Scholars and government agencies alike are increasingly recognizing that effective environmental health research requires a balance of technical and social expertise to strengthen our understanding of the causes, consequences, and approaches to solving environmental health challenges. This workshop will 1) provide tools and resources to participants interested in strengthening their environmental health research, and 2) identify what further information and resources participants need to effectively carry out Social Science Environmental Health Research (SSEHR). This workshop will provide strong footing for a publically-available online education tool being developed by the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute, directed by Phil Brown at Northeastern University.
Over the course of this workshop, participants will:
- Increase their understanding of how collaborative, interdisciplinary research approaches can strengthen their environmental health research.
- Identify basic scientific concepts that will enhance their SSEH research.
- Improve their understanding of the SSEHR process.
- Identify networking resources for interdisciplinary SSEHR collaborations.
- Identify what further information and resources they need to be able to effectively carry out SSEHR. The results of this discussion will lead to the development of further materials that will be made available via the SSEHRI website and YouTube channel.
The workshop will begin with a showcase of video snapshots from leading SSEHR experts describing how interdisciplinary SSEH approaches strengthened their research and any resulting policy impacts. Participants will then work individually and in small groups to brainstorm ways that SSEH approaches could complement their own work, and to identify a potential project idea to use as a focus point through the rest of the workshop.
Facilitators will then introduce a range of scientific concepts that form the foundation of SSEHR. Using specific environmental health case studies (e.g. lead, BPA), we will highlight key concepts such as epidemiological and toxicological methods, including non-monotonic dose response curves and differences between animal studies and human exposures to toxins, among others. Participants will again have an opportunity to work individually and in small groups to identify key concepts whose understanding would support their own work. Facilitators will provide information about further resources to help in this quest.
Next, facilitators will present a basic overview of the research process for successfully conducting SSEHR. We will begin this section with some "nuts and bolts" related to funding and IRB review, and end with information about publishing and effectively reporting results back to communities.
The workshop will conclude with a presentation of resources available for networking with other SSEHR scholars, and a large group discussion on what further tools and resources participants would like to have to support their work as they move forward.
About the facilitators:
Christine Vatovec is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Vermont's College of Medicine, and a member of the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute under the direction of Phil Brown at Northeastern University. She will co-facilitate the workshop, and will present the social sciences perspective of collaborative Social Science Environmental Health research.
Robin Dodson is a research scientist at the Silent Spring Institute with expertise in exposure assessment and indoor air pollution. She is currently working on developing innovative exposure assessment methods for cohort studies and intervention studies aimed at reducing indoor pollution. She will co-facilitate the workshop, and will present the environmental health perspective of collaborative Social Science Environmental Health research.