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J Health Commun. 2000 Oct-Dec;5(4):305-31.

Participatory research strategies in nuclear risk management for native communities.

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Nuclear Risk Management for Native Communities, George Perkins Marsh Institute, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA.


The Nuclear Risk Management for Native Communities (NRMNC) project is a collaborative academic, community-based, tribal project, which conducts the three essential elements of participatory research: research, education, and community action, named here as "community-based hazards management." This article describes the goals and outcomes of this effort in assisting Native American communities in Nevada, Utah, and Southern California affected by nuclear fallout from U.S. weapons testing in the 1950s and 1960s. The NRMNC project sought to create new models for dealing with health research and risk communication needs in an environmental justice setting. The following results of this four-year project are discussed: (1) building a community-based environmental health infrastructure, (2) building community capacities through workshops and educational materials, (3) conducting both technical and community research, and (4) facilitating community-based hazards management planning. We describe such positive outcomes as the improvements in the scientific database through participatory research activities, the development of equitable relationships between scientists and community members, and the creation of a sustaining program intervention for long-term community needs. The project's outcomes are presented as an expansion to limited scientific risk management outcomes in the environmental health field that often are solely quantitative and lack relevance to community concerns about environmental health impacts from contamination.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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