Health Communication Students Research Brownfields

Monday, February 12, 2024

Students from SDSU'S School of Communication
Students from SDSU'S School of Communication.
In the heart of National City and with the help of its residents, graduate students from San Diego State University’s Politics of Health Communication program embarked on a transformative research project focusing on brownfields. 

Brownfields are underutilized lands negatively affected by perceptions of contamination and pollution. The class’s hands-on initiative aimed to bridge the divide between academic knowledge and real-world application. 

Under the guidance of School of Communication Assistant Professor Rati Kumar, students embraced a culture-centered perspective, immersing themselves in the National City community to conduct a needs assessment. Through interviews, they gauged the community’s understanding of brownfields, and insights gained from these interactions will serve as the foundation for a comprehensive media campaign. 

Using a health communication lens to examine the data, students highlighted the critical link between health and environmental injustice. This approach, inspired and supported by the SAGE Project’s deep roots in National City, ensured that the information disseminated was authentic and resonated with the community. 

Throughout this endeavor, students encountered challenges that tested their problem-solving skills and adaptability. For instance, when faced with low participation due to a technological gap, the students revisited their strategies. They demonstrated resilience and a commitment to inclusivity by returning to the community, reevaluating their methods, and embracing a more accessible approach. 

This brownfields project served as a pivotal moment for the class, offering them a unique opportunity to understand community work, demonstrate solidarity with community members’ lived experiences, and exemplify the transformative power of communication in building informed communities.

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