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Oak Ridge Reservation

Oak Ridge Reservation: Communications & Outreach Work Group

Historical Document

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Communications and Outreach Work Group

August 5, 2004 - Meeting Minutes


Members attending:
James Lewis (Chair), Karen Galloway, and David Johnson

ATSDR Staff attending:
Wilma López (phone), Marilyn Palmer (phone), Susan Robinson (phone), Bill Taylor, and Maria Teran-MacIver (phone)


James Lewis called the meeting to order. Mr. Lewis noted that an ORRHES member had asked questions about the budget mentioned in the following statement from the July 8, 2004, COWG meeting minutes, Ms. [Susan] Robinson noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had invested a significant amount of funds into creating better ‘architecture' for these types of sites, and that this technology would benefit the updated ORRHES Web site. During this meeting, Ms. Robinson clarified that CDC began re-engineering its Web site in 2001. She explained that for all of CDC's programs, the CDC Web site normally received more than 9,000,000 unique visitors each month. She believed that ATSDR had spent about $12,000 to date on its efforts to convert approximately 200 pages of the ORRHES Web site to a new format, which she stated was highly efficient. Mr. Lewis asked for a motion to accept the July 8, 2004, meeting minutes. The minutes were unanimously approved.

The purpose of the meeting was to further discuss the new ORRHES Web site, and for the COWG to provide additional feedback and recommendations to ATSDR.

Discussion of the ORRHES Web Site

Facilitator: Susan Robinson, ATSDR

Susan Robinson directed the COWG to the new Web site address ( so that the group could look at the site during the meeting. Ms. Robinson explained that there were menu items on the right-hand side of the site (e.g., public participation). The COWG had a grid to follow, and Ms. Robinson would go through the sections as they were listed on the grid.

Susan Robinson said that the first section was the "Home" page. She asked everyone if they liked the opening image on the site. James Lewis thought that they should use a different image. Mr. Lewis recommended using an aerial photograph that was used for the Y-12 fact sheet. Bill Taylor pointed out that this photograph only represented the Y-12 facility. If they were going to change the pictures periodically, then this would be fine. However, if the images would remain on the site, Dr. Taylor thought that the pictures needed to represent all of the Oak Ridge Reservation instead of only one facility. Karen Galloway suggested using historical pictures of people working inside the facilities. Mr. Lewis noted that many of these photographs were available on the CD-ROM that contained the Reports of the Oak Ridge Dose Reconstruction. He added that Jack Hanley had these disks. David Johnson wanted to see images of wildlife. Dr. Taylor said that Tim Joseph could assist with these images because he compiled the Annual Environmental Reports for the US Department of Energy (DOE), which always included pictures of wildlife.

Susan Robinson explained that the content on the front page was pulled directly from the former Web site. She said that they could change this page later if needed, but that they should now concentrate on filling in the content gaps.

James Lewis wanted to add a time line to show the key operating periods at each of the three main facilities—X-10, Y-12, and K-25. Bill Taylor noted that these facilities were still in operation. Mr. Lewis replied that they were not operating at the same capacity levels as in the past. Dr. Taylor was unclear on Mr. Lewis's statement because the programs at the facilities had changed. Mr. Lewis explained that many people did not understand that there were different levels of operations that took place, and that these levels had changed over time.

James Lewis said that ERG had prepared draft time lines that included the activities at X-10, Y-12, and K-25. He thought that it would be helpful to include the time lines on the Web site. Mr. Lewis suggested that Susan Robinson contact ERG to obtain the time lines. He noted that the time line for X-10 was entitled "X-10 Facilities Time Line." Bill Taylor noted that these were three separate time lines.

Susan Robinson reminded the group that they were "brainstorming," and that they would fill these requests when possible. However, she did not want to put themselves into a position where someone asked why a time line was not on the Web site. She added that this was a "low priority" now because they needed to focus on the community resources section of the site. She said that they had talked about interactive maps and other related items during the last meeting. She was glad that they had captured these ideas and wanted to know if there were additional items that they could put on the site while they worked on maps, time lines, and other material that would take a longer time to prepare.

Susan Robinson noted that they had previously discussed the Hanford Web site and how it had listed questions and answers. She also asked about putting past presentations onto the site. Marilyn Palmer said that she had records from every meeting that included a compilation of pre-meeting mailings and all handouts provided to attendees. She noted that the materials were easily accessible and that she had some in electronic format.

James Lewis thought that they needed a short paragraph or executive summary on some of the presentations (e.g., thyroid cancer) to provide a general overview, and then supply a reference to the full presentation and minutes if someone wanted more details. Susan Robinson asked for clarification. She wanted to know if Mr. Lewis was suggesting that they choose certain presentations to include on the site and then create a paragraph that introduced these presentations.

James Lewis noted that Lucy Peipen's presentation on the peer review of "Mangano's Cancer Paper" should be included on the site.

