Imperial County Environmental Health Grassroots Leadership Summit 2011
Project Summary prepared by Arcela Nuñez-Alvarez, PhD July 8, 2011
Comite Civico del Valle, Inc.(CCV) and the National Latino Research Center (NLRC) at California State University San Marcos, in collaboration with many community-based organizations, government agency representatives, elected officials, grant-makers, and Imperial County resident leaders, designed a summit meeting to convene and engage stakeholders (partnerships and collaboration) with the purpose of increasing awareness of the significance of environmental health disparities (research and education), and building capacity (leadership and civic engagement) to identify and promote community-based solutions to improve health and quality of life for all residents in Imperial County.
Our inaugural Summit - held on June 2, 2007 - and subsequent summits - held February 28, 2009 and May 22, 2010 – brought together residents, educators, community leaders, health care providers, and environmental justice advocates to discuss important environmental health concerns in Imperial County. The purpose of each year’s summit is to raise awareness about environmental justice issues, present new data and research, identify key priorities and discuss evidence-based strategies to address key issues in Imperial County in the coming years. The 2011 summit will take place November 16-17, 2011.
The Environmental Health Leadership Summit has five main goals:
- Awareness: Increase awareness of new and on going issues impacting the health of the community by ensuring that environmental health is a priority at the local, state and federal levels, engaging diverse partners, and using media to reach broad-based audiences.
- Leadership: Link Imperial County’s work with the regional and national environmental health and justice movements.
- Systems Change: Provide a platform for dialogue between community residents and government agencies to address environmental health issues and concerns and informing development and implementation of policies that create the social, environmental and economic conditions to live, work, and play in a healthy community.
- Cultural and linguistic competency: Promote respect for cultural and linguistic diversity and promote education, research, and training that is sensitive to the cultural and language needs of the community.
- Data, research, and evaluation: Document Imperial County’s environmental health and justice issues, disseminate knowledge generated by research, and develop long-term relationships to successfully implement action research in the community.
The summit has four key components:
- Local Resident Voice: Report to and from the Imperial County community. Individuals and organizations will report on the work they have been doing since the previous summit.
- Regional and National Networks: Report from regional and national advocates on work they have been leading in other parts of the nation to share their work and lessons learned.
- Government Voice: Reports from government agency representatives to inform community residents regarding resources and avenues to address environmental health concerns.
- Circulo Comunitario: This forum will initiate dialogue between community residents, advocates, and agents of change to build and strengthen the environmental health and justice movement in Imperial County.
Due to the political significance of summit meetings, agenda items typically address issues of overarching political or strategic importance to the community. Items can relate to the internal functioning of local organizations and partners and relations with external partners.
Summit meetings are milestones in the evolution of the environmental justice movement in Imperial County. The summit meetings outline immediate community concerns and document formal commitments to improving capabilities, services, and resources to improve the health of Imperial County residents.
Typically, the decisions taken at a summit meeting are issued as strategic priorities for future action. The decisions are then translated into action by the relevant stakeholders, according to the area of competency and responsibility.
For more information about the summit and/or to co-sponsor this event, please contact:
Comite Civico del Valle
National Latino Research Center