Improved Assessment and Tracking of Health Impacts for California Communities Most Burdened by Pollution
Scope of Work
The overarching aim of this project is to develop improved ways for the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the public to assess and track real-world health benefits that derive from both statewide and local air pollution control measures, with a focus on communities most burdened by pollution.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is looking to develop a set of health indicators and a process for tracking health conditions related to air pollution exposures for AB 617 communities and other heavily burdened areas. While CARB currently assesses projected health benefits of air pollution control rules, regulations, and programs, there is not a system in place to track actual health conditions linked to air pollution emissions and exposures in a community. The project will improve CARB’s ability to monitor progress toward health and equity goals for all Californians and provide additional health information to the public on a community scale.
While there are numerous data resources available on specific health outcomes related to air quality (e.g., asthma evaluations, exacerbation of respiratory disease, missed school/workdays due to illnesses, cardiopulmonary mortality*), this project will determine which existing or new data sources can provide the best indication of health conditions and health progress in one or more highly impacted communities. In identifying the appropriate data sources, researchers will determine which sources linked to criteria air pollutants (and if available, air toxics) effects can be easily accessed and provide regular and updated information across communities. In deciding on these data sources, researchers will work closely with the local AB 617 steering committees in the chosen communities and consider requests from the communities. This project will better inform the public by providing a user-friendly mechanism to understand and communicate the health implications from CARB’s work in impacted communities. Improved detection and tracking of health impacts within California’s most pollution-exposed communities will support CARB’s mission to protect the public from the harmful effects of air pollution and the goals of the AB 617 program to reduce air pollution exposures in the most impacted communities.
Scope of Work
The scope of work for this project with consist of three main tasks:
1) Compile and/or develop community health metrics.
This task will be conducted with input from community steering committee members in AB 617 communities and may include other community partners and is intended to address as many AB 617 communities as possible. These data sets will be indicative of adverse health conditions from air pollution (criteria air pollutants and, if available, air toxics) exposures. These data will also be useful for tracking annual or possibly semi-annual changes in community health at neighborhood-level geographic scales. Potential health metrics may include but are not limited to: Frequency and severity of asthma symptoms or attacks, asthma medication use, hospitalizations or emergency room visits for respiratory or cardiac conditions, incidence and prevalence of disease conditions, and school and work productivity. Possible questions addressed for this task may include:
- What community-level health metrics are currently available, and at what time and spatial scales?
- Are there modifications to existing data collections that would be beneficial for tracking health changes in communities?
- Are there new health measures or new health data that could be collected and developed?
- Which health metric(s) are identified by the community and what approaches can be used by researchers to consult with the community on potential metrics? Can researchers use a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach?
- What are the mechanisms for ongoing tracking of health metrics and how could communities be involved in this tracking?
2) Determine and justify which metrics and indicators are most effective at meaningfully reflecting real-world health progress over time.
The compiled data sets (Step 1) will be assessed to identify which metrics will best track community health changes associated with reduced air pollutant emissions exposures. Possible examples of factors to consider in this assessment include indicators and metrics that are:
- Reflect community concerns about health conditions in the area and consider community-identified health metrics.
- Sensitive to health improvements that arise from observed reductions in air pollution emissions/exposures.
- Insightful regarding the detection of possibly under-recognized health impacts within AB 617 and other heavily burdened communities;
- Timely, for short-term (6-12 month) tracking of changes in health;
- Neighborhood-level, or at other fine geographic scales within counties;
- Representative of community-level health for specific subpopulations defined by race/ethnicity, age and other factors;
- Readily obtainable;
- Applicable to one or more AB 617 communities and possibly additional areas in close proximity. Some metrics could be similar across communities and some could be specific to individual communities.;
- Inclusive of any additional factors identified by the researchers in consultation with community steering committees.
3) Develop a resource for public dissemination of ongoing and up-to-date information on air quality health impacts.
