Environmental Justice Publication
Engaging Communities in Research on Cumulative Risk and Social Stress
By Devon Payne-Sturges, 2015-12-29
A new analysis of the scientific benefits and challenges of engaging communities in cumulative risk research was recently published by EJI member, Dr. Devon Payne-Sturges (USA) in the journal Environmental Justice.
Cumulative risk assessment has been proposed as a methodology to evaluate the impacts or possible synergistic effects of multiple environmental, physical and social stressors on human health. Addressing cumulative risk is an important priority for environmental justice advocates in the United States. The article reviews the range of community engagement approaches utilized and lessons learned by academic and community researchers funded by US EPA through the understanding of the role of nonchemical stressors and developing analytic methods for cumulative risk assessments under the Science To Achieve Results (STAR) extramural research program. Dr. Payne-Sturges and her co-authors conclude with suggestions to improve community engaged research on cumulative risk involving environmental and social stressors:

1) provide for flexibility in the mode of community engagement;

2) address conflict between research timing and engagement needs,

3) develop approaches for communicating about the uniquely sensitive issues of nonchemical stressors and social risks; and

4) encourage the evaluation of community engagement efforts.

The journal Environmental Justice grants free access to this article through January 6, 2016. For accessing the article please click here.
Image: © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.