Environmental Justice: The Interface of Communities, Decision-makers, and Policy


Mary Kreger, University of California, San Francisco


Focusing human health policy on environmental prevention is frequently a challenge.  This presentation reports on an evaluation of a California statewide initiative to establish policies to reduce environmental risks related to children’s asthma. The complexity of environmental asthma risks demands a multi-factorial, multi-level, and interdisciplinary approach.   Achievements include: (1) creation of standard data sets across locales; (2) development of consensus on benchmarks for air quality standards; and (3) prioritization of policy approaches. Key aspects of the evaluation include meeting communities and policymakers at their level; incorporating environmental science and data into community and policymaker trainings; and training communities in environmental policy advocacy.  Surveys inform us that the public has less tolerance for inequities in health than other sectors.  Can this “intolerance” be framed in a way to reduce environmental inequities, contribute to health, and sustain healthy environments.

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