Susan Robinson directed the COWG to the community resources section of the grid. She said that they could prepare a list of presentations from ORRHES meetings, and then the COWG could identify about five to seven that they thought should be on the Web site. James Lewis agreed with Ms. Robinson; although, he did not want to limit the presentations to only ORRHES meetings because several "good" presentations had been presented in the Public Health Assessment Work Group (PHAWG) meetings. Ms. Robinson suggested the following language to use on the Web site: "ORRHES members recommend these presentations from some of the ones that have been done." She thought that there was a "nice feel" to this type of statement.

James Lewis wanted the site to be user-friendly and to have an area that focused on issues related to health outcome and exposure evaluations. Mr. Lewis believed that health outcome issues "jump out at people." Susan Robinson asked if they should extract some of the health outcome sections from the public health assessments (PHAs). Mr. Lewis replied that the PHAs did not contain much information on health outcome. He wanted the site to contain health topics that were "issues of interest to the general public."

Susan Robinson did not want the group to think that she had forgotten their previous discussion. She explained that she was trying to put something onto the site for now, but that she was very interested in helping with all of the other items that the group had mentioned previously, such as listing contaminants of interest and describing health effects associated with the contaminants.

Susan Robinson asked Karen Galloway about having a list of the "hot issues" or the top 20 current questions and answers. Ms. Galloway thought that this would be a "good idea" if they could determine the top 20 questions among the community. Bill Taylor suggested that they approach the subcommittee at the next ORRHES meeting to obtain input from the entire panel. He added that the COWG's input was very important, but that only a few subcommittee members were present at the meeting.

James Lewis thought that they should select questions from the needs assessment when they "finally" received the related information. He added that ATSDR was responsible for capturing these issues and that if they obtained this from ATSDR, then they would have their list.

Susan Robinson explained three possible options that they could use to obtain a list of questions. First, they could use an open-ended text box to enable community members to submit their questions directly through the Web site. She added that she needed to speak internally with people at ATSDR about this option. Second, they could ask ORRHES members for questions that they have received from community members. Third, they could use a list of questions that was already developed by a consultant. The list contained several questions that were commonly asked by people who were concerned for their health because they lived in areas that contained hazards.

Karen Galloway noted that a couple of people had asked about postings along Watts Bar. She said that some of the postings conflicted with one another, which sent mixed messages to the public if they could or could not consume the fish in Watts Bar.

James Lewis though that they "should know the issues by now."

Susan Robinson asked if anyone had ideas about items that the community would want incorporated into the community resources section. James Lewis mentioned his previous suggestion to reference articles from the Nashville Tennessean. Ms. Robinson explained that she had scheduled a meeting to speak with the newspaper earlier that day about linking the ORRHES Web site to the newspaper's articles, but the meeting was rescheduled. She said that along with speaking with the newspaper, she also planned to talk internally with ATSDR about having an open-ended text box on the site and to discuss aspects of the search engine with ATSDR's information technology (IT) department.

David Johnson asked if there would be a link to the Tennessee Department of Health (TDOH). Susan Robinson responded that this link was already on the Web site, and that it would remain on the site. Ms. Robinson added that they could also link to "interesting pages" on the TDOH Web site, and that people should send her their "favorites list" if they had identified useful pages. Bill Taylor thought that Susan Kaplan would be a good resource for this type of information.

James Lewis noted that people could become overwhelmed if they were linked to a large Web site. He thought that they should provide a few examples of information that could be found on a specific Web site, and supply a link to the certain material. However, he added that they needed to make sure that the information was related to their activities at Oak Ridge (e.g., cancer registry). Mr. Lewis thought that they needed to make it an action item to provide Susan Robinson with their favorite Web site links.

Susan Robinson suggested sample language for the community resources pages. She said the following: "Welcome to community resources. These are some handpicked resources that we think you would find very informational, starting with the best presentations to the ORRHES." She also recommended, "Here are some very good links to specific areas on Web sites that are relevant to the public health activities here at Oak Ridge."

Maria Teran-MacIver thought that it would be helpful to present a chart with the different agencies that were involved, such as DOE, TDOH, and the local health department. Susan Robinson asked if this type of chart already existed, or if it would need to be created. Ms. Teran-MacIver believed that Jack Hanley had prepared a list of all of the involved agencies, and noted that she would ask Mr. Hanley about the list.

Susan Robinson asked Maria Teran-MacIver if she had other items that might be helpful for the community resources section. Ms. Teran-MacIver thought that any fact sheets that had been developed (for example, Y-12) would be useful. Ms. Robinson stated that there was a section for Y-12 on the site. James Lewis thought that this would be "nice," but he also wanted to see a chart that showed ORRHES and the work groups, and their individual responsibilities. Bill Taylor said that they already had this information pulled together.

James Lewis wanted to present the steps of a PHA so that the general public would have an idea of the PHA process. Susan Robinson thought that Jack Hanley was already working on this type of material. Mr. Lewis said that he wanted to present the PHA manual so that the public could have a "general idea" of the procedures. Bill Taylor noted that ATSDR's Public Health Assessment Guidance Manual (PHAGM) was already available on the Internet.

