Fayetteville State University Professor Aims to Increase Awareness of the Environment’s Relationship to Health
Fayetteville, N.C. (February 14, 2023) — Fayetteville State University’s (FSU) Erica Campbell, Ph.D., Bachelor of Social Work program director and associate professor in the School of Social Work, secured funding from the Center for Human Health and the Environment (CHHE) to increase education and awareness of the Black community in understanding the relationship between environmental exposures, health and environmental justice.
Campbell secured funding from the CHHE to develop an Environmental Health Literacy Collaborative Workshop and a digital repository of resources and information for the Fayetteville, North Carolina, community and FSU campus. The project will focus on increasing the capacity for the Black community to make informed decisions about environmental exposures that may affect their health and well-being, and to engage the campus and larger community about environmental health and safety.
According to the 2019 Cumberland County Community Health Needs Assessment, pollution and exposure to byproducts [(i.e. GenX and Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)] from local industry are major factors impacting the health and quality of life of the community. The NC Departments of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Health and Human Services (DHHS) began investigating the presence of GenX and PFAS in the Cape Fear River in June 2022 and are focusing on identifying the compound health effects on the surrounding area.
"I am thrilled to collaborate with Cumberland and Durham County Departments of Public Health, along with community partners, to help our community engage in dialogue promoting environmental health literacy and encouraging strategies to make informed choices about environmental exposures,” said Campbell. “Research shows that Black communities are disproportionately at risk from all forms of environmental pollution and exposure, which contributes to increased health disparities and diseases.”
A National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences funded Environmental Health Science Core Center, CHHE is committed to understanding how human health — both individually and across populations — is affected by environmental factors and to implementing its findings to reduce the adverse effects of environmental factors on human health.