CBR articles of interest in Environmental Health Perspectives

Posted by on December 16, 2005

[posted from Community Based Participatory Research]

The October Issue of Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) contains several articles that may be of interest to listserv subscribers. This issue contains a mini-monograph with six articles highlighting the experiences of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)/U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Centers for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research. The series included discussion of methodologic issues for conducting community-based participatory research. Citations and abstracts from relevant articles are included below including one not part of the mini-monograph.

EHP content is free online.

Environmental Health Perpectives
Volume 113, Issue 10 (October 2005)

Lessons Learned for the National Children’s Study from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences/U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Centers for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research
CA Kimmel, GW Collman, N Fields, B Eskenazi

This mini-monograph was developed to highlight the experiences of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)/U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Centers for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research, focusing particularly on several areas of interest for the National Children’s Study. These include general methodologic issues for conducting longitudinal birth cohort studies and community-based participatory research and for measuring air pollution exposures, pesticide exposures, asthma, and neurobehavioral toxicity. Rather than a detailed description of the studies in each of the centers, this series of articles is intended to provide information on the practicalities of conducting such intensive studies and the lessons learned. This explication of lessons learned provides an outstanding opportunity for the planners of the National Children’s Study to draw on past experiences that provide information on what has and has not worked when studying diverse multiracial and multiethnic groups of children with unique urban and rural exposures. The Children’s Centers have addressed and overcome many hurdles in their efforts to understand the link between environmental exposures and health outcomes as well as interactions between exposures and a variety of social and cultural factors. Some of the major lessons learned include the critical importance of long-term studies for assessing the full range of developmental consequences of environmental exposures, recognition of the unique challenges presented at different life stages for both outcome and exposure measurement, and the importance of ethical issues that must be dealt with in a changing medical and legal environment. It is hoped that these articles will be of value to others who are embarking on studies of children’s environmental health.

Community-Based Participatory Research: Lessons Learned from the Centers for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research
BA Israel, EA Parker, Z Rowe , A Salvatore, et al.

Over the past several decades there has been growing evidence of the increase in incidence rates, morbidity, and mortality for a number of health problems experienced by children. The causation and aggravation of these problems are complex and multifactorial. The burden of these health problems and environmental exposures is borne disproportionately by children from low-income communities and communities of color. Researchers and funding institutions have called for increased attention to the complex issues that affect the health of children living in marginalized communities–and communities more broadly–and have suggested greater community involvement in processes that shape research and intervention approaches, for example, through community-based participatory research (CBPR) partnerships among academic, health services, public health, and community-based organizations. Centers for Children?s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research (Children?s Centers) funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were required to include a CBPR project. The purpose of this article is to provide a definition and set of CBPR principles, to describe the rationale for and major benefits of using this approach, to draw on the experiences of six of the Children?s Centers in using CBPR, and to provide lessons learned and recommendations for how to successfully establish and maintain CBPR partnerships aimed at enhancing our understanding and addressing the multiple determinants of children?s health.

Declining Sex Ratio in a First Nation Community
CA Mackenzie, A Lockridge, M Keith

Members of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation community near Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, voiced concerns that there appeared to be fewer male children in their community in recent years. In response to these concerns, we assessed the sex ratio (proportion of male births) of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation over the period 1984-2003 as part of a community-based participatory research project. The trend in the proportion of male live births of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation has been declining continuously from the early 1990s to 2003, from an apparently stable sex ratio prior to this time. The proportion of male births (m) showed a statistically significant decline over the most recent 10-year period (1994-2003) (m = 0.412, p = 0.008) with the most pronounced decrease observed during the most recent 5 years (1999-2003) (m = 0.348, p = 0.006). Numerous factors have been associated with a decrease in the proportion of male births in a population, including a number of environmental and occupational chemical exposures. This community is located within the Great Lakes St. Clair River Area of Concern and is situated immediately adjacent to several large petrochemical, polymer, and chemical industrial plants. Although there are several potential factors that could be contributing to the observed decrease in sex ratio of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, the close proximity of this community to a large aggregation of industries and potential exposures to compounds that may influence sex ratios warrants further assessment into the types of chemical exposures for this population. A community health survey is currently under way to gather more information about the health of the Aamjiwnaang community and to provide additional information about the factors that could be contributing to the observed decrease in the proportion of male births in recent years.

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