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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.

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