Year 2: Citizen Science in NYC School Communities
On February 9th, Mount Sinai CEC staff (Maida Galvez, Sarah Evans, and Luz Guel), Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation (CELF), and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) led the first professional development session for NYC middle school teachers as part of the “Citizen Science in NYC School Communities” program. The project was funded for Year 2 through the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYS P2I) Community Grant Award which will allow for CELF, CUNY Center for Urban Environmental Reform, NYC Department of Education, NYCDOHMH, NY Hall of Science, and the Mount Sinai CEC to engage NYC public school students as environmental health researchers to collect and analyze air pollution data from their neighborhoods.
During the 1st workshop, the middle school teachers were introduced to the principles of Education for Sustainability and pedagogy of Citizen Science. The Mount Sinai Community Engagement Core led the environmental health and justice portion of the workshop. Maida Galvez & Sarah Evans presented on the impacts of pollution in relation to human and environmental health and Luz Guel presented on the role of research in environmental justice communities. Workshop #2 will be at the NY Hall of Science on March 9th–Anthony Negron from the NY Hall of Science will present on the protocol for the AirBeam monitor and AirCasting app and NYCDOHMH will present on the “MY NYC AIR: Environmental Health Citizen Science” tool that allows anyone in the community to collect air quality and environmental health concerns using their smartphones. Through this training, teachers will begin to work with their students to create pollution prevention plans that can inform public health interventions that promote healthy communities.
20th Annual National Environmental Conference at Tar Creek
On Sept. 26th, 2018, our Project Coordinator, Luz Guel, and Environmental Health Research Fellow, Emily Moody, presented at The 20th Annual National Environmental Conference at Tar Creek in Miami, Oklahoma. This two-day event hosted National, Tribal, State, and local officials, Scientists, and concerned citizens as they reflect, celebrate and continue to seek solutions to one of America’s Worst Superfund sites, Tar Creek. Emily Moody presented to the group how lead exposure impacts adult health and Luz Guel presented on how to create citizen & community science programs in environmental justice communities. Thank you Local Environmental Action Demanded Agency for your dedication to ensuring community members are protected from environmental exposures. To learn more about LEAD Agency click here.
Citizen Science in NYC School Communities Symposium
On April 28th, the Mount Sinai CEC staff, the Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation, CUNY Center for Urban Environmental Reform, and NYCDOHMH, led a one-day symposium where the students and teachers presented their pollution prevention plans. For the past year, NYC middle school teachers and their students collected and analyzed air quality data from their neighborhoods using Air Beams. The students presented and proposed innovative solutions to air pollution to community leaders, city agencies, and parents in hope of informing public health interventions that promote healthy communities.
Citizen Science and Environmental Health in your Community
On Oct. 14th, 2017, Mount Sinai CEC staff, Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation, and Anthony Negron from the NY Hall of Science, led a one-day course titled “Citizen Science and Environmental Health in your Community ” a professional development session for NYC middle school teachers. The project was funded through the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYS P2I) Community Grant Award which will allow for CELF, CUNY, NYC DOE, and the Mount Sinai CEC to engage NYC public school students as environmental health researchers to collect and analyze air pollution data from their neighborhoods. During the workshop, the middle school teachers were introduced to the principles of Education for Sustainability and pedagogy of Citizen Science. Anthony Negron from the NY Hall of Science presented on the protocol for the AirBeam monitor and AirCasting app—teachers will then train their students to measure air quality in their school communities at different times of the day and different times of the year. The Mount Sinai Community Engagement Core led the Environmental Health and Civic Engagement portion of the workshop. Maida Galvez presented on the impact of pollution in relation to human and environmental health and Luz Guel presented on the role of research in environmental justice communities. Through this training, teachers will begin to work with their students to create pollution prevention plans that can inform public health interventions that promote healthy communities.
MY NYC AIR: Environmental Health Citizen Science (P30 Pilot Project)
We are proud to announce that the Mount Sinai Community Engagement Core received funding through the 2017 P30 Pilot Projects to pilot the “MY NYC AIR: Environmental Health Citizen Science” project. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), South Bronx Rising Together, Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation, and Mt. Sinai’s CEC have been working together to develop an application that can be used by the public and interested groups to record information about local air emission sources. Utilizing a broader community of citizen researchers, such as students, teachers, and community groups can provide useful information on patterns in types of air emissions (particularly on a local level), and identify and share chronically problematic ‘hot-spot’ locations with government and elected officials, healthcare providers, and fellow community members. Emerging data collection techniques could provide an important first step in designing novel methods for community air quality monitoring and assessment and engaging teachers, students, and communities in becoming active partners in research as well as in improving environmental conditions. The results can also help identify areas of the city for additional monitoring and research.
