PROTECT Center well-represented at the EPA Region 2 Caribbean Science Workshop

IMG_0262The PROTECT Center was well-represented at the recent EPA Region 2 Caribbean Science Consortium/Non-PRASA Systems Workshop that was held in San Juan, Puerto Rico on September 11th and 12th, 2014. Afterwards, many people, including from EPA and local agencies, expressed how impressed they were with the programs.

The first day of the conference focused on Non-PRASA Systems and Caño Martin Peña. During this workshop, Project 4 Leader Ingrid Padilla gave the following presentation: “Hydroepidemiological Assessment of Relationships Between Environmental Chemical Exposure and Population Birth Outcomes in Northern Puerto Rico.” This presentation described how the link between environmental contamination and preterm birth is being established at the population level, provided preliminary results, and addressed the importance of community participation in the study.

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The second day of the conference was dedicated to citizen science. Carmen Velez (Core F), Monica Ramirez-Andreotta (Core F), and Liza Anzalota (Core C) presented during both the morning and afternoon sessions. The first presentation, “Multisectorial Community Engagement to Address Environmental and Social Components Affecting Maternal and Child Health,” focused on PROTECT’s community outreach, recruitment and retention of participants, and collaborations with community and public clinics and non-governmental organizations to date.  The second, “Building Partnerships to Increase Community Participation to Assess Environmental and Social Determinants of Maternal and Child Health,” expanded upon their earlier presentation describing methods in which to build partnerships and increase public participation in environmental health research studies. The presenters received excellent feedback from conference attendees.

During the conference, several trainees (Irmarie Cotto, Norma Torres, and Vilda Rivera from UPR Mayagüez) presented posters on their work with PROTECT. This conference provided them with an opportunity to make connections with other researchers and agency representatives. The trainees’ presentations were well-received as they confidently and consistently communicated the PROTECT mission and research results.

In addition to presentations, PROTECT sponsored an environmental friendly lunch, free of plastics on the second day of the conference, generating great conversation among conference participants. Instead of plastic bottled water, boxed water was provided and this act was well received by workshop attendees.

Congratulations to all on a wonderfully successful program!