Engaging Community in the Development of Low-Cost Technologies for Environmental Monitoring to Promote Environmental Health Literacy in a Low-Trust Setting: The Community-Driven Flint Project

Jennifer S. Carrera, College of Social Science
Community Based Organization Partners
Community Driven Flint Action Council

During the Flint water crisis, residents struggled to find committed partners who would listen to their concerns and help them mobilize the resources they needed to answer their own questions. In spring 2015, Flint residents and researchers invited Dr. Carrera to be involved in an investigation of residents’ water quality concerns. Since then, Carrera has been partnering actively with Flint residents and Flint-based researchers to support the community’s research inquiries and address their scientific concerns. By collaborating with Flint’s Community Based Organization Partners, Carrera has helped support the capacity of Flint residents to answer their own scientific research questions. As a sociologist and a non-community academic partner, she aims to understand and enhance community capacity to lead scientific inquiry. With her collaborators’ full partnership, Carrera secured funding for a project to increase trust in the research team and enhance community interest in science as a form of democracy. Her team continues to seek funding to elevate the capacity of Flint leaders to serve as a model for community-driven research, create a network of non-community academic partners, and deliver an alternative, transferable model for advancing science in support of environmentally marginalized communities across the country.