We believe environmental health research should be a collaborative, non-hierarchical process between the community and scientists.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton issued Executive Order 12898 (1), which charged 11 federal agencies with developing policies and procedures to research and address the disparate impact of environmental hazards on communities of color and low-income populations.
On that same day, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) hosted a conference that emphasized the importance of community involvement in creating and implementing research agendas that address environmental justice issues. This moment helped to change the model of environmental health research.
Communities and Science are Stronger Together.
There is no doubt that more attention and funding are needed to effectively respond to egregious health disparities by race, ethnicity and economic class nationwide. We do not know enough about the disproportionate burden of pollution across communities, and the impacts of multiple and cumulative exposures to environmental hazards. The research we need can ultimately influence policy solutions that will help create healthier communities.
At WE ACT, we believe that scientists and communities can partner to create solutions. Simply put, communities and science are stronger when they work together. This is called Community-Based Participatory Research, or CBPR, and our goal is to protect the environment and everyone’s health, but especially communities of color or low-income populations.