University of Alabama Birmingham, School of Public Health
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: H. KENNETH DILLON, PhD
This project is a partnership between the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Other partners include 10 practicing environmental public health specialists located throughout the state. These specialists participated in the field testing of a new community-practice environmental health curriculum. The primary focus of this project is to promote understanding of the human dimension of environmental health practice to facilitate the active participation of community members in environmental health programs and services. Project activities occur in three track areas: expanding support for environmental health at the state level; increasing environmental health practitioners’ community knowledge and practice skills; and evaluating the extent to which the Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health (PACE EH) methodology and tasks can be implemented in resource-poor communities.
Goals and Objectives
Goals of this project include the following:
- developing a supportive infrastructure for the project by establishing an advisory body (the Environmental Health Partnership Group);
- conducting an environmental public health specialists’ needs assessment;
- designing and implementing a community skills training curriculum for environmental public health specialists to include a train-the-trainer format;
- launching PACE EH projects in 10 target communities across Alabama; and
- conducting the PACE EH research agenda.
Products and Outcomes
Products developed to date include the following:
- a detailed report on the environmental public health specialists’ needs assessment;
- eight curriculum modules for a 4-day training program; and
- a training video on PACE EH.
Other products will include a manuscript for publication summarizing the needs assessment findings; a train-the-trainer curriculum (based on the field-tested curriculum); and several tools for use by environmental public health specialists in their efforts to complete the first five tasks of PACE EH.
Impact to the Community
A community of excellence in environmental health is one in which environmental health practitioners use their professional talents and skills in the context of nationally promoted core functions and competencies for environmental health programs. A level of excellence is reached when these practitioners mix their talents and skills with the active and sustained involvement of community laypersons, agency personnel, and leaders to advance community-specific approaches to identifying, solving, and anticipating environmental health problems and threats.
Feedback from Customers
Participants in the training curriculum have shown excitement about and enthusiasm for the project. Additional feedback will be obtained when participants begin their work to implement PACE EH activities. This feedback will include participants’ assessments of the applicability of PACE EH tasks in their target communities and evaluation of their efforts to engage community members in environmental health activities.