South Bronx Rising Togeher Education Summit 2017
On July 26, 2017, SBRT hosted an Education Summit that brought together principals, school administrators, community school directors, teachers, parent coordinators, nurses, coaches, community school partners, and parents to discuss ways elementary, middle and high schools can become SBRT school partners and reduce asthma ER visits and hospitalizations. Our project coordinator, Luz Guel, currently participates in the “All Clear” school-based Asthma initiative to work with schools to reduce the burden of asthma in Community District 3. The summit allowed for schools to work with the “All Clear” team on developing a plan to identify the project components the school may be able to implement. “All Clear” schools commit to identifying and tracking students with asthma, offering workshops for parents and students and utilizing community health resources.
CELF, CUNY, NYC DOE, and the Mount Sinai P30 CEC Awarded NYS Pollution Prevention Community Grant
The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYS P2I) Community Grant Award Project will allow CELF, CUNY, NYC DOE, and the Mount Sinai CEC to engage NYC public school students as environmental health researchers to collect and analyze air pollution data from their neighborhoods. Students will identify sources of air pollution and develop prevention and remediation plans for their communities. The NYS P2I project partners will include Mount Sinai Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit, CUNY Law School Center for Urban Environmental Reform and the NYC DoE Sustainability Initiative.
South Bronx Rising Together Impact Summit
On Wednesday, January 25, 2017 South Bronx Rising Together (SBRT) hosted an Impact Summit at the Interchurch Center that brought together all the Collaborative Action Networks (CAN) from the “Vision to Action Plan”. The CANs are cross-sector partners that come together as Collaborative Action Networks to review data, identify effective practices, and implement strategies that no one individual or organization could achieve on their own. The P30 COEC is part of the “All Are Healthy: CAN 1” that recognizes the higher rates of asthma hospitalizations, especially among South Bronx young children, and is committed to identifying and spreading interventions that improve the indoor environments they spend the most time in, their home. The CAN has designed a building-wide strategy that engages landlords and tenants on asthma management and pest control. The summit allowed members of the CANs to learn and practice collaborative leadership, continuous improvement, and make new or deeper connections with each other. To learn more about the “Vision to Action Plan” click here.
Dr. Landrigan and Others Pledge to End Childhood Lead Poisoning by 2022.
The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative, Healthy Babies Bright Futures, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the National Center for Healthy Housing joined forces to convene the National Summit to End Lead Poisoning on December 4 and 5, 2016 in Washington, DC. P30 Center Member, Dr. Landrigan, participated in the National Lead Summit that brought together 250 leaders, policy makers, strategists and advocates from diverse communities to engage in crafting a blueprint for action and to build the public and political will to end lead poisoning in 5 years.
“Mayah’s Lot” at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Film Fest
On December 7, Mayah’s Lot was screened at the NIEHS Film Festival. The film festival showcased environmental health focused videos developed by grantees, community partners, federal partners, and NIEHS staff. Rebecca Bratspies from CUNY Center for Urban Environmental Reform and Luz Guel our Project Coordinator for the COEC answered questions about the environmental justice chronicles and shared their experience on the importance of collaborations.
Stakeholder Advisory Board Meeting
On Thursday November 10, 2016 our board convened at Mount Sinai Hospital. Brooke Havlik from WE ACT for Environmental Justice, presented on “Effective Social Media and Video Practices for Environmental Health and Justice” organizations. The presentation allowed our board members to agree that moving forward communication plans will be essential to continue developing key messaging in our four areas of outreach work (clinical, education, policy, and community).
American Public Health Association Global Film Fest
On November, 02, 2016 our Project Coordinator, Luz Guel, attended the American Public Health Association (APHA) Global Film Fest to present “Mayah’s Lot” and “Asthma Summit Highlights” videos. The APHA Global Public Health Film Festival showcased films that explore and highlight public health locally, nationally and globally. These include feature films, documentaries, narratives, public service announcements, educational videos, short clips and more. The films and related multimedia educate, inspire and encourage change for a healthier future. If you missed the APHA Global Public Health Film Festival make sure to check our videos through the following links “Mayah’s Lot” and “Asthma Summit Highlights”.
