Presentation Title

Effective outreach to vulnerable and underserved communities through Community Engagement Liaisons (CELs)

Abstract

In 1993, The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) issued a Fish Advisory regarding the consumption of fish from the Columbia Slough. Historically, the Slough was a dumping ground for slaughterhouse, industrial, and chemical waste. These practices resulted in contamination of sediment and fish accumulated with PCB, pesticides, metals, and other pollutants. As part of the Columbia Slough Sediment Program, the City of Portland (City) provides education and outreach regarding the Fish Advisory under Intergovernmental Agreement between the City of Portland and Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Results from the most recent fish tissue sampling event by The Columbia Slough Sediment Program demonstrated the need to identify vulnerable and underserved communities that may utilize the Slough for subsistence fishing. The City contracted with Community Engagement Liaisons (CELs) from targeted refugee and immigrant communities [Cambodian, Vietnamese, Russian, Latino/Latinx, African (Liberians, Congolese, Ghanaians, Swahilians, Nigerians, Somalians), Pacific Islanders (Micronesians, Samoan, Fijian, Hawaiians, Tongans)] to: 1) obtain information on current fishing and fish consumption practices; 2) provide education on reducing risk from eating fish; 3) develop outreach plans; and 4) provide feedback to the City on effective education practices and messages. CELs are English-fluent, City trained civic activists and respected elders or members in their respective communities. This presentation will discuss valuable insights and lessons learned from the CELS into vulnerable and underserved communities in the Slough and in developing new Fish Advisory educational materials.

Subjects

Environmental education

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Effective outreach to vulnerable and underserved communities through Community Engagement Liaisons (CELs)

In 1993, The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) issued a Fish Advisory regarding the consumption of fish from the Columbia Slough. Historically, the Slough was a dumping ground for slaughterhouse, industrial, and chemical waste. These practices resulted in contamination of sediment and fish accumulated with PCB, pesticides, metals, and other pollutants. As part of the Columbia Slough Sediment Program, the City of Portland (City) provides education and outreach regarding the Fish Advisory under Intergovernmental Agreement between the City of Portland and Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Results from the most recent fish tissue sampling event by The Columbia Slough Sediment Program demonstrated the need to identify vulnerable and underserved communities that may utilize the Slough for subsistence fishing. The City contracted with Community Engagement Liaisons (CELs) from targeted refugee and immigrant communities [Cambodian, Vietnamese, Russian, Latino/Latinx, African (Liberians, Congolese, Ghanaians, Swahilians, Nigerians, Somalians), Pacific Islanders (Micronesians, Samoan, Fijian, Hawaiians, Tongans)] to: 1) obtain information on current fishing and fish consumption practices; 2) provide education on reducing risk from eating fish; 3) develop outreach plans; and 4) provide feedback to the City on effective education practices and messages. CELs are English-fluent, City trained civic activists and respected elders or members in their respective communities. This presentation will discuss valuable insights and lessons learned from the CELS into vulnerable and underserved communities in the Slough and in developing new Fish Advisory educational materials.