- Stephen Sills, PhD
- Sandra Echeverria, PhD, MPH
- Kathleen Colville, MSW, MSPH
Research Project Description
Unsafe and unhealthy environments disparately impact low income communities and people of color and present serious environmental justice issues (Taylor 2014). Across North Carolina there are over 2,500 environmental hazard sites including chemical spills, disposal sites, and buried landfills. Disproportionately the 656 sites of pre-regulatory landfills buried throughout the state are found in neighborhoods of color. This project examines one particular community impacted by environmental racism and evaluates a process for addressing the legacy of environmental injustices. This project will extend and expand a two-year (2019-2021) implementation project addressing environmental justice (EJ) issues of a buried landfill.
Our proposed research engages the community, Cone Health System, and faculty from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in an investigation of the impact of the implementation project. We will evaluate the efficacy of the intervention, document the impact on neighborhood political empowerment and environmental awareness, and gauge any improvements to the environment. This project builds upon recent EJ and restorative justice work to address adverse community conditions, encourage pro-environmental behavior, examine local community-based environmental conflicts and the collision with macro-level environmental issues, and acknowledge the role of place identity and inequality and how individuals and communities respond to collective environmental threats, including health effects.
The project will be used to
- develop and test a framework for addressing EJ concern in communities of color;
- evaluate the effectiveness of our community-based environmental education program; and
- build the case for remediation of a local park (Bingham Park) and streams under the NC Pre-Regulatory Landfill Program.
Stephen Sills, PhD
Dr. Stephen Sills is a community-engaged scholar and Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. In 2015, he founded the Center for Housing and Community Studies where he serves as the Director and Principal Investigator. CHCS develops community-informed solutions to social problems addressing housing and neighborhood issues for governments, nonprofits, foundations, and institutions of higher education.
Sandra Echeverria, PhD, MPH
Sandra E. Echeverría, Ph.D., M.P.H. is Associate Professor in Public Health Education at The University of North Carolina Greensboro. As a social epidemiologist, her research program examines how built environment, immigrant status, and socioeconomic position influence cardiovascular risk in vulnerable population groups. She is committed to community-engaged methods as a way to understand and intervene upon social and environmental injustice in health.
Kathleen Colville, MSW, MSPH
Kathy Colville is Cone Health's (Greensboro, NC) Director of Healthy Communities. Kathy's team works to connect clinical services and community assets so that everyone we serve has equitable access to the healthcare and living conditions that foster long and healthy lives. She holds a bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from Brown University and Master's Degrees in Social Work and Public Health from UNC Chapel Hill. She is a PhD candidate in Public Administration at NC State University.