Community Outreach and Education Core

About the Community Outreach and Education Core

The Community Outreach and Education Core (COEC) serves as a resource to increase awareness and understanding of environmental health research, and to further scientific collaboration among University of Michigan (UM) environmental health researchers and the communities involved. The COEC works to facilitate translation and dissemination of research in a way that is meaningful to all stakeholders, including community members in Detroit and Southeast Michigan as well as local, state, regional and national policy makers and public health decision makers charged with establishing regulations and policies regarding environmental exposures and health outcomes.

The specific aims of the COEC are to:

  1. Enhance partnerships with stakeholders (e.g. community-based organizations, local health departments, health advocacy groups, and other local, state, and regional partners) to translate and disseminate scientific findings on the role of environmental exposure in disease, and to communicate community concerns, priorities and needs for research to UM-NIEHS Center members.
  2. Increase awareness and understanding of recent scientific findings (primarily those of the UM-NIEHS Center) on the association between environmental exposures and health outcomes.
  3. Promote dialogue among all stakeholders with the goal of improving capacity to make informed environmental health decisions.
  4. Conduct process and outcome evaluation of COEC progress.

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Leader:  Amy Schulz, Ph.D.

Dr. Amy Schulz is a Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education. Her current research efforts focus on understanding social determinants of health in urban communities, the contributions of social and environmental factors to racial and socioeconomic disparities in cardiovascular disease, social aspects of community and their relationship to health, and interventions designed to increase access to healthy foods in urban areas. She is Principal Investigator for the Healthy Environments Partnership, a community-based participatory research partnership focused on social and physical environments and cardiovascular disease in Detroit. In that capacity she has been involved in etiologic and intervention research on social and environmental determinants of cardiovascular health, and in the design and implementation of multilevel interventions to reduce health inequities. Dr. Schulz has also been involved in projects concerned with: the effects of colonization on the health of Native Americans; community-based approaches to research and community change; the evaluation of community partnerships for health promotion; and the role of grassroots environmental groups in addressing issues of environmental degradation and economic development.

Co-Leader:  Barbara Israel, Dr.P.H.

Barbara Israel is a Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education. She has published widely in the areas of community-based participatory research, community empowerment, evaluation, stress and health, social networks, and health inequities. Her research interests include: the social determinants of health; the relationship between stress, social support, control and physical and mental health; community empowerment and health; and community-based participatory research (CBPR). Dr. Israel has extensive experience conducting community-based participatory research in collaboration with partners in diverse ethnic communities. She is Principal Investigator of the Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center, a CBPR partnership established in 1995. The Center involves multiple funded research and intervention projects aimed at increasing knowledge and addressing factors associated with health inequities and quality of life in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Israel is involved in several of these CBPR efforts focusing on: an examination of the social and physical environmental determinants of childhood asthma and intervention strategies aimed at reducing these determinants; diabetes management and prevention; the relationship between psychosocial and physical environmental and biological factors and cardiovascular disease and strategies for addressing these factors (e.g., interventions aimed at increasing access to healthy foods and physical activity); and building capacity for and engaging in policy change aimed at eliminating health inequities.

Coordinator:  Myra Marie Tetteh, MPP

Myra Marie Tetteh was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, but also considers Ghana, West Africa as home since much of her family still resides there.

Ms. Tetteh is an alumna of the University of Michigan with an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Sociology, as well as a Master of Public Policy. In the future, Ms. Tetteh hopes to have a PhD in Urban Planning and work with municipalities to redevelop their cities with population health as a priority.

Member:  Niladri Basu, Ph.D.

Niladri Basu, PhD is an environmental toxicologist using applied and innovative methods to evaluate ecosystem and human health. He contributes to the COEC through provision of annual seminars on Research and Communication in the Environmental Health Sciences as part of the education experience of the UM-NIEHS Center Scientist program, and for community audiences.