ISMMS MPH Students are given a Toxic and Treasure Tour from Community Group WE ACT for Environmental Justice
On October 19, 2016, David Chang from WE ACT for Environmental Justice, a community partner in Northern Manhattan, lead a Toxic and Treasure Tour in East Harlem for our Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai first-year medical students. Maida Galvez, a P30 Center Member, Farah Khan, Education Program Coordinator at Arnhold Institute for Global Health at Mount Sinai, and Luz Guel, Project Coordinator for the P30 COEC accompanied the students throughout the tour. The Toxic and Treasures Tour highlighted different environmental health issues occurring in East Harlem. After the tour, the students were assigned a reflection exercise that allowed them to begin to understand and appreciate broader complex community health and health care system issues beyond the hospital setting.
On November 18, 2015, P30 Center members Dr. Robert Wright and Dr. Mary Wolff participated in a NIEHS/EPA Children’s Centers webinar series called “Historical Perspectives and Research Updates from Previously Funded Children’s Centers.” The webinar series, cosponsored by the EPA Office of Children’s Health Protection and the National Center for Environmental Research, features presentations on recent findings and new developments in children’s environmental health research and interactive discussions. You may view more details about the featured speakers and webinar series here. Specific information about Dr. Wright’s and Dr. Wolff’s webinar topics are below:
Mary Wolff, M.D., Mount Sinai School of Medicine | Title: “The Mount Sinai Center for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention: Inner City Toxicants, Child Growth and Development in New York City Children”
Robert Wright, M.D., M.P.H., Mount Sinai School of Medicine | Title: “The Harvard University Center for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention: The MATCH Study: (Metals Assessment Targeting Community Health)”
Stakeholder Advisory Board Meeting Update
Our board convened on October 26 at Mount Sinai Hospital. We welcomed three new board members: Rebecca Bratspies of CUNY Law School, and Alison Mears and Jonsara Ruth of Healthy Materials Lab at Parsons School of Design. P30 Center members Dr. Manish Arora and Dr. Chris Gennings presented their research on biomarkers and chemical mixtures to the group, and an enthusiastic discussion followed. We look forward to advancing projects in policy, education, community engagement, and clinical work before our next quarterly meeting.
NYCHA Residents Commit to Smoke-Free Housing
This year, 830 Amsterdam on Manhattan’s Upper West Side became the first NYCHA building where residents signed voluntary smoke-free pledges to protect the health of their community. A celebratory event on May 19th recognized the efforts of tenants and community partners who collaborated on the initiative. This inaugural event was the culmination of several years spent engaging NYCHA residents at 830 Amsterdam in outreach, education, and participatory research. NYCHA’s Healthy Homes initiative aims to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke and increase residents’ access to cessation resources. With funding from the Fund for Public Health in New York and support from the NYCDOHMH, the project has fostered awareness and dialogue around the health impacts of smoking and secondhand smoke, as well as opportunities for residents to improve the indoor air quality in their buildings.
The May 19th celebration was organized with the leadership of Andrea Mata, Senior Manager for Community Health Initiatives at NYCHA, who is a member of Mount Sinai’s Stakeholder Advisory Board for the Transdisciplinary Center on Early Environmental Exposures (TCEEE) Community Outreach and Engagement Core (COEC). Dr. Maida Galvez, NYC Chapter President of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Region 2 Director of the Pediatric Environmental Health Speciality Unit (PEHSU) at Mount Sinai, spoke at the event. We are proud to honor the work our community partners are doing to engage the public in environmental health issues, and we hope other NYCHA buildings will follow the lead of 830 Amsterdam residents.
Other speakers at the event included Ajamu Brown, Founding Coordinator of NYCHA’s Healthy Homes Program; Roger Hayes, Assistant Commissioner of NYCDOHMH; Shirley Williams, Tenant Association President at 830 Amsterdam; and Atiyya Muhammad, a building resident. 830 Amsterdam serves as a model for how tenants can take agency to protect their health and engage with environmental health issues in their community. With the launch of this successful initiative, we hope to see increased support for smoke-free housing to reduce harmful environmental exposures in NYC public housing.
To read more about this story, click here to view the August edition of the NYCHA Journal. Article found on page 6-7: “Smoke-Free at 830 Amsterdam.”
Kick Butts Day Features Local Youth Advocates
Kick Butts Day– a day of youth advocacy around tobacco marketing and smoking– took place on March 20, 2013. This event was a joint effort between the Partnership for a Healthier Manhattan at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the Manhattan Smoke-Free Partnership, with involvement from many community partners. More than 100 youth advocates and performers from The Y of Washington Heights and Inwood, Children’s Aid Society, MAChO and the Youth Action Network (YAN), East Harlem Tutorial Program, SCAN, Union Settlement, Groove With Me, Harlem RBI, Central Park East Middle School, the LGBT Center, and the Boys Club of NY participated in the event, including choreographing a flash mob dance and giving speeches on the harmful effects of Big Tobacco.