Graduate Student Krista Haapanen Represents UC Davis at Annual PEPH Conference

On the 18th and 19th of this month, graduate student Krista Haapanen had the opportunity to represent UC Davis at “Engaging Diverse Partners: Strategies to Address Environmental Public Health,” a joint NIEHS meeting of the Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) network and Disaster Research Response (DR2) program. The meeting, which took place on the NIEHS campus in Durham, North Carolina, brought together scholars and advocates from across the country to focus on successful approaches for engaging with diverse partners.

In a series of presentations and small group discussions, participants discussed their unique experiences, opportunities, and challenges working with partners from Community-based and Environmental Justice Organizations, Educators, Healthcare Professionals, Tribal Communities, Decision Makers, and Workers. Liam O’Fallon, Director of the PEPH, placed particular emphasis on not only discussing past work, but also identifying next steps for advancing the NIEHS’ efforts to address environmental public health concerns.

Building Equitable Partnerships

June 28th, 2017 marked this year’s first bi-annual meeting of the Environmental Health Sciences Center’s Community Stakeholder’s Advisory Committee (CSTAC). Attendees, which included both CSTAC members and EHSC researchers, traveled from throughout the Central Valley to UC Merced where they spent the day exchanging updates, welcoming new members, and discussing the dimensions of equitable community-university research partnerships.

Members of the Environmental Health Sciences Center’s CSTAC represent a range of community organizations and agencies that work to promote environmental health and justice. Their expertise covers a wide range of environmental issues including air, water, food, and agriculture, and they work with the EHSCC’s Community Engagement Core (CEC) to align the activities of the EHSC to the needs and interests of communities facing high burdens of environmental hazards and social vulnerability. At the June 12th meeting, the CSTAC welcomed four new members: Isabel Arrollo of El Quinto Sol de America; Nayamin Martinez of the Central California Environmental Justice Network; Amrith Gunasekara of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; and Veronica Eady of the California Air Resources Board.

Environmental Justice Coalition for Water

For the last five years, California’s drought has given rise to a host of water policies aiming to ensure that all Californians have access to clean drinking water. Despite these policies, however, injustice in water allocation remains a significant problem.
​    As of 2016, an estimated 39 million people live in the state of California. The majority of these people live in urban areas (approximately 87% in 2010), and, historically, the urban majority has assumed more rights to water than the rural minority. Many of California’s rural communities are composed of primarily low-income people of color, most of whom speak little to no English. This combination of reasons causes these communities to lack significant representation within the state government, and allows the government to ignore their needs in favor of those policies that benefit the majority.