Community Engagement Core 2017-2022

"Building Resilient Communities and Preparedness for Environmental Disasters"

Resilient communities are less affected by, and recover faster from, disasters. Building communities that are more resilient requires an active, diverse, and engaged population. The Community Engagement Core will provide a link between the adaptive capacities of a community—the human, fiscal, political, and social resources that enable proactive behavior—and its responses and changes after disruptions, including natural disasters and environmental contamination events. Directed by Jennifer Horney, an associate professor at the Texas A&M University School of Public Health, the Community Engagement Core will build on existing relationships with community partners to ensure community involvement in every stage of the process, from the development of research questions to the communication of findings. Engagement will focus particularly on youth engagement to foster the development of the next generation of environmental health scientists in order to create community-based environmental health advocates and promote long-term sustainability of the Texas A&M Superfund Research Center’s work.


Specific aims:

  1. Build a community capacity to detect, assess, and evaluate the potential health effects of hazardous substances.
  2. Develop tools for community engagement, such as mobile applications for citizen scientists, and work with residents to validate and communicate citizen science data to decision-makers.
  3. Engage community members in collaborative research aimed at reducing exposure during environmental emergencies.
  4. Identify and support the development of factors that will improve the adaptive capacity of communities to proactively plan for and manage future environmental risk related to emergency contamination. Community partners in and around Houston, Texas, include:
    • Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s)
    • Charity Productions
    • Texas Center for Texas Beaches and Shores
    • Furr High School’s Green Institute
    • Jones Futures Academy
    • D C Planning Consultants, Texas City
    • Barbour’s Chapel Community Development Corporation, Texas City