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Your Environment. Your Health.

PEPH E-News December 2018

Volume 9, Issue 12: December 2018

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"Know Better Live Better" Social Impact Campaign Engages African-American Women in Environmental Health

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Know Better Live Better (KBLB) is a social impact campaign taking a strategic approach to engaging Atlanta-based African-American women of childbearing age in environmental health. Launched by the Community Outreach and Translation Core (COTC) of the Center for Children's Health, the Environment, the Microbiome, and Metabolomics (C-CHEM2), KBLB shares culturally relevant messages about how making little changes to reduce environmental exposures in the home may improve the health of pregnant moms and their babies.

"I noticed at C-CHEM2 outreach events that many African-American women did not think environmental health applied to them, and they weren't seeing themselves represented in environmental health messages," said Haguerenesh Woldeyohannes, who directs the C-CHEM2 COTC and helped create KBLB. "Through KBLB, we take great care to make sure that black women see themselves in our messages and that we promote changes mothers can make to improve their and their family's health."

Woman putting plastic baby bottle in microwave

A KBLB social media post with the message: "When plastic is heated, more chemicals are released and can enter our bodies. Avoid plastic and use glass/paper products whenever possible."
(Photo courtesy of KBLB)

KBLB provides mothers with information about environmental exposures in three main areas: cleaning products, beauty products, and food. "KBLB takes mothers' everyday lives – what is practical and normal to them – and shows them how it relates to environmental health," said Woldeyohannes. For example, KBLB provides mothers with simple swaps they can make to reduce toxic exposures in the home, such as using homemade cleaning products instead of bleach or using personal care products that are free of harmful chemicals.

To ensure KBLB messages resonate with their intended audience, the COTC works closely with the C-CHEM2 Stakeholder Advisory Board (SAB). "We get input from the SAB on KBLB visuals and messages every step of the way," said Nathan Mutic, C-CHEM2 administrator and project manager for the Southeast Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU). Mutic emphasized that C-CHEM2 researchers and PEHSU staff also provide feedback.

Child playing on floor

KBLB posted this image with the message: "Chemicals move thru the air and settle in dust on floors where children play. Using a wet cloth or mop to clean dust in homes can prevent exposure."
(Photo courtesy of KBLB)

The SAB was very influential in steering KBLB toward using social media as its primary platform for reaching its audience. "We wanted something lasting, something that would enable ongoing engagement," said Woldeyohannes. "The KBLB social media campaign helped us create a place where people can keep coming back for more information." Mutic added that social media has a convenience factor: "With social media, you are meeting people where they are and giving them short, bite-sized pieces of information that are easy to handle in today's fast-paced environment."

The COTC and SAB worked with a consultant group to select the campaign name and design the KBLB branding. According to Mutic, the design of KBLB as an umbrella campaign is key to being responsive to community questions and concerns. "KBLB is designed in a way that allows us to quickly create information about a new exposure or community health concern, plug it into the KBLB platform, and get the message out to our target audience," he explained.

Rashan Ali

Brand ambassadors help spread the KBLB message.
(Photo courtesy of KBLB)

With the KBLB brand established, the COTC teamed up with a public relations firm to build relationships with stakeholders who could help spread its message. For example, the firm helped KBLB secure a monthly column in a local newspaper, The Atlanta Voice, and get a public service announcement running on seven radio stations across the city. They also helped KBLB establish relationships with five "brand ambassadors," who are well-known African-American women in Atlanta with an interest in health. Brand ambassadors help increase the reach of KBLB by promoting and sharing campaign messages with their followers on social media.

Using social media analytic tools, KBLB tracks measures of campaign success, such as the number of likes or shares a post receives. This information helps the COTC determine the types of messages that are most popular and that generate conversation. "We are seeing mothers post on KBLB social media accounts about changes they have made to reduce exposures in their home. That ongoing engagement tells me that people are finding it useful," said Woldeyohannes.

You can follow KBLB (@KBLBATL) on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. To learn more about using social media to reach your target audience, check out resources from the October 2018 PEPH webinar, Meeting Target Audiences No Matter Where They Are: Strategies for Effective Use of Social Media for Public Health Communication.

