Advocacy

Building Asbestos Awareness Through Community Outreach

Written By:
Aug 29, 2022
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Written By: Sean Marchese, MS, RN,
August 29, 2022

Earlier this year, Asbestos.com launched a first-of-its-kind Community Partnership program to raise mesothelioma awareness through partnerships with universities and service organizations.

Within the first few weeks, we established relationships with multiple partners and produced unique educational resources for nursing professors and other industry professionals.

I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with nursing program directors and teachers across the country and hearing how they approach teaching about asbestos in the classroom. It quickly became apparent that there was room for improvement, and The Mesothelioma Center has the experience and expertise to craft the resources students need to succeed.

Successful Partnership with Florida A&M University

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University is based in Tallahassee and was the highest-ranked public historically Black university in the 2022 U.S. News & World Report ranking of top national public universities.

We saw a unique opportunity to partner with an outstanding school specializing in areas of public health, such as environmental health and toxicology.

Our outreach connected us with Alan Becker, Ph.D., a professor of environmental and occupational health at FAMU. He said he only had a single bullet point about asbestos in his teaching materials and wanted to know what we could build for him.

Becker has advised more than 50 students pursuing public health, environmental health, occupational health and environmental epidemiology for their master’s degree research projects. He has also served on several dissertation committees.

After talking with Becker, I knew we could create precisely the types of materials that would benefit his students and help raise awareness of asbestos exposure and disease.

Crafting Custom Educational Resources to Raise Awareness

As a leader in his field, Becker has earned a grant from the Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry and worked with multiple state agencies, including the Florida departments of Health, Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Department of Environmental Protection.

Becker’s students are pursuing advanced degrees, which means the teaching materials we created needed to be exceptional and highly detailed.

He outlined which areas of study were necessary for his class, such as asbestos history, exposure sources, disease development and cultural impact. My team and I got to work developing a presentation that would cover all those topics and more.

We pulled the latest statistics, data and information that Becker could use to not only educate but inspire his students to face the challenges of asbestos and environmental toxicity.

Within a few days, we delivered a 65-plus slide presentation for Becker’s class covering his requests and the needs of his students. Utilizing engaging graphics, compelling facts and impressive figures, our presentation gave Becker’s students a one-of-a-kind resource to motivate them to action.

Ultimately, The Mesothelioma Center’s Community Partnership program is about helping our patients. Our outreach with industry leaders and education programs raises awareness about asbestos toxicity and asbestos diseases.

We’re helping to educate the next generation so they can provide solutions for the global challenges caused by asbestos.

Future Outreach, Partnerships and Awareness

We reached out to Becker after he received our presentation, offering to rework it with his input. He was more than satisfied with the first iteration, stating, “This looks great. I will have to … include this in my preparedness course.”

Our partnership with FAMU is only the first of many. While only a few months old, our Community Partnership program has allied with multiple universities and our first governmental relationship, the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services.

We want to continue developing high-quality, unique resources for these community initiatives. We believe more outreach and awareness can bring exceptional benefits to mesothelioma patients and the fight against the use of asbestos.

Our partnerships are pushing the mesothelioma community’s boundaries and expanding how people become aware of asbestos-related diseases. With The Mesothelioma Center’s unique ability to educate the public through our world-class experts and resources, there’s no limit to what we can achieve.