WHAT WE DO

OUR MISSION

SciCAN advances grassroots EJ advocacy by bringing together grassroots leaders and issue area experts in environmental and public health science and policy to collaborate respectfully and intentionally, share ideas and resources, and disrupt traditional approaches by placing community lived expertise at the forefront of research, practice, and policy. We flip the script on the way science and policy is developed and presented by putting community first.

SCICAN'S CORE GOALS:

EJ Communities

achieve greater self-determination via access to vetted, trusted, and values-aligned issue area experts to consult or work with in equitable partnership in pursuit of their grassroots advocacy campaigns.

EJ Movement

efforts are coordinated and supported via our interactive resources, community driven dashboards, and the issue area expert aligned with our vision.

Institutions

addressing environmental health and policy recognize, compensate, and center community lived expertise as level with academic training and as fundamental in developing actionable EJ solutions.

Issue Area Experts

in environmental health and policy are conducting their work with guidance from EJ principles and values, and are working with and for the grassroots advocates.

All of our work is in service of these goals and
our mission and vision.

FOCUS AREAS

The three pillars of work we specialize in:

We develop, facilitate, and partner on community-led and informed actionable science that serves the people most impacted and overburdened by environmental injustice. We believe in making the scientific process and science-based materials accessible and useful to grassroots communities to support environmental justice driven movements.

In addition, we break down successful science-based tools that have had an impact in service of fenceline communities so that any community can redevelop those tools to meet their specific needs.

Here are some examples (all of which are customizable depending upon community goals and needs):

  • Community [Cumulative Impacts] Report – a comprehensive look at the community’s conditions as told by community experts and synthesized public data sets on air, water, land, chemical facilities, and other potentially harmful entities. A report also typically includes policy recommendations and data charts and graphics that can be used for education and action. This is a good starting point for overburdened communities feeling overwhelmed. Community organizations and its members are co-authors along with issue area and other experts. An example is: Environmental Racism in Heartland: Fighting for Equity and Health in Kansas City
  • Case Study – a synthesized overview of a specific concern or challenge being faced by the community. The narrative may include historic information, qualitative (personal stories, quotes, etc) and quantitative data centered around this one particular issue (e.g. Yucca Mountain – proposed establishment of a new waste site, and the relocation of radioactive waste currently stored underground). This work would identify challenges, assets, and recommendations for policy change and/or intervention, depending upon the need of the community. 
  • Community Health Impact Assessment (HIA) – We use Human Impact Partners’ “Health Impact Assessment: A Guide for Practice” definition which is “A combination of procedures, methods, and tools that systematically judges the potential, and sometimes unintended, effects of a policy, plan, program, or project on the health of a population and the distribution of those effects within the population”. This is a process that can support community advocates focused on a specific policy or land use decision. HIAs come in many forms and can be quite simple or complex – they are always evidence based. Here are some examples of flowcharts that summarize HIAs we have worked on in the past: To Support a Free Student Bus Pass Program, To pave or not to pave waterways.
  • Factsheet – a one to two page summary covering a specific topic. This typically includes a short description of the issue, some facts/data/information to demonstrate the issue, and recommendations. This can be used in education and advocacy, to prepare for a public comment or a meeting with decision makers (also makes a great “leave behind” for decision maker meetings). One example of our work include is this Infographic on ethylene oxide
  • Customized services based on community questions/observations, needs, and goals – we understand that sometimes a community’s ask doesn’t fit into a box or that a second opinion on a study is needed. Our approach is to listen, ask questions, and offer options for actionable research and advocacy based on the concerns and desires of the community – in a way that’s accessible to the community. If we don’t have the expertise, we’ll consult our broad network to gather the needed information. Examples of this work include: reviewing and proposing alternatives for utilization of air quality datasets, air pollution data mapping, reviewing studies done by government/academia, obtaining and synthesizing complex technical information, and more.

Traditional academic approaches are often exclusionary and dismissive of the expertise of those who are most impacted and can treat people solely as “subjects” or “data”. Motivations for partnerships can be self-serving to the academic or institution, not making change in the community and people’s lives in which they are working. We identify those exclusionary practices, challenge the processes, and offer new approaches for non-extractive, transformative partnerships that truly serve the community. 

Our methods include: 

  • (Un)Learning harmful assumptions and practices embedded into academic training and institutions. Identifying, disentangling, and re-learning – including learning from real examples of past mistakes – are essential for reckoning with the unjust practices perpetuated by our academic communities and other institutions.
  • Disrupting the exclusionary and extractive approaches of professional organizations and institutions.

The formats we employ are webinars, in-person and virtual trainings, creating and reviewing internal processes, and more. Contact us to ask about our availability and fees (note: community is never charged and is always present). 

Some examples of our work can be found in the videos section of our multimedia page.

This is where our community – grassroots community members and organizations, issue area experts, policy experts, and others who are committed to environmental justice principles – find each other by issue or location to connect with and work together, share resources and skills,   

There are a number of benefits available to SciCAN users. Here are just a few:

  • Access to shared research, resources, projects and personal stories.
  • Connections with allies from a variety of backgrounds without geographical barriers.
  • A single location that fosters open and inclusive communication within our diverse community, including between advocacy groups and subject matter experts.
  • Up-to-date information, with forums and resources that are continuously evolving as the movement evolves.
  • Opportunities for scientists and other issue area experts to bring their work into practice in service of frontline communities.