Brown University School of Public Health and Co-Lin conducting environmental epidemiology research in Simpson County

Dr. Erica Walker is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Founder of Community Noise Lab at the Brown University School of Public Health launches a public health study in Mendenhall, MS, working closely with nursing students from Co-Lin Community College.

On April 6, 2024, the Community Noise Lab research team, consisting of Dr. Cristina Nica (Research Scientist), Arlencia Barnes (Doctoral Student), Brianna Drake (High School Student Researcher), Toni Holloway (Research Assistant), Mrs. Janice Skiffer (Community Engagement Coordinator) Keshia Fuller and Shakayla Taylor (Practical Nursing Students at Co-Lin Community College) were at the E911 building in Mendenhall, Mississippi to complete baseline health study visits for enrolled children living in Mendenhall and D’Lo, Mississippi. The Mississippi Adolescent Environmental Health Study is a research study whose aim is to understand how a child’s environment may impact their health throughout their young lives.

“April 6 represents the first wave of examination,” says Dr. Walker. “We will return each year to collect a follow-up on this cohort’s health. As a proud Mendenhall, Mississippi native, I am so humbled to be able to do this work in my hometown.”

Enrolled children and their parents filled out a detailed environmental health survey and children participated in a variety of health examinations including having their anthropometric measures, blood pressure, spirometry, and hearing. Enrolled children also provided nail and blood samples. Parents brought in a sample of their tap water to be tested for pollutants and research staff will reach out to families soon to collect a sample of soil to also test. Families were given $150 for each child who participated.

“What is most exciting about this study visit was the opportunity to work with Co-Lin Community College nursing students,” says Dr. Walker. “ These students worked all of our health examination stations and were able to engage community members they will eventually serve.”

“I am so thrilled that I was allowed to participate in this research experiment,” says Keshia. “It was rewarding for me to get to learn new things as far as blood specimen collection and also learning about the water, soil, air, and noise pollution testing. I had never witnessed that before!

“This research experience will be invaluable,” says Practical Nursing Instructor, Hope Berry. “During the first week in the nursing program, students learn that the quality care we provide should be based on the most up-to-date-research and knowledge”

Community Noise Lab researchers and Co-Lin Community College students are also in Simpson County measuring air and noise pollution.

“The idea is to link the data collected at the April 6th examination and link it to the water, soil, air, and noise pollution data we have collected to understand how these pollution levels are impacting children across their lives,” explains Dr. Walker.

“We have partnered with Community Noise Lab at Brown University for the past three years and appreciate the opportunity to provide Co-Lin students the continued opportunity to participate in public health research in their community,” says Dr. Anika Floyd, Vice President of Copiah-Lincoln Community College's Simpson County Center.

If you are interested in participating in this health study, please reach out to Dr. Erica Walker at erica_walker@brown.edu; Dr. Cristina Nica at cristina_nica@brown.edu;  Mrs. Janice Skiffer at jlee4825@yahoo.com.

COMMUNITY NOISE LAB For more information about this research project, you can reach out to Dr. Erica Walker via Twitter @noiseandthecity and @community_noise and via email at erica_walker@brown.edu. Dr. Cristina Nica can be reached at cristina_nica@brown.edu. Community Noise Lab's website can be accessed at communitynoiselab.org. Our Mississippi Offices are in Jackson, Mississippi.