Susan Robinson thought that they had enough material to begin the community resources section. She noted that they would complete the easiest items first and be able to post those onto the Web site. She said that creating a list of presentations and adding site links would not take much time, and therefore, these would go onto the site first. However, the list of questions and answers would take longer, but she would begin to work on this task as well.

James Lewis asked about maps. He wanted to know if they would have a map that included communities with related links. Susan Robinson questioned if the study areas were or were not location-specific. Bill Taylor replied that there were both types of study areas in the PHAs. Ms. Robinson asked if the furthest distance that exposure pathways were being evaluated was more representative of a three- or nine-county area. Dr. Taylor thought that it was probably a nine-county area. Ms. Robinson asked if they could obtain a nine-county map and draw detailed information onto the map. Dr. Taylor explained that this information would need to come out of each PHA and that the individual health assessor would need to do this after the PHA was completed.

Susan Robinson asked if they could prepare a general map. James Lewis responded that they already had a general one, but that they needed to add different communities onto the map. Ms. Robinson asked if they could insert the community names. Mr. Lewis said that this could be done. Bill Taylor suggested passing the map around at an ORRHES meeting. Karen Galloway asked if the map would only include the communities, or if it would allow people to click on the community and see the possible risks related to the community. Ms. Robinson said that they needed to obtain the map first, and that they could hopefully add that capability at a later time.

Susan Robinson asked the group about photographs. She noted that Susan Kaplan had said that she could take pictures, and added that it would be beneficial if the group could develop a "shot list." She thought that photographs would enhance the site and the COWG members agreed.

James Lewis said that he had learned a lot from the Hanford Web site. He thought that the site contained "beautiful fact sheets" and other beneficial educational materials. He wanted to know about the content of their site and how the information would educate people to know if they should be concerned about particular issues.

Susan Robinson suggested that she and Maria Teran-MacIver review the Hanford Web site together to evaluate the educational products that the site contained. After they reviewed the site, they would present COWG with their ideas for the ORRHES Web site. She noted that the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH)—not ATSDR—created the Hanford Web site and that it had a significant amount of funding for the project. However, she said that they could use certain ideas and items from the Hanford site.

Susan Robinson discussed the ORRHES section of the Web site. She noted that they had previously mentioned having a "3-month look ahead" on the site.

Susan Robinson brought the group's attention to the public participation portion of the site. She explained that this section contained a community health concerns comment sheet. As mentioned previously, she also wanted to put an open-ended text box in this part of the site to enable people to directly e-mail their concerns to ATSDR. She also showed the group that, per Susan Kaplan's request, Ms. Robinson had added a National Priorities List (NPL) link. James Lewis commented that "this is what they're looking for."

Susan Robinson explained that she would follow up on the community resources section. She said that she was presenting the Web site to the internal Office of Communication on August 10, 2004, to obtain its approval of the site and to ask questions previously brought up by the COWG (for example, if they could link to articles in the Nashville Tennessean). She hoped to continue operating the old and new sites in a parallel manner and wanted to have the new site completed and "running live" soon.

James Lewis asked Susan Robinson "how long she is going to be there." He said that every time they start progressing on a project, something happens to stop the productivity. Ms. Robinson stated that they should not worry because this was going to be moving ahead. She added that Wilma López continued to work on the project and that Ms. López had recently completed another quality assessment (QA) of ERG's work and had prepared a list of needed changes for the site.

Marilyn Palmer said that Wilma López planned to present the Web site at the September 14, 2004, ORRHES meeting. Susan Robinson added that the site "should be live" at that time. She continued that the Web site could "practically go live now," but that they needed to strengthen the community resources section of the site.

James Lewis said that the DOE high school program link was not working. Susan Robinson asked if a link existed on the Internet; Bill Taylor was not aware that DOE had this on the Internet. Ms. Robinson said that she needed to contact Tim Joseph and obtain materials on this subject. She noted that if a link did not work on the site, Wilma López already knew about it and was fixing the problem.

James Lewis brought up an idea proposed by Karen Galloway. He said that ATSDR's Division of Health Education and Promotion (DHEP) had committed to "knock on doors and go to high schools." He added that they had heard the "flushing sound" because the group "disappeared" from this project. Susan Robinson thought that this could be a "potential context idea" for the Web site. She noted that they could possibly have Tim Joseph give a presentation to high schools. She wanted to know if they should have a high school-level presentation on the PHA process or on a particular study or topic. Karen Galloway said that she would be more interested in the high school students' feedback to them. Ms. Robinson suggested that Maria Teran-MacIver, as the health education expert, could possibly work with Dr. Joseph to prepare an interaction with students.

David Johnson asked about a link to area health providers. Susan Robinson said that they could try to add this to the site. James Lewis cautioned that they needed to provide links and examples of how the link was related to their activities at the Oak Ridge Reservation. Ms. Robinson agreed with Mr. Lewis.

Susan Robinson encouraged the group to e-mail her their ideas and comments. She would make a "to-do list" after they finished the meeting.

James Lewis adjourned the meeting at 6:30 pm.

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