The Washington State Environmental Health Disparities Map: Development of a Community-Responsive Cumulative Impacts Assessment Tool

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Nov 13;16(22):4470. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16224470.


Communities across Washington State have expressed the need for neighborhood-level information on the cumulative impact of environmental hazards and social conditions to illuminate disparities and address environmental justice issues. Many existing mapping tools have not explicitly integrated community voice and lived experience as an integral part of their development. The goals of this project were to create a new community-academic-government partnership to collect and summarize community concerns and to develop a publicly available mapping tool that ranks relative environmental health disparities for populations across Washington State. Using a community-driven framework, we developed the Washington Environmental Health Disparities Map, a cumulative environmental health impacts assessment tool. Nineteen regularly updated environmental and population indicators were integrated into the geospatial tool that allows for comparisons of the cumulative impacts between census tracts. This interactive map provides critical information for the public, agencies, policymakers, and community-based organizations to make informed decisions. The unique community-academic-government partnership and the community-driven framework can be used as a template for other environmental and social justice mapping endeavors.

Keywords: community driven research; