Working for Change in the Environmental Health Sphere: Unique Challenges and the Best Practices to Address Those Challenges

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2012-04-27

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Abstract

Individuals working for change in environmental health face some challenges that best practices can help navigate. Environmental health is becoming a much more important area of focus as expanding knowledge increasingly links everyday environmental exposures with a higher risk of disease. These exposures can be from a variety of substances including common everyday chemicals, pollution, heavy metals, and other substances. The focus of this project is to identify through an interdisciplinary lens some of the unique challenges and best practices in Environmental Health using conversational interviews, observations, and all forms of published information from geographically diverse individuals and organizations. The challenges discussed underscore the difficulty that many characteristics of environmental health are not necessarily visible and tangible to many people and individuals must rely on changing belief, perceptions, and behavior in order to effect change. This is as challenging as trying to get someone to quit smoking or exercise more. Those working in environmental health find their work to be more difficult due to public disputes over health effects, as well as the validity of the scientific findings. Overall, individuals working in the area of environmental health can benefit from understanding the basics of health-related models and communication, as well as the way people process information and make decisions. Some crucial best practices identified focus on the areas of credibility, education, communication, and involvement.

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Messenger, Leigh (2012). Working for Change in the Environmental Health Sphere: Unique Challenges and the Best Practices to Address Those Challenges. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/5360.


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