Environmental justice is studying and addressing the disproportionate impact that harmful environmental exposures can have on individuals from racial and ethnic minorities and economically disadvantaged people. Historically, these groups have been underrepresented or intentionally excluded from efforts to address environmental health, which has produced significant disparities in harmful exposures and poor health outcomes. Addressing these disparities requires innovative approaches that are inclusive, culturally appropriate, and community-focused, relying heavily on the input of local leaders and grassroots organizers.
The NCCU-RTI Center for Applied Research in Environmental Sciences (CARES) brings together experts from North Carolina Central University and RTI to address critical issues in environmental health and develop the next generation of leaders in health equity. The Center draws on the strengths of NCCU, a regional leader in health equity research, and RTI, a global interdisciplinary research organization with state-of-the-industry laboratories. We conduct impactful research and train aspiring university students in laboratory sciences, environmental modeling, risk assessment and communication, and implementation of interventions, in direct collaboration with industry thought leaders. NCCU-RTI CARES actively contributes to the health and well-being of North Carolina’s most vulnerable populations and living the missions of both organizations: preparing students to become practitioners who transform communities and improving the human condition by turning knowledge into practice.