CEC – Past Projects

PFAS Factsheet

Our goal was to develop a factsheet on Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in New England along with partners at the Region 1 Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSU), to  be distributed to state health departments and other interested parties.


Arnold Arboretum


We partnered with the Director of the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University, Dr. William (Ned) Friedman, in order to brainstorm an approach to the City of Boston and other stakeholders to strengthen the argument for inclusive access to the Arnold Arboretum for nearby underserved neighborhoods. Our CEC team’s contribution involved gathering and summarizing existing information about the health benefits of urban green spaces and organizing them in as a report-style document with clickable table of contents for quick navigation, and grouped by different categories of health benefits and by population (where data available).


The Asthma-Obesity Connection

The idea to examine the connection between asthma and obesity arose from the fact that in our target community of Dorchester, MA, the prevalence of both asthma and obesity is high. As part of our CEC we decided to explore whether there was an association between asthma and obesity. The project included an extensive literature review, interviews with experts, focus-group like sessions with community health workers from the asthma and nutrition divisions of the Boston Public Health Commission, and a day-long community-based asthma/obesity workshop that was designed to gather additional information from stakeholders such as the community health centers, food and fitness organizations, and practicing physicians in the fields of obesity and pulmonary care.  A PDF version of the Obesity and Asthma Booklet prepared in 2019 by Traci Brown, PhD, Community Liaison in the Community Engagement Core can be accessed [here]. The Asthma Obesity Connection poster is available [here].


FrackMap and FrackMap Biblio

In 2014, in preparation for a two and half day workshop in collaboration with the Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis (CGA) on the use of the Harvard WorldMap, Ann Backus devised the FRACKMAP and CGA staff created the map on the Harvard WorldMap platform. To the initial map, which included shale plays and basins in the continental United States, we have been geo-coding peer-reviewed fracking-related studies and geo-locating them in association with fracking wells, basins, and plays. As of 2021, we have added studies in four categories:  health impacts, water quality, waste water, and water usage. This is work-in-progress, known as FrackMap Biblio, is largely the work of collaborators Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin, PhD of Polytechnique Montréal and Thierry Warin, PhD of HEC Montréal. The purpose of FrackMap Biblio is to provide researchers and community members with a tool and resource that will allow them to find studies associated with specific fracking sites and areas.