Community Science

My NYC Air: Environmental Health & Justice Community Science

Air quality in New York City has improved over the past several decades, but many air pollutants remain at levels that can affect New Yorkers health including children, seniors, those with chronic health conditions, and low-income, communities of color.

One barrier to reducing air pollution is our limited ability to identify local sources of air pollution like pollution coming from idling trucks and buses.


What is Community Science?

Community Science is when the public participates and collaborates in research to increase what we know about a problem. Through Community Science, people share and contribute to data collection and monitoring programs.

Engaging community members in community science can:

  • Provide useful information in types of local air emissions patterns and identify/share areas of the city that need additional monitoring and research.
  • Increase local residents’ participation in collecting, interpreting and communicating air quality data
  • Inform the local community and decision-makers on air quality issues as identified by NYC residents.

“My NYC Air: Community Science” Pilot Program

The rise of cell phone technology has made it easier for researchers and community members to crowdsource data (enlist large groups of people to collect data). Using a free online crowd-sourcing survey tool, Mount Sinai TCEEE and NYC DOHMH are partnering with groups to create a “My NYC Air” survey tailored to the needs of the community to collect environmental data on neighborhood air quality-related health concerns and sources of air pollution.


Overall Project Goals:

Establish meaningful & sustainable collaborations to enhance the capacity of frontline communities to proactively identify local sources of outdoor air pollutants.

1. Establish meaningful & sustainable collaborations to enhance the capacity of frontline communities to proactively identify local sources of outdoor air pollutants.

2. Conduct pilot testing of our free mobile air quality survey to gain information on how to effectively collect and communicate crowd-sourced data.

3. Provide organizations with the training tools to increase community participation in acquiring, interpreting, and communicating air quality


Using Data to Tell Stories

The New York Department of Health: Environment & Health Data Portal


A tool for exploring how the environment and  health shapes health in NYC:


Partnerships:

Mount Sinai and NYCDOHMH are partnering with local schools and organizations to recruit student volunteers interested in becoming community scientists.

Over the course of the pilot program, participants will work as teams to:

1. Receive training on environmental health & justice, community science methods, and how to take research to action.

2. Collect local environmental health data alongside community members using the mobile Ona.io community science platform and Air Beam (low-cost, air sensor).

3. Document their experiences using a free mini-documentary tool.

4. Analyze data with partners.

5. Develop innovative ways to communicate findings back to the community and decision makers.


Interested in participating or have questions?

Contact: Luz Guel, Community Engagement Coordinator, Mount Sinai TCEEE (luz.guel@mountsinai.org)