California Department of Public Health, Site Assessment Section
CDPH’s Site Assessment Section (SAS) implemented CDC’s Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health (PACE EH) for the first time in California in the City of South Gate, Los Angeles County. South Gate is a 95% Latino community with many recognized environmental health and justice concerns and three Superfund sites in close proximity. From January 2015 to March 2016, SAS worked with a stakeholder group to complete the 13 tasks of the protocol that enabled this community to identify and come up with action plans to address their environmental health concerns. The stakeholder group included community members and representatives from the City administration, City Council, law enforcement, members of civic, business and faith organizations, state and federal agencies such as the South Coast Air Quality Management District, LA County Department of Public Health and USEPA. To determine what the South Gate households perceive as environmental health concerns, CDPH conducted a rapid needs assessment (CASPER) that generated statistically valid, representative and actionable data for the stakeholder group on which to base their analysis. The stakeholder group decided to focus on public safety and air pollution and has put action plans in place that include community events, outreach to other organizations and Cities, and applying for funding in cooperation with the City. The benefits of implementing PACE EH (increasing community capacity to address environmental justice and health equity concerns, addressing selected social determinants of health, building trust among stakeholders) could be beneficial to other communities, especially communities with environmental justice concerns.