Press Release

Press Release: Community Groups in Fort Collins and Greeley Partner with Researchers to Help Understand the Public Health Impacts of Oil and Gas Development

Citizens for a Healthy Fort Collins and Weld Air and Water, long-time public health advocates on the Front Range, are excited to announce that they have joined with academic researchers in Colorado on a new project, Research in Service of Communities: Demystifying, Communicating, and Incorporating Public Health Research on Energy Development project, known as the RISC project. The RISC project is a collaborative partnership among community and academic public health researchers, funded by the Colorado Clinical &Translational Sciences Institute. Together, these groups will work to translate and share with the public, findings from peer-reviewed research on the health impacts of unconventional oil and gas (O&G) development in Colorado.

“This collaboration is an innovative way to involve communities in the projects and findings of researchers engaging in academic health studies,” said Bob Overbeck, communications consultant for Citizens for a Healthy Fort Collins.

“Weld Air and Water is excited to look at quality of life, biomarkers of stress and assist with the design, recruiting, and interpretation of the results” said Carl Erickson of Weld Air and Water. “I am delighted to be partnering with these groups. Community researchers are essential for conducting relevant research on O&G in Colorado. ” said Dr. Lisa McKenzie lead academic researcher at the Colorado School of Public Health.

The RISC project will work with the Quality of Life and Biomarkers in Communities Study, also known as the QBC study. The nonpartisan QBC study is funded by a federal grant awarded to Colorado School of Public Health researchers by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The distribution 700 surveys to Greeley and Fort Collins households marked the first phase in the two-year, multi-phase, interdisciplinary QBC study conducted by researchers from Colorado State University and the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus. The goal of this part of the study is to help communities better understand how citizens’ daily lives are affected by O&G production. The second phase will soon be recruiting individuals from both communities to participate in an evaluation of their physiologic responses to their environment.

Professor John Adgate of CU, who leads the multidisciplinary study team, stated, “There is a shortage of research on what happens, in both communities and individuals, when oil and gas development occurs. Our goal is to provide communities and other stakeholders with rigorous research that will help address concerns of area residents about the impacts of O&G production.”

Dr. Stephanie Malin, a Colorado State University sociologist and lead social scientist on the study, said: “I am thrilled to conduct community-based, participatory public health research. We have been using validated instruments to measure community members’ quality of life, stress levels, and perceptions of industry – and our sustained collaborations with community members will help us understand even better the nuanced interactions between people’s daily lives and O&G production.”

To get involved or more information regarding the RISC project, please email us at risc@healthyfoco.com