Social Media Workshop Materials Now Available

Materials from the social media workshop (210KB) at the recent NIEHS/EPA Children's Environmental Health Centers (CEHC) Meeting are now available. Organized by the CEHC Social Media Workgroup, the workshop covered a variety of ways to incorporate social media into community outreach and research translation. Workshop topics included: "Developing a Voice and Content for Social Media," "Research Dissemination Through Social Media Content Creation," and "Master Social Media: Developing a Strategy and Measuring Impact."

The CEHC Social Media Workgroup also has created #ProtectKidsHealth social media content kits, which contain ready-to-post social media messages and images about children's environmental health, asthma, immune function, bisphenol A, and phthalates. For access to these materials, please email us at peph@niehs.nih.gov.

EHP Publishes Special Preterm Birth Collection

In recognition of Prematurity Awareness Month and World Prematurity Day in November, Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) released a special Preterm Birth Collection. The collection compiles articles related to preterm birth from the past three years and includes a selection of highly cited articles from further back in the EHP archive.

NIEHS Grantee Jada Brooks, Ph.D., Featured on NIMHD Website

Jada Brooks, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill School of Nursing, studies how air pollutants and psychological well-being affect heart disease risk among American Indian women in Robeson County, North Carolina. Residents of Robeson County experience poorer air quality and worse health compared with the state as a whole, and American Indian women have the highest heart disease-related death rate in the county. Brooks is investigating this health disparity from an environmental, social, and individual standpoint. She has received support for her five-year study, now in its third year, from NIEHS. Brooks also has received support from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) Loan Repayment Program. Her research is featured this month on the NIMHD website.

PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast Series

PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast

In our latest podcast, A Community Approach to Studying Noise and Health, we learn about the health effects of environmental noise and hear from noise researcher Erica Walker, Sc.D., who launched a citizen science effort to better understand the issue.

You can find more podcasts on the Environmental Health Chat webpage or subscribe to the series on iTunes. We want your feedback! Send comments and ideas for future podcasts to podcast@niehs.nih.gov.

PEPH Webinar: Engaging Health Professionals in Environmental Public Health

The Engaging Health Professionals in Environmental Public Health webinar, scheduled for December 7, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. EST, will focus on the importance of working with health professionals to build their environmental health literacy and address environmental health issues. Registration is required.

PEPH Grantee Highlight: Victoria Persky, M.D.

Victoria Persky, M.D., a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, works to create healthier communities in her city by addressing environmental health disparities. In her role as co-leader of the Community Outreach and Engagement Core within the Chicago Center for Health and Environment (CACHET), Persky works with community members and organizations in Southeast Chicago to identify environmental concerns and communicate research findings. She also engages with Chicago communities through her research, which focuses on asthma disparities and the hormonal effects of pollutant exposures. "It is important to listen to people in the community to understand what the big issues are," said Persky. "Then it's my job, as a researcher, to try to find ways to address those issues." Read the PEPH grantee highlight to learn more.

PEPH in the November NIEHS Environmental Factor

NLM's Tox Town Website Gets a Refresh

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is pleased to announce a new design for the Tox Town website, which provides consumer-level information on everyday locations and situations where toxic chemical exposure might occur. The new design, informed by extensive user research, now includes enhanced search optimization and improved readability. New features include:

Join Earth Challenge 2020, A Citizen Science Initiative

April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. In recognition of this milestone, the Earth Day Network, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the U.S. Department of State are launching Earth Challenge 2020, the world's largest coordinated citizen science campaign. Earth Challenge 2020 will engage millions of global citizens to collect data in areas such as air quality, water quality, biodiversity, pollution, and human health.

Right now, the Earth Challenge 2020 team needs your help to define the research questions that will shape the project. Examples include: "How much plastic is in my water?" and "How does air quality impact the health of my community?" Submit a research question on the Earth Challenge 2020 websiteor via Twitter (@Earth_Challenge), using the hashtag #EC2020 by December 15.

The Earth Challenge 2020 team will choose the final research questions based on global interest, geographic diversity, global impact, partnerships, and feasibility. In 2019, hackathons will be hosted around the world to help create the technologies that will underpin Earth Challenge 2020. In the spring of 2020, a new Earth Day Challenge 2020 mobile app will launch with the objective of collecting one billion data points by Earth Day of that year.

