Morgan State University
(MSU) is a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), founded in 1867 and located in northeastern Baltimore City. The University has been an institution integral with the Baltimore community since its inception. Morgan State’s history of involvement in issues affecting the African American community, preparing leaders for that community, and its involvement with transportation issues through the NTC make it an especially qualified leader for the BREJT project. Given the multi-dimensional nature of the BREJT project and challenges in developing the proposed EJT Tool Kit, a Morgan State University Research Team has been formed across several academic programs.
The National Transportation Center
(NTC) at Morgan State was formed in 1991 under designation of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s University Transportation Centers Program. The National Center for Transportation Management, Research and Development has undertaken numerous activities to optimize and improve transportation in the Baltimore region. Its theme, “Transportation: A Key to Human and Economic Development”, emphasizes the human impacts of and interactions with surface transportation systems. The NTC’s mission is to advance technology and expertise in the many disciplines related to transportation through the mechanisms of education, research and technology transfer.
The Institute for Urban Research
(IUR) is one of several special programs at Morgan State University. The Institutes Director is Dr. Raymond Winbush who is a early stakeholder and strong supporter of this project. IUR’s primary goal is to provide technical assistance to community-based organizations that are undertaking self-help efforts (e.g., community need assessments, community surveys, etc.). IUR also assists in the identification and development of alternative solutions to perceived community problems and concerns and assesses the feasibility for implementing potential solutions.
The Baltimore Metropolitan Council
(BMC) is an organization of the region’s six elected executives. The BMC was established to identify regional interests and to develop collaborative strategies, plans and programs that will improve the quality of life and economic vitality of the Baltimore region. To that end, the Council employs a professional planning staff that serves as staff to the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board (BRTB), a 10-member policy board which is the officially designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Baltimore region. The MPO is responsible for decisions related to transportation issues in the Baltimore region, and, therefore, with implementing federal policies relating to transportation planning. The BRTB’s role in regional policy and planning issues includes triennial update of a long-range plan, creation of an annual transportation improvement program (TIP), and demonstration of conformity of transportation plans with federal guidelines for air quality. It is also the MPO’s responsibility to ensure that environmental justice requirements are satisfied in the performance of regional plans and programs; indeed, federal certification of any MPO’s status depends in part on meeting requirements such as EJ. BMC’s role in Phase II will be pivotal, given both its function as a forum for regional planning and policy issues, and as the agency in charge of transportation planning tools and data. The MPO has strived to incorporate EJ requirements in its recent regional transportation plans, using various tools and data resources to assess the coverage and quality of transportation service on low-income and minority populations, primarily through measures of accessibility. In its capacity as staff to the MPO, and given its experience in treating EJ in recent transportation plans, BMC is knowledgeable on the issues that other MPOs face in addressing EJ, which should be a key practical aid in identifying tools and guidance that can help these other organizations and professionals respond more effectively.
The Greater Baltimore Urban League
(GBUL) was founded in 1924 by a multiracial group of progressive thinkers who adopted as their mission to promote, encourage, assist and engage in efforts to improve the social and economic conditions of African Americans and other minority population groups in the Baltimore community. In recent years, it has worked tirelessly with a myriad of public, private and non-profit partners to revitalize and restore Baltimore to its once-august status. GBUL recognizes that business, jobs, training, education, transportation, housing, social services and public safety are inextricably linked, and therefore its programs reflect this connectivity. As a result of these efforts, many lives have been changed and neighborhoods empowered. Through partnerships with local, state and federal government, major colleges and universities, non-profit agencies and private sector firms, GBUL provides a unique connection between communities and services. With programs in youth development, economic development, transportation equity, employment, technology and homeownership, the League is holistically designed to empower people to participate more fully in creating solutions to issues of urban living within their own lives and families. A key strategy used by GBUL in its mission is empowering minorities to secure economic self-reliance, parity and power. GBUL has an unparalleled history of success in the community: thousands of residents have been trained, secured jobs, started or expanded businesses, acquired homes, become better fathers, earned GEDs and become a significant part of the American dream. Long-term partnerships with major corporations, local and state agencies and other non-profits have helped create the climate, culture, and collaborative mindset for this positive change to occur. GBUL believes that it is extremely important to advocate on behalf of the minority community when it comes to important and life altering issues such as transportation equity and environmental justice.
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
is quite simply the largest, oldest and most academically acclaimed school of public health in the country, with a proud tradition of ground-breaking research and educational programs. The Bloomberg School was founded in 1916, and the Department of Environmental Health Sciences was one of the original departments of the school. Within the Department is housed a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NEIHS) Center, a vibrant entity which conducts pioneering and cross-disciplinary research and education on diseases induced by environmental agents. The goal of the Center – to
reduce morbidity and mortality from environmental causes in urban populations – is in response to the rapid growth of urban areas over the past century, which has raised environmental risk factors and had a profound impact upon the health of urban area residents. The Center not only conducts research on the links between environmental exposure and health but, through its Community Outreach and Education Program (COEP), is actively engaged with the community to educate them on risk factors and to work with them in seeking solutions. The COEP has as its goals:
• To design and conduct educational programs for community residents, clergy, educators, health care professionals, labor groups and resource agencies concerning the risks and effects of environmental agents;
• To serve as the conduit between the Center and the community on identifying environmental problems and agents which affect the health of the community; and
• To facilitate community-based research in partnership with diverse community groups to address local needs as defined by community leaders and residents.
Given the capability of the Center and its members to conduct community-based research in diverse communities, the COEP serves to translate research findings into educational programs and environmental health policy. At the core of the Center’s philosophy on community-based research is that education is a critical and essential component of this process, and COEP is an extension of this philosophy. Accordingly, COEP seeks to establish partnerships with credible community agencies in order to create the opportunity to respond to specific concerns identified by community leaders and residents. These types of effective partnerships generate mutually beneficial relationships and assure positive outcomes through the translation of information and outcomes from the Research Cores and Facility Cores into knowledge applied to public health. The Center and its COEP program were the topic of the NIEHS Community Outreach and Education Program Resource Center spotlight “Meeting the Urban Challenge”.