared discussions on community and policy maker engagement in environmental health and environmental justice. The meeting consisted of three inter-related parts:

  1. The Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) Workshop – focused on engaging policy makers
  2. Hansen Award – focused on engaging communities
  3. Federal Interagency Working Group EJ Listening Session – engaged meeting participants in identifying rural EJ issues


Day 1: PEPH Workshop – Engaging Policy and Decision Makers (198KB)

Building partnerships with and communicating effectively to key audiences are central characteristics of the Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH). It is well recognized that to promote environmental public health and prevent harmful environmental exposures, policy and decision makers must be informed of the latest environmental health science research and what it means for human health. Within the PEPH program, grantees work in both urban and rural settings, as such they use different approaches to interact with and communicate to policy and decision makers. In the spirit of PEPH with its goal of breaking down programmatic silos and fostering interactions across grant-based program, the purpose of this meeting was to provide a venue for PEPH grantees and partners to have small group discussions to share strategies used to engage policy and decision makers and learn about successful/different approaches.


  1. Increase awareness of strategies to engage policy and decision makers in rural and urban settings
  2. Highlight successful elements of strategies
  3. Promote interactions among grantees from across different grant programs
  4. Identify gaps, emerging issues, and opportunities for engaging policy and decision makers

Day 2: National Workshop and Environmental Justice Listening Session (151KB)  

The annual Richard and Barbara Hansen Leadership Award and Distinguished Lectureship honors persons who have demonstrated exemplary leadership in the health field and brings them to the University of Iowa campus for interaction with students, faculty, and public health professionals. This year the award recipient is Dr. Kenneth Olden, a long-time champion of community participation in the full spectrum of environmental health research. His lecture was preceded by a conference on community strategies to address environmental health in the Midwest. For more information about the 2011 Hansen Leadership Award recipient and this national conference please refer to >

The EJ Listening Session (653KB) is an opportunity to provide Federal Agency representatives with input on key and emerging environmental justice issues. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is leading a coordinated effort of Federal agencies to engage communities across the country to inform the development of a new strategy to address environmental justice and disproportionate environmental exposures to minority, low socio-economic status, tribal, and other vulnerable populations. This particular listening session included presentations and discussion time to explore and highlight rural environmental justice issues.

Meeting Sponsors:

  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
  • University of Iowa College of Public Health and the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center
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