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Environ Health Perspect. 2015 Nov;123(11):1100-6. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1409283. Epub 2015 May 12.

Social Science Collaboration with Environmental Health.

Author information

1
American Studies and Ethnic Studies, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Social science research has been central in documenting and analyzing community discovery of environmental exposure and consequential processes. Collaboration with environmental health science through team projects has advanced and improved our understanding of environmental health and justice.

OBJECTIVE:

We sought to identify diverse methods and topics in which social scientists have expanded environmental health understandings at multiple levels, to examine how transdisciplinary environmental health research fosters better science, and to learn how these partnerships have been able to flourish because of the support from National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

METHODS:

We analyzed various types of social science research to investigate how social science contributes to environmental health. We also examined NIEHS programs that foster social science. In addition, we developed a case study of a community-based participation research project in Akwesasne in order to demonstrate how social science has enhanced environmental health science.

RESULTS:

Social science has informed environmental health science through ethnographic studies of contaminated communities, analysis of spatial distribution of environmental injustice, psychological experience of contamination, social construction of risk and risk perception, and social impacts of disasters. Social science-environmental health team science has altered the way scientists traditionally explore exposure by pressing for cumulative exposure approaches and providing research data for policy applications.

CONCLUSIONS:

A transdisciplinary approach for environmental health practice has emerged that engages the social sciences to paint a full picture of the consequences of contamination so that policy makers, regulators, public health officials, and other stakeholders can better ameliorate impacts and prevent future exposure.

CITATION:

Hoover E, Renauld M, Edelstein MR, Brown P. 2015. Social science collaboration with environmental health. Environ Health Perspect 123:1100-1106; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1409283.

PMID:
25966491
PMCID:
PMC4629748
DOI:
10.1289/ehp.1409283
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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