The Community Engagement Core (CEC) 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 CEC 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 CEC are to:
- Enhance, expand, and sustain partnerships with stakeholders (e.g., community-based organizations, environmental advocacy groups, and other local, state, regional partners) to translate and disseminate scientific findings on the role of environmental exposure in disease, and to increase understanding of community concerns among M-LEEaD Center members.
- Facilitate communication between community members, policy makers, and public health decision makers and M-LEEaD members, in order to promote multidirectional dialogue and interaction amongst these groups to inform and guide M-LEEaD Center research that addresses the expressed needs of community and policy/decision making audiences.
- Increase awareness and understanding of environmental public health among community members (including youth), policy makers, and public health decision makers 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 disease, in order to enhance capacity to promote improved environmental decision making.
- Advance the field of community engagement through evaluation of the CEC process and outcomes, dissemination of results at local and national levels, and promotion of community engagement and environmental health literacy models for national implementation
A key role of the CEC is to facilitate multi-directional interaction between Center researchers, policy makers, and community residents. To that end, the Stakeholder Advocacy Board was established and works effectively together toward a shared vision, and is a key partner in the efforts listed above.
The CEC 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 CEC also provides technical review of materials (e.g. fact sheets, policy summaries) developed by CEC staff, and engages in meetings with community and policy stakeholders to discuss their research concerns.