2015 CCPH Award Honorable Mention
CAFEH, the Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health partnership in the Boston, MA is the 2015 CCPH Award Honorable Mention! Comprised of five related air-pollution studies, this partnership employs Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) to address a major health risks for the community in the Somerville, MA area and while Tufts is the lead partner on three of the studies, the other core community partners are from the City of Somerville and Boston Chinatown. The partnership and original study began as a request from the Somerville community partner and sought to go beyond identifying and understanding the health risks associated with proximity to freeways to developing interventions to reduce exposure and set policy agenda. Their tackling of sophisticated scientific research, dissemination of the results to all partners, and translating their findings into specific practice and policy was what set this partnership apart. In addition, their multi-modal approach to dissemination is exemplary! Not only is the information available via their very thorough website but CAFEH also conducts regular public meetings, media events, and other activities, producing information in multiple languages to ensure their work is shared with the communities they’re researching and even beyond.
Their strong commitment to CBPR was instrumental in honoring this partnership. Reviewers praised the community-engagement and diversity of backgrounds and interests that contribute to the partnership. One reviewer remarked:
The partnership has had transformative impacts at multiple levels. The partnership has positive outcomes, real action has occurred, and solutions have been implemented. It has impacted policy change at multiple levels and the partnership has social justice, particularly environmental justice at its core. The partnership also uses an evaluation process to assess process outcomes and has a good decision-making process through the use of a steering committee and subcommittees that involves the community, academics, and individuals from different sectors. It has also begun a process of engaging youth from the communities of concern in its research efforts. Overall, the partnership seems authentic, equitable, and transformative and does an excellent job on integrating science, civic engagement, community empowerment for environmental health improvements and social justice.
The CAFEH project illustrates what well-grounded and effective principled partnerships can achieve through CBPR and hard work. Their willingness to be flexible, commitment to facilitating change in the communities involved, and an ability to recognize and effectively respond to needs within the community greatly impressed the reviewers.
Doug Brugge, PhD, MS