Upcoming PEPH-Related Events

March 13 – 17, 2019: CitSci2019 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Sponsored by the Citizen Science Association, the 2019 meeting focuses on broadening the citizen science community. They will have three tracks, including one focused on environmental justice issues that will address data collection to improve human and environmental health and that will be discussed by community-based organizations and engaged partners.

March 28 – 29, 2019: Plain Language for Health in Boston, Massachusetts. This workshop features two days of training with health literacy and plain language experts from the Tufts University School of Medicine, as well as an evening networking reception sponsored by CommunicateHealth. The event is co-sponsored by the Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute and will include an added focus on plain language writing for researchers and informed consent.

June 6 – 7, 2019: Integrating Quality Conference: Getting on Track to Achieve Health Equity in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The 11th annual Association of American Medical Colleges' Integrating Quality Conference is a highly interactive, interprofessional meeting focused on sharing innovative approaches and strategies for improving health care quality, patient safety, and high-value care through health professions education, care delivery, and research.

June 10 – 14, 2019: Health Literacy Leadership in Boston, Massachusetts. This one-week institute directly supports the work of professionals engaged in health literacy to transform public health and health care delivery in the United States and across the globe. Those working to improve patient-provider communication and health care quality, as well as those working with learners in community settings, will find the institute directly applicable.

Funding Opportunities

Visit the Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) page for more PEPH-related funding opportunities.

Mechanism for Time-Sensitive Research Opportunities in Environmental Health Sciences (R21). Supports environmental health research in which an unpredictable event provides a limited window of opportunity to collect human biological samples or environmental exposure data. The program aims to understand the consequences of natural and human-caused disasters or emerging environmental public health threats in the U.S. and abroad. See the Funding Opportunity Announcement for application due dates.

Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM). This program is designed to assist states, U.S. territories, federally recognized tribes, and local communities in implementing a sustained pre-disaster natural hazard mitigation program. The goal is to reduce overall risk to the population and structures from future hazard events while also reducing reliance on federal funding in future disasters. Deadline: January 31, 2019.

Addressing Health Disparities through Effective Interventions Among Immigrant Populations (R01 Clinical Trial Optional). Supports innovative research to develop and implement effective interventions to address health disparities among U.S. immigrant populations. Deadline: February 5, 2019.

Addressing the Etiology of Health Disparities and Health Advantages Among Immigrant Populations (R01). Supports innovative research to understand uniquely associated factors (biological, behavioral, sociocultural, and environmental) that contribute to health disparities or health advantages among U.S. immigrant populations. Deadline: February 5, 2019.

Research to Action: Assessing and Addressing Community Exposures to Environmental Contaminants (R01 Clinical Trial Optional). Encourages applications using community-engaged research methods to investigate the potential health risks of environmental exposures of concern to the community and to implement an environmental public health action plan based on research findings. Deadline: February 5, 2019. Check out the Research to Action Currently Funded Grantees webpage for a sense of the types of projects supported through this FOA.

Environmental Exposures and Health: Exploration of Non-Traditional Settings (R01 and R21 Clinical Trial Optional). Encourages interdisciplinary research aimed at promoting health, preventing and limiting symptoms and disease, and reducing health disparities across the lifespan for those living or spending time in non-traditional settings (i.e., playgrounds and nursing homes). Deadlines: February 5, 2019 (R01); February 16, 2019 (R21).

NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings (Parent R13). Supports investigator-initiated scientific meetings. NIEHS is interested in supporting meetings that will advance the field of environmental health sciences. Deadline: December 12, 2018 (application). A letter requesting permission (LRP) to submit an application is required and must be received six weeks prior to application receipt date. See the NIEHS Conference Grant webpage for information about the types of conferences and meetings the Institute is interested in supporting, as well as LRP guidelines.

Leveraging Health Information Technology (Health IT) to Address Minority Health and Health Disparities (R01 Clinical Trial Optional). Supports research that examines how health information technology adoption impacts minority health and health disparity populations in access to care, quality of care, patient engagement, and health outcomes. Deadline: March 4, 2019. A letter of intent is due 30 days prior to the application.

Collaborative Minority Health and Health Disparities Research with Tribal Epidemiology Centers (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed). Supports collaborative research between Tribal Epidemiology Centers and extramural investigators on topics related to minority health and health disparities in American Indian / Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations. Deadline: December 4, 2019.

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