What do we do?
We bring information and research results about environmental health, toxic exposures, and the specific research at Duke Superfund to professionals and the general public so that they can use this information as they make decisions. At the Duke SRC, our Research Translation Core designs activities and projects that involve both research translation and community engagement. By “research translation,” we mean communicating with professional audiences and putting information out for anyone to use. By “community engagement,” we mean working in an ongoing way with a community, listening closely to their needs and learning from their experiences.
How do we do it?
In our work, we connect with government agencies, industry professionals, community organizations, K-12 teachers, and other partners. You can read about some of our on-going projects below.
Partnering with Community Gardeners to Reduce Exposure to Soil Contaminants
Community-based participatory research: In 2016, the RTC initiated a community engagement project to understand and reduce exposures to soil contaminants, including pesticides, in garden soils. We are partnering with North Carolina Community Garden Partners, the Environmental Protection Agency, and North Carolina Cooperative Extension, among others. In addition to creating an exposure map tool for gardeners, the project involves qualitative research through site visits, interviews, and focus groups that will eventually inform a social marketing campaign that will aim to positively influence gardener behavior and management choices.
Partnership on an EPA Environmental Justice Grant About Subsistence Fish Consumption in Southeastern North Carolina
Community-academy partnerships and project coordination: The Duke Superfund Center’s RTC is an academic partner and project coordinator for an EPA Environmental Justice grant awarded to the Cape Fear River Watch in Wilmington, North Carolina, to explore subsistence fish consumption in three neighborhoods in the Cape Fear River Basin. The project also is being carried out in collaboration with the Wake Forest School of Medicine and the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic.
Partnering with Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU)
JSCU is a historically black university based in Charlotte, NC, that also receives funding from the Duke Endowment. We have brought JCSU students to Duke for a research field trip and worked with JCSU to train their community partners about brownfields and other contaminated sites. With JCSU, we have also developed a multi-day workshop connecting Charlotte-area educators and students with concepts about environmental health, environmental justice, and sustainability. Workshop participants take the experience back to their classrooms and communities. Learn about JCSU by clicking here. To read about past and upcoming workshops, visit our Environmental Justice Workshop page.
Public comment: In July, 2012, the EPA proposed changes to how it regulates certain PBDEs. Since one of our lead scientists, Dr. Heather Stapleton, focuses on many of the issues surrounding PBDEs, we provided comments to EPA’s proposed changes.
Scientific testimony: Both Dr. Stapleton and Dr. Theodore Slotkin have provided testimony, in legal or congressional settings, on issues related to Superfund chemicals.
Outreach to Industry
Furniture manufacturers: New research looks at the effects of flame retardants on human health and how flame retardants are being used in many consumer products. We are working to develop educational materials both for consumers and furniture manufacturers that explains recent research and how it may affect them. In 2016, the RTC joined a collaborative that includes USA Gymnastics aiming to promote awareness in affected industries about the potential health effects of flame retardant chemicals.
Training on Research Translation
Graduate course on research translation and science communication: In the fall of 2012, we launched a new course for graduate students on topics and skills related to effective research translation and science communication. You can view the course syllabus and other information on the course website here. We offered this course again in the spring semester of 2014.
Who are we?
Dr. Charlotte Clark, Director
Dr. Liz Shapiro-Garza, Director of Community Engagement Activities
Bryan Luukinen, Sr. Program Coordinator
Catherine Kastleman, Program Coordinator