NEW VIDEO: Building environmental health literacy in urban communities

The  Community Engagement Core of the MADRES Environmental Health Disparities Center is pleased to share a video about our work to build environmental health literacy around toxins and health impacts found in commonly used household cleaning products with Latina mothers. The popular education workshops, done in partnership with public health interns from CalStateLA, introduce concepts of environmental health and justice rooted in participants lived experience while providing alternative methods for participants to create their own “Do It Yourself” green cleaning products.

Continue reading “NEW VIDEO: Building environmental health literacy in urban communities”

USC and partner institutions awarded $6 million children’s environmental health grant from NIH

Research to look at prenatal and early life environmental influences on lifetime health related to asthma and obesity

Staff Report

Media Coverage: Press Enterprise, Daily News, The Washington Times,, Daily Breeze, Pasadena Star News

LOS ANGELES – September 21, 2016 – Researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of USC have been awarded a 2 year $6 million grant, as the first phase of a large seven-year National Institutes of Health, Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) initiative involving more than 30 research entities. The USC based research team will investigate health issues related to asthma and obesity. Continue reading “USC and partner institutions awarded $6 million children’s environmental health grant from NIH”

Intern Perspective: High school student impacted by local environmental justice issues

This summer the Community Outreach and Engagement team had the pleasure of hosting interns ranging from high school to masters level students. Maggie Shi, a high school senior from Yorba Linda, CA spend two months with us doing a variety of projects. A quick learner with a skill set that enabled her to tackle any assignment given to her, Maggie contributed in a variety of ways to the work that the Community Outreach staff and college interns did over the summer. At the end of her time with us, Maggie provided the following reflections on her experience.

I remember sitting at my desk on the first day of my internship, feeling excited, nervous, and a little out of place. As I looked around at all these unfamiliar faces around me, it dawned upon me that USC’s Division of Environmental Health probably didn’t take in many high school interns, and all the other college interns seemed much more knowledgeable and experienced than I was. Nevertheless, I knew how fortunate I was to be here, and I was still extremely excited. Thankfully, throughout the first few weeks, I was met with an incredible amount of support and enthusiasm from both my fellow interns and other employees in the office, and I quickly settled in. Continue reading “Intern Perspective: High school student impacted by local environmental justice issues”

Intern Perspective: Toxic chemicals in our homes, The pollution we can control

During Summer 2016, the Community Engagement team of the MADRES Environmental Health Disparities Center at USC began to host public health interns from Cal State LA. In response to a request that came from community groups in the LA area, interns began their work developing content and implementing workshops for local community groups around the theme of toxic chemicals in the homes. After conducting the first workshop in the series, interns Andrea Calderon and Giovanna Manson-Hing reflect upon their experience below. 

Every day people are exposed to hidden toxins whether it be at school, at work or even at home. Pollution is all around us and most times we can’t control it, but sometimes we can. One of the many ways we can control the pollution in our homes is through awareness of toxic chemicals found in cleaning products. Continue reading “Intern Perspective: Toxic chemicals in our homes, The pollution we can control”

Community-Scientist Event: Mothers, Babies and the Environment

On Monday March 7, the USC Environmental Health Community Outreach Program hosted a luncheon event at the East Los Angeles Community Service Center. The aim of the event was to foster a dialogue between scientists researching impact of pollution and stress on maternal and child health with local organizations working on the ground to improve health and well-being of mothers and their families.

Community members, staff members from local community based organizations, as well as staff from local elected officials offices all participated. USC scientists who are part of the MADRES research project, presented information about the critical role of chemicals on the health of mothers and young children, the importance of research studies and the key role of the environment in health disparities.  The group heard presentations from Legacy LA, First 5 Los Angeles Best Start Community Partnership, Boyle Heights Beat, From Lot to Spot, Physicians for Social Responsibility-LA, and Clinica Romero. Also contributing to the discussion on behalf of local communities were representatives from the Boyle Heights Stakeholders Association, Mothers of East LA, Coalition for Clean Air, staff members representing Supervisor Hilda Solis’ and Congressman Xavier Becerra’s office, LAUSD, and local community organizer Martha Jimenez.

Presentations along with topic based roundtable discussions, sparked ideas and feedback about how to increase awareness in local communities and provide information. In general, to raise awareness about many of the topics discussed at the lunch event, participants suggested communication dissemination to include newspaper ads, radio announcements, local reports from the youth at Boyle Heights Beat to Spanish language media. USC also listened closely to community members as they suggested ideas of places and times in the community where people are already gathered as ideal to present important and timely health information that can be directly applied in their daily lives.

Based on the feedback and ideas heard at the event, the Community Outreach team will move forward to create new resources around the theme of “Women’s Wellness” focused on toxic exposures in the everyday environment, particularly in homes and products used in homes. From web and print content on various topics, to doing workshops about toxic products, the team will be seeking further input and collaboration from community groups in the coming months to refine their work to make it a helpful resource to the communities who are interested. Ongoing work of the Community Outreach team which includes community based air pollution monitoring and new areas of other toxic exposure monitoring will continue as groups express interest in these collaborations. The team, who has recently also started to be more involved in the planning and development of green spaces around Los Angeles, will continue to develop resources around this topic as well as see how to be a resource in environmental justice communities.