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Puerto Rico Science Trust gets $1.3M EPA research grant

The Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust will receive an award of more than $1.3 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its community-based research to address cumulative health effects of drought on rural communities that operate drinking water aqueducts in Puerto Rico. 

The Science Trust uses local knowledge along with scientific data collected through community-engaged research to help build a more sustainable and resilient water supply system for rural communities, improving community health in Puerto Rico.

The entity is one of 16 institutions that will split some $21.4 million in grant funding from the EPA for community-based research to examine how climate change may compound adverse environmental conditions and stressors for vulnerable populations in underserved communities. 

“Our efforts to address climate change must prioritize the health and wellbeing of those who are most vulnerable to its impacts,” said Chris Frey, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

“The research announced today will help us to characterize the cumulative impacts of climate change on the health and wellbeing of our most underserved communities so that we can work to mitigate these impacts and improve resilience,” Frey added.

The environmental and health effects of climate change are far-reaching. Some communities are more vulnerable because they already face greater exposure to pollutants and lack the resources to respond to and cope with environmental stressors.

These communities may be more likely to suffer sustained or even permanent damage from the impacts of climate change, further worsening health disparities. Additionally, children, older adults and people with disabilities or pre-existing health conditions may be more susceptible, the EPA stated.

These grants will support research projects that will use community-based participatory research approaches that aim to empower the partnering underserved communities with science-based, resilience-building solutions to protect their most vulnerable residents.

The grants are provided as part of the EPA’s Cumulative Health Impacts at the Intersection of Climate Change, Environmental Justice and Vulnerable Populations/Lifestages: Community-Based Research for Solutions funding opportunity.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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