Tony Bennett, DetroitStockCity.com

COEC: Community Outreach and Engagement Core

Contacts

COEC
Amy Schulz
Leader (ajschulz@umich.edu)
Barbara Israel
Co-Leader (ilanais@umich.edu)
Sharon Sand
Project Coordinator (slsand@umich.edu)
Chris Coombe
Evaluator & Policy Specialist (ccoombe@umich.edu)
Cindy Gamboa
Community Engagement Coordinator (cegamboa@umich.edu)

The Community Outreach and Engagement Core (COEC) serves as a resource to increase awareness and understanding of environmental health research, and to further scientific collaboration among University of Michigan environmental health researchers and the communities involved. The COEC works to facilitate translation and dissemination of research in a way that is meaningful to all stakeholders, including community members in Detroit and Southeast Michigan as well as local, state, regional and national policy makers and public health decision makers charged with establishing regulations and policies regarding environmental exposures and health outcomes.

The specific aims of the COEC are to:

  • Enhance, expand, and sustain partnerships with stakeholders (e.g. community-based organizations, local health departments, health advocacy groups, and other local, state, and regional partners) to translate and disseminate scientific findings on the role of environmental exposure in disease, and to increase understanding of community concerns among Center members.
  • Increase awareness and understanding of environmental public health among community members, policy makers, and public health decision makes at the local, regional, state, and national level through the translation and dissemination of scientific findings (primarily those from the M-LEEAD Center) on the association between environmental exposures across the lifestage and adult disease, in order to enhance capacity to promote improved environmental decision making.
  • Promote multi-directional dialogue and interaction among all stakeholders, including community members, M-LEEAD Center members, policy makers, and public health decision makers, with the goal of improving capacity to make informed environmental health decisions, and to inform and guide M-LEEaD Center research that addresses the needs of community and policy/decision making audiences.
  • Advance the field of community engagement through evaluation of our process and outcome evaluation activities, dissemination of results at local and national levels, and promotion of community engagement models for national implementation.

A key role of the COEC is to facilitate multi-directional interaction between Center researchers, policy makers, and community residents. To that end, the Stakeholder Advisory Board was established and works effectively together toward a shared vision, and is a key partner in the efforts listed above.

COEC Resources

The COEC provides a range of resources aimed at informing community members, policy makers, public health officials, and other relevant stakeholder groups about environmental health research and its implications. The COEC also provides technical review of materials (e.g. fact sheets, policy summaries) developed by COEC staff, and engages in meetings with community and policy stakeholders to discuss their research concerns.

COEC

Resources include (but are not limited to):

Fact Sheets
Short handouts that are distributed to residents, advocacy groups, and organizations within the community that summarize research findings and include strategies for addressing health concerns.
Policy Briefs
Brief documents that summarize policy implications of research and outline policy strategies for addressing the impact of environmental exposure on human health.
Policy Meetings
Meetings with policy makers and public health decision makers at the local, state, regional, and federal level to share research findings and policy recommendations.
Community Forums
Public meetings organized within the community that are attended by local elected officials, representatives from community-based organizations, health agencies, researchers and other stakeholders interested in understanding the research and the implications for the community's health.
Policy Presentations
Interactive, participatory presentations, either in person or through web technology, on environmental health topics that include relevant findings from ongoing research projects and information on the implications for behavioral and policy changes.
Policy Training
Workshops conducted by community and academic policy trainers in community and faith-based organizations to train residents in strategies for educating policy makers. Policy trainings aim to enhance capacity at the neighborhood level to have an impact on policy decisions.