Landmark Conference on Social Science-Environmental Health Collaborations

SSEHRI Conference 2015 066

On May 21-22, 2015, the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute (SSEHRI), in partnership with the Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT) and Silent Spring Institute hosted the first ever Social Science-Environmental Health Interdisciplinary Collaborations Conference at Northeastern University. This two-day conference brought together approximately 100 scholars, government agency professionals, community organizers, and students for panels, discussions, and workshops at the intersection of social science and environmental health.

The conference began with keynote speaker, Katsi Cook, director of Running Strong for American Indian Youth, who shared key insights in working at the intersection of research and advocacy in environmental health with her story as a midwife and citizen scientist working in her own community in the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne to study the human environmental impacts of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Other case studies included collaborative, interdisciplinary, and community-engaged work around the 2010 BP Deep Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, unconventional oil and gas extraction in Wyoming and Colorado, and PROTECT’s work on preterm birth in Puerto Rico.

In sum, this groundbreaking conference was a wonderful and rare opportunity for scholars, advocates, and researchers working on environmental health and social sciences to come together to foster collaboration and gain insights from one another in order to better address complex human environmental health issues.