Community Science Workshops (CSWs) are modeled on the European
Union’s “Science Shops,” which bring biomedical, physical, and social
scientists together with community partners, regulatory agencies, and the
public for the purpose of co-designing and developing community-based research
projects and informing public policy. This framework has assisted UTMB's Community Engagement and Outreach Core with responding to past environmental health disasters, and we envision that it will continue to be a viable methodology to use in the event of any future environmental disasters.
Notably, CSWs were utilized to create a consortium to respond to the Deepwater Horizon disaster. From this workshop, we developed a U19 federal funding proposal, utilizing community-based participatory research principles and focusing on
understanding the long-term human health effects attributable to the spill.
Drs. Elferink and Croisant currently serve as Co-Principal Investigators of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences-funded Gulf Coast
Health Alliance: health Risks related to the Macondo Spill (GC-HARMS) study. This research focuses on the potential human health effects of exposure to contaminated
seafood. Outcomes of this work include the development and dissemination of a
seafood consumption calculator for the Gulf region,
the involvement of Dr. Croisant in the NIEHS-led national Disaster Research
Response (DR2) initiative, and the acquisition of a Mobile Clinical Research
Unit to be used in future population-based research.