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Oak Ridge Reservation

Oak Ridge Reservation: Health Needs Assessment Work Group

Historical Document

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Health Needs Assessment Work Group

Octoboer 21, 2003 - Meeting Minutes


NAWG Members
James Lewis, Susan Kaplan, Donna Mosby, Peggy Adkins, David Johnson, Barbara Sonnenburg, Charles Washington, Karen Galloway

Libby Howze, Theresa NeSmith, Terrie Sterling, Michael Hatcher, Bill Taylor, Melissa Fish, Lorine Spencer, Marilyn Horton

Timothy Joseph

Meeting Agenda

  • Call to Order
  • #1: Name Change/Work Group Merge
  • #2: Table of activities - Matrix
  • Adjourn
  • Next Meeting

The meeting was called to order by Co-Chair James Lewis.

#1: Name Change/Work Group Merge

Clarification was requested on the name change and potential merger of the NAWG and the COWG. The decision was made to keep the two groups separate for the time being and is open for discussion at a later date. This item was deferred because not all members had arrived.

#2: Table of activities - Matrix

Key Questions and Concerns about the Needs Assessment (NA)

  • We need to consider trust with the community and ATSDR. If we abandon the needs assessment (NA), how will we face the public?
  • It will be difficult to move forward if the NA received negatively by ORRHES and/or the community.
  • Will there be a final NA report?
  • How can the group get closure on this matter? What will be the end or final product?
  • If we endorse this NA document we may appear weak to the public and lose credibility.
  • Perceived institutional arrogance has lead to trust issues i.e. 2-3 years to gather community issues and concerns.
  • ORRHES and ATSDR activities conflict with what is reported in the papers.
  • There is a great deal of community work to do. How do we do this with ATSDR in Atlanta and the work is here?
  • We liked the GW plan. The implementation was a problem and the table of activities is one person’s response to that process
  • There will be an ATSDR final NA report, not a GW final NA report.
  • DHEP plans to complete our response to the NAWG’s recommendations on the NA by December.
  • We need to make sure this rejection of the GW report is official.

Underlying Concepts

  • This is a group with several communication channels that will enable us as a group to gather concerns and contribute to the NA.
  • We need to communicate with people, not just speak to them.
  • We need to coordinate the health education and communications activities with the release of the PHAs i.e. iodine and thyroid cancer.
  • We don’t know what the people in the community know or don’t know about environmental health and the reservation.
  • We need to document the contributions of those people who come in one time and/or share only one time at our meetings. They should have positive experience to encourage them to return. At times the individual’s issue is not acknowledged or their question is not answered.

Brainstorming: Approaches & Activities

  • Would it be valuable to have a public meeting?
  • Lack of space for a public meeting.
  • Survey questions ought to be people friendly.
  • We can’t go out and revisit this issue w/o anything to offer. We may raise expectations and disappoint the community. We need to be prepared with some answers. We do not want to appear that we are giving excuses.
  • People are not aware that they are or may be affected by the exposure. They may have thyroid cancer, but never considered an environmental exposure as a cause.
  • Put several small articles in the paper with a phone number & mailing address to leave messages or letters with concerns. Allows for anonymity and preparation for a meeting in the future.
  • Go into communities like Oliver Springs and gather key leaders (i.e. President of Lions Club). Give them training on how to collect the information that we need. We need to build trust. Possibly schedule all the sessions during one month creating a theme. Pick a topic that the public relates to instead of a scientific view. If you put a survey in the paper it also adds anonymity. We should identify these people and they could be our team out in the community. This will also improve communications.
  • We should consider schools i.e. essay contests to tell stories of their grandparents’ experiences.
  • One state project gave out the community calendar to all the staff and required them to attend each and every scheduled meeting to tell them about the state’s project. Here, it could be ATSDR who develops a similar plan.
  • The county if very large, we should consider focusing on communities and use a community concern sheet to collect information.
  • We need to talk to the community with some guidance so that we don’t get extraneous information, but do get pertinent information –Be clear that you are talking about environmental health
  • Test survey questions online.
  • Reward those who give information. Reward the community for coming up with solutions. Empower people to set their priorities & act.
  • We could give a scholarship or grant to students do a community history report for us.
  • We need an action plan.
  • Hold a public meeting advertising the focus groups, getting people to attend and collect environmental health concerns.
  • How do we ensure that these people feel listened to? What format will assist us? Are there any storytelling type activities that we can do that are useful?


  • Obtain information on stakeholders, resources, etc that you gathered for the GW NA. Brenda, Val and Susan have done this for GW. Get it back from GW.
  • Put a list of the above information together.
  • Identify areas, groups, communities where we need more info. We need to map it out together.
  • Literature review and a narrowed down list of stakeholders.
  • Identify groups with enough structure to assist us. We can find them and contact them.
  • Draw up a “mini” action plan, include COWG activities, and refine it.

Identification of Readings/Resources

  • The paper distributed to the group: “Integrated Approach to Health Education,” covers communication between the technical and the lay people. Referenced page 2, paragraph 2 indicating communication to the public is different. Thanked Tim for sharing this information.
  • Another source could be the dose reconstruction report· Get the report above and others from the library.
  • 1994 document – Believe it is still relevant.
  • Learning Channel program on environmental health w/Dr. Falk
  • County Extension person in each county
  • Knoxville Health Department and regional health department – they have several partners including county health departments and hospitals. They do capacity building activities.

Next Meeting

Day: Fourth Tuesday of every month
Time: 6pm
Location: Consider the Video Conference Room at the DOE

Flip Chart Notes from Meeting (PDF)

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