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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: J. Thomas Pierce, MBBS PhD(Navy Environmental Health Center)
Description: As the title indicates, this book summarizes efforts since roughly 1980 by community-based groups in finding their voice to address the important topics of environmental health and racial equity. In some chapters, the reach of the book actually extends back as far as 1969.
Purpose: The self-professed aim of this 350-page book is to assist funders, both government and nongovernmental organizations, in identifying near- and long-term needs and collaborative opportunities, to assess the state of the field, and to support decision-making around environmental health using a racial equity lens. To its credit, I believe it succeeds at this level and also in offering a concise summary of both quantitative and qualitative research undertaken in this regard.
Audience: The audience is likely split among community organizers, scientists of various descriptions, and social scientists, all of whom share an interest in this important topic. I would add the general public as an important readers' group. Dr. Ken Olden goes on to say that this book "will be an excellent source of information that every serious scholar...should have."
Features: There are five major sections or chapters: environmental health and racial equity in the 21st century; what we know after three decades of research; impetus for change: milestones and timeline 1968-2010; a listing of community leaders singled out for national awards 1968-2009; and university-based programs. The Kellogg Foundation supported the work that ultimately led to this book.
Assessment: In many respects, this is a worthy successor to Praeger Handbook of Black American Health: Policies and Issues Behind Disparities in Health, Livingston (Praeger Publishers, 2004). If one examines the goals and direction of the Centers for Disease Control's Community Transformation Grants and related programs, these books lay the groundwork and provide a template for future efforts — well done indeed!