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Your Environment. Your Health.

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Cornelis Elferink, Ph.D.

Project Description

NIEHS Grant: U19ES020676

The mission of the Gulf Coast Health Alliance: Health Risks Related to the Macondo Spill (GC-HARMS) consortium was to explore the health impacts and community resiliency related to the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) disaster by fostering collaborative interactions among multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional basic and clinical investigators — buttressed by active participation of various community partners — to pursue both fundamental and translational research pertinent to the effects of the oil spill on human health.

The GC-HARMS consortium involved the University of Texas Medical Branch, the University of Pennsylvania, Texas A&M University at Galveston, Louisiana State University, and Gulf Coast community partners (see list below) impacted by the DWH disaster. This endeavor was enhanced through collaboration with anthropologists at the University of Arizona bringing experience in measuring community vulnerability and resiliency.

The overall theme of the GC-HARMS consortium was to understand and communicate the human health risks of exposure to potentially hazardous food-borne petrogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Our goals, developed in collaboration with our community partners were to: 1) assess PAH contamination of Gulf seafood consumed by and sold by subsistence fishing communities, 2) determine the toxicity of petrogenic PAH, 3) evaluate exposure and health outcomes in the human population, and 4) translate and disseminate findings to our community stakeholders for development of appropriate outreach and education activities.

Community Partners

  • Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organization, Thibodaux, La.
  • Center for Environmental and Economic Justice Inc., Biloxi/Gulfport, Miss.
  • Louisiana Environmental Action Network
  • Mississippi Coalition for Vietnamese Fisherfolk and Families, Biloxi/Gulfport, Miss.
  • South Bay Communities Alliance of Alabama, Coden, Ala.
  • United Houma Nation, Houma, La.
  • Zion Travelers Cooperative Center, Phoenix, La.
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