Community Engagement

The Community Engagement and Dissemination Core (CEDC) engages with communities that are unfairly impacted by environmental issues. Our community partners inform our research of important environmental health concerns and help us translate and share findings from center activities and research. The CEDC is led by Dr. Kimberly Pounds, Assistant Professor of Health Administration and Public Health at Texas Southern University (TSU). Formerly, Drs. Robert Bullard and Denae King, Director and Associate Director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at TSU served as the CEDC Director and Co-Director, respectively.

The CEDC works with a Community Advisory Board (CAB) that consists of dynamic, engaged community leaders and environmental health partners, each of whom interact with their communities and provide a different “lens” to view environmental concerns. The MIEHR Research Center CAB plays an important role in determining what, when, how and to whom information and research activities and findings are communicated.

So far, the CEDC has worked with the CAB to get input on the questionnaire used in the two studies, suggest research topics that are important to partnering communities, review information for the MIEHR website, and assist with creating a list of definitions for the glossary.

Mothers’ Voices Project

Black women experience higher maternal mortality rates than any other racial/ethnic group, in addition to adverse birth outcomes. Drivers of these maternal and infant health disparities may be related to social determinants of health and exposures in the physical environment. This study will explore Black women’s perspectives of maternal and infant health and factors that potentially contribute to adverse health outcomes using focus group discussions. Findings will inform potential areas for intervention and advocacy to address disparate maternal and infant health outcomes.

Community-Based Organizations (CBOs)

An important priority of the CEDC is to ensure substantive and ongoing stakeholder engagement with MIEHR Center leadership to engage in research and dissemination activities, set priorities, inform decisions, and provide guidance on future directions. Outreach to targeted communities and stakeholders is ongoing via long-standing relationships between TSU and CBOs entrenched in vulnerable, impacted communities.

Partnering CBOs

Community Advisory Board

Rev. James Caldwell

Founder/Director, Coalition of Community Organizations

Reverend James Caldwell is a native of Houston, Texas. He is a graduate of Phyllis Wheatley High School and TSU’s School of Public Affairs. He also attended Dallas Theological Seminary and has been an ordained minister for over 28 years. Reverend Caldwell has been a community advocate and his advocacy and activism span 20 years. He is the founder and director of the Coalition of Community Organizations, which connects communities to the invaluable resources they need and connects organizations with one another. He also serves as the Interim President of the NorthEast Concerned Civic Citizens League (NECCCL). He is currently a member of the CEER, Coalition of Environment, Equity, & Resilience (CEER), WeACT, Port of Houston Authority Chairman’s Community Advisory Committee, Healthy Port Community Coalition, Clean Gulf Commerce Coalition, PCORI Baylor College of Medicine’s Asthma Study Advisory Committee, Texas Organizing Project (TOP) and People Before Profits.

Keith Downey

President, Kashmere Gardens Super Neighborhood Council, #52

Keith Downey is a native of Houston, Texas. He attended Prairie View A&M University Majoring in Architecture, the University of Texas at Arlington and Cornell University studying Servant Leadership. He moved to New York City after receiving his formal education and worked as an Architectural Designer and Senior Construction project manager in New York City. He returned to Houston where he has aided in the development of wraparound services for students in need within school districts around the Houston Area. He is President of Kashmere Gardens Super Neighborhood Council #52, helping the Kashmere Gardens community residents address flooding and flood mitigation, food inequality, education, transportation, health and wellness.

Jo Ann Jones-Burbridge

Vice President, Sunnyside Community Redevelopment Organization

Jo Ann Jones-Burbridge was raised and educated in Sunnyside. After graduation from Worthing High School, Mrs. Jones-Burbridge pursued an education at Dillard University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in sociology. She concluded her studies, graduating from TSU with a Master of Arts in guidance and counseling. Her professional career spans more than 40 years as an administrator in the field of juvenile justice working at the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department and the Texas Juvenile Crime Prevention Center at Prairie View A&M University. Jo Ann has served on multiple committees in her community in Houston, including the Criminal Justice Committee for the Mayor Sylvester Turner Transition Team in 2016, the Human Resources Committee for the Sheriff Ed Gonzalez Transition Team in 2017, Texas Organizing Project’s Right2Justice and the Sunnyside Neighborhood Planning Committee. She serves as a trustee for the American Leadership Forum. Mrs. Jones-Burbridge has been motivated to assist the Sunnyside community as an advocate in memory of her parents’ dedication to the residents of Sunnyside.

Felicia Latson, LCSW-S

Founding Principal & Social Services Consultant, Swallace Advisory Co.

Felicia Latson is a passionate advocate for change for marginalized communities. She earned her undergraduate degree from Stephen F. Austin State University, and attended University of Houston for her graduate studies in Social Work. As a returned Peace Corps Volunteer and a resident of Houston’s Historic Fifth Ward, she is most inspired by the community activists who initiate change using the tools available to them. Latson’s own ethos is grounded in relationship building – she doesn’t see equitable change as a top-down bureaucratic process. She is able to foster change by giving the resources of a community a platform to excel. Previously, Ms. Latson served as Director of Programs for Social Determinants of Health at Legacy Community Health. She currently is the founding principal & social services consultant, Swallace Advisory Co.

Debra Walker

President, Sunnyside Community Redevelopment Organization (SCRO)

Debra Walker a long time resident of Sunnyside committed to reviving and not displacing the Sunnyside Community. She is a Community Leader, and has served as Civic Club President, TOP Ed fund Board Member, and other leadership positions. Among her desires to used her roadmap to find her purpose-driven ideas is to fight to improve the quality of life here in Sunnyside. She is multi-passionate, an entrepreneurial spirit, and President of (S.C.R.O.) Sunnyside Community Redevelopment Organization, a Community-Based Participatory Organization seeks to advocate, educate and empower policies that effect our environment, and to define actions which would have a positive impact for the community.