For this task, the data sets best indicative of community health responses to air pollution control measures will be brought together, and a centralized electronic resource (database, webpage, map, dashboard) developed for dissemination of the results and utilization of the results by CARB and the public. Desirable features of this resource would include being visually communicative, as well as effective for annual or semi-annual tracking of changes in community health conditions linked to air pollution control strategies for individual AB 617 neighborhoods as well as other impacted communities
- Centralized electronic resource/dashboard for assessment and tracking of health indicators for California communities most burdened by air pollutionfor use on CARB’s website (including all data, documentation of the methods for data updates, underlying documented software code, any associated software source code, and a User’s Manual);
- Quarterly Progress Reports and conference calls, including public-facing updates posted to the CARB website (Template will be provided);
- Consultation calls with CARB and key stakeholders in AB 617 communities as needed;
- Draft final report that includes a description of all health metrics identified, and justifications for those selected for inclusion in the centralized resource/dashboard;
- Final Report incorporating CARB and community review and feedback, with seminar accessible to community members;
- All data, analyses, and analytical tools generated through the course of the project;
- The project must incorporate equity components that include, but are not limited to, the following:
- An equity implications section in the final report;
- Encouragement of non-academic partners, such as non-profits or community advocates; and/or encouragement of academic partners new to CARB contracting and/or from smaller universities; A description of this process in the final report;
- A plan to outreach to AB 617 Community Steering Committee members in selected communities and possibly other community representatives and provide compensation for engaged partners
- Cultural competency training for researchers (examples include implicit bias training, racial equity training, etc.), with a cultural competency statement in the proposal and final report;
- Community peer review of results
- Publicly available peer reviewed publication (please budget for this expense);
- Outreach deliverables for the public in plain-language (available in multiple languages and formats), developed in collaboration with CARB;
- Additional deliverables to be determined in consultation with CARB staff
Timeline & Budget
It is anticipated this project will be completed in 24 months from the start date. The estimated budget for this project is $500,000.
*Some population health metrics are in datasets from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Open Data Portal, the California Healthy Places Index (HPI), the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Asthma Call-Back Survey
In order to increase transparency of how winning pre-proposals are chosen, scoring criteria have been included for each project. Please note that scoring criteria is tailored to each project included in CARB's fiscal year 2021-2022 solicitation. If you are submitting pre-proposals for more than one project in the solicitation, please be sure to review the scoring criteria to get a better understanding of what components of the project are most valued for selection.
- RESPONSIVENESS TO THE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OUTLINES IN THE PROPOSAL SOLICITATION (15 points) - Proposers should demonstrate a clear understanding of the policy objectives and research needs that CARB seeks to address with this project, and should convey their knowledge of the subject. The proposal should spell out, in adequate detail, exactly what the Proposer proposes to do to satisfy the requirements of the Solicitation. The draft proposal must propose work that would satisfy the objective(s) stated in the Research Solicitation: To develop improved ways for the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the public to assess and track real-world health benefits that derive from both statewide and local air pollution control measures, with a focus on communities most burdened by pollution.
- POLICY RELEVANCE/BENEFITS TO THE STATE(10 points) – Does the proposal describe how the project will provide data, information, and/or products to help CARB accomplish its mission? Does the proposal provide baseline health information and indicators for tracking health progress that can assist CARB in understanding health conditions in communities including AB617 communities. Click here to enter text.
- PREVIOUS WORK (10 points)
- ACADEMIC EXPERTISE (5 points) - Do the researchers have relevant experience in this area? Do they discuss how they will build upon previous relevant work that was funded by CARB, other state agencies, and federal agencies such as US EPA, NSF, or NIH?
- EXPERIENCE AND PROVEN DEDICATION TO COMMUNITY BASED ENGAGEMENT APPROACHES (5 points) - Does the proposal discuss previous experience with community engagement? Do the researchers describe previous experience in community engagement and provide letters of support, references, or a community impact statement, describing how previous work impacted communities?
- EXPANDING EXPERTISE (10 points) – Does the team bring in new talent that has not worked with CARB previously? Is the team composed of a multidisciplinary team of experts? Do the researchers include non-academic partners or partners new to CARB contracting and/or from smaller universities?
- TECHNICAL MERIT (25 points) - Describe the submission's technical strengths and/or weaknesses. Proposers should demonstrate the logic and feasibility of the methodology and technical approach to the project, spell out the sequence and relationships of major tasks, and explain methods for performing the actual work. Please factor in how well the draft proposal fulfills the objectives outlined in the statement of work for the compilation and assessment of metrics and indicators that are most effective at meaningfully reflecting real-world health progress over time and dissemination of this information to the public.
- The review team will be selecting only one draft proposal for development into a full proposal. If this draft proposal has potential, what areas or topics should be prioritized or better explained in the full proposal?
- LEVEL AND QUALITY OF EFFORT TO BE PROVIDED(15 points) – Does the proposal allocate time and resources in such a way that the objectives of the study will be met? Is supervision and oversight adequate for ensuring that the project will remain on schedule? Is the distribution of workload appropriate for activities such as research, evaluation and analysis, data reduction, computer simulation, report preparation, meetings, and travel?
- COST EFFECTIVENESS (15 points) - Does the cost seem appropriate for the proposed work? Does the proposed work seem feasible within the requested budget? Projects that provide co-funding should be evaluated more favorably.