Williamsburg Brooklyn Asthma and Environment ConsortiumEPA Grant Number: R828595
Title: Williamsburg Brooklyn Asthma and Environment Consortium
Investigators: Acosta, Luis Garden
Institution: El Puente
Current Institution: El Puente , New York University School of Medicine , Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center
EPA Project Officer: Fields, Nigel
Project Period: January 1, 2001 through December 31, 2005
Project Amount: $1,040,000
RFA: Environmental Justice: Partnerships for Communication (1999) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice , Health
The Williamsburg Brooklyn Asthma and Environment Consortium will establish a partnership between El Puente – a community organization in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center, and NYU School of Medicine, Department of Environmental Medicine, to conduct community-based environmental health research on asthma in Williamsburg’s predominantly Latino “Southside” neighborhood. The consortium seeks to bring together several approaches currently used to understand the connections between asthma and the environment: occupational health and workplace environment, outdoor air pollution monitoring, and indoor household environmental assessments. While there are many research projects to focus on one or another type of exposure, this project seeks to document multiple exposures of residents in an industrial low-income community. Additionally, the Consortium will use a community organizing model, focusing on capacity building of community residents through asthma self-help groups to conduct their own research, as well as design and implement interventions to improve environmental conditions. The partners will guide the research and provide expertise in designing and implementing interventions.
The Consortium will combine each partner’s experience in health promotion and community organizing, environmental and occupational medicine research, risk communication, and primary medical care, to create a holistic response to environmental precipitants of asthma in Williamsburg. This will take place by first solidifying the partnership between the three organizations, and implementing a participatory planning process to develop a clear research design. The central design involves 50-70 Southside residents who have asthma and are involved in El Puente’s Asthma Self-Help Groups. They will take active roles in the research by conducting home assessments, maintaining a 24-hour asthma and environmental exposure diary, and participating in surveys. Representatives from NYU will assist participants in home assessments by training participants and providing specialized tools. Doctors from Woodhull will monitor the participants’ health. El Puente health promoters and organizers will facilitate the groups of residents and assist in developing and implementing actions based on the evidence uncovered from the research.
The Consortium expects to develop a family health promotion model in which organized residents have access to easily understood, scientifically accurate, community-specific information about their health, their environment, and the relationship between the two, enabling them to take targeted action to reduce the impact of environmental factors on their asthma. Concrete results will include: increased capacity in the community to identify environmental precipitants to asthma and minimize them; improvements in the health of participants; a replicable partnership model for community-based research involving community organizations as the lead investigator with the support of research and health care institutions.