Senior Internal Advisory Board:

The Senior Internal Advisory Board (IAB) for the Community Outreach and Education Core (COEC) will meet on a quarterly basis to assist the COEC with activitites to ensure researcher involvement and bi-directionality. Members include:

  • Niladri Basu, P-30 COEC Member, University of Michigan School of Public Health
  • Stuart Batterman, P-30 Exposure Core Leader, University of Michigan School of Public Health
  • Howard Hu, P-30 Center Director, University of Michigan School of Public Health
  • Barbara Israel, P-30 COEC Co-Leader, University of Michigan School of Public Health
  • Toby Lewis, P-30 Oxidative Stress Research Team Co-Leader, University of Michigan Health System/University of Michigan School of Public Health
  • Rita Loch-Caruso, P-30 Oxidative Stress Research Team Leader, University of Michigan School of Public Health
  • Karen E. Peterson, P-30 Exposure Assessment Co-Leader, University of Michigan School of Public Health
  • Thomas Robins, P-30 Oxidative Stress Research Team Member, University of Michigan School of Public Health
  • Amy Schulz, P-30 COEC Leader, University of Michigan School of Public Health
  • Donele Wilkins, President/CEO, Green Door Initiative, SAB Co-Leader

Stakeholder Advisory Board:

The Stakeholder Advisory Board (SAB) serves to strengthen dialogue and interaction between the UM-NIEHS Center and community stakeholders, to ensure understanding by Center researchers of community and policy needs, and to ensure effective dissemination of research in appropriate venues. Members include:

  • Ricardo Guzman, MPH, MSW is the Chief Executive Officer at Community Health and Social Services (CHASS) Center, Inc. He is also on the Board of the Detroit Urban Research Center.
  • Paul Max, BS is the Environmental Quality, Senior Industrial Hygienist at the Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion (DHWP). He is also a Steering Committee member of the Healthy Environments Partnership.
  • Angela Reyes, MPH is the Founder and Executive Director of the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation (DHDC). She also serves on the Board of the Detroit Urban Research Center and the Steering Committee of the Healthy Environments Partnership.
  • Sheryl Shellman Weir, MPH is the Section Manager of the Michigan Department of Community Health, Health Disparities Reduction and Minority Health Section (HDRMN).
  • Robert Sills, MPH, RRT is the Toxics Unit Supervisor of the Air Quality Division of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
  • Maggie DeSantis is the Founder and President of the Warren-Conner Development Coalition (WCDC). WCDC is a partner organization of the Detroit Urban Research Center and the Healthy Environments Partnership.
  • Sherita Smith, BA is a community-member-at-large. She is the Director of Imagine Creative Opportunities Now (ICON) and has also worked as a Policy Trainer on the Neighborhoods Working in Partnership project through the Detroit Urban Research Center.

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Example Resources Provided by COEC

The COEC provides a range of resources aimed at informing community members, policy makers, public health officials, and other relevant stakeholder groups about environmental health research and its implications. The COEC also provides technical review of materials (e.g. fact sheets, policy summaries) developed by COEC staff, and engages in meetings with community and policy stakeholders to discuss their research concerns.

Resources include (but are not limited to):

  • Fact Sheets: Short handouts that are distributed to residents, advocacy groups, and organizations within the community that summarize research findings and include strategies for addressing health concerns.

  • Policy Briefs: Brief documents that summarize policy implications of research and outline policy strategies for addressing the impact of environmental exposure on human health.

  • Policy Meetings: Meetings with policy makers and public health decision makers at the local, state, regional, and federal level to share research findings and policy recommendations.

  • Community Forums: Public meetings organized within the community that are attended by local elected officials, representatives from community-based organizations, health agencies, researchers and other stakeholders interested in understanding the research and the implications for the community's health.

  • Policy Presentations: Interactive, participatory presentations, either in person or through web technology, on environmental health topics that include relevant findings from ongoing research projects and information on the implications for behavioral and policy changes.

  • Policy Training: Workshops conducted by community and academic policy trainers in community and faith-based organizations to train residents in strategies for educating policy makers. Policy trainings aim to enhance capacity at the neighborhood level to have an impact on policy decisions.

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Fact Sheets

The Community Outreach and Education Core (COEC) in collaboration with the Stakeholder Advisory Board (SAB) and the Environmental Health Sciences (EHS) Core Center created fact sheets to lay the groundwork for broader community engagement in understanding the links between the environment and health.

View the list of fact sheets available in English and Spanish.

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To promote awareness and attention to environmental health more broadly, the Stakeholder Advisory Board (SAB) recommended the creation of a video. Working with University of Michigan School of Public Health students in the Materials and Methods in Health Education Programs course and the Environmental Health Sciences Core Center, the first video on oxidative stress, was produced.

In addition to the video, a discussion guide was created:

PDF File  Download the discussion guide