Building effective, equitable, and sustainable university-community partnerships is essential to the success of environmental health science research. Yet, researchers and community advocates often do not have the capacity to build and maintain these partnerships. Without effective training academic and community stakeholders may miss important opportunities for bi-directional learning, potentially reproduce disparities between universities and communities, particularly in partnerships with historically under-served communities. Strengthening the capacity of academic and community partners engaged with environmental justice efforts to work together is central to the development of effective and equitable partnerships to address pressing environmental health issues.
The UC Davis Environmental Health Science Center and the Michigan Lifestage Environmental Exposure and Disease Center in Ann Arbor will collaborate to develop a curriculum for an Environmental Justice and Health Equity Academy. The project objective is to provide a new resource to strengthen capacity among environmental health centers across the country to foster meaningful multidirectional collaboration between researchers, community residents, administrative and legislative decision makers.
The project aims to develop a community of practice (COP) that assures community experience and expertise informs scientific research, and assures dissemination of environmental health science to address community concerns. The team will also develop several modules –based on community priorities– and refine the curriculum based on feedback from both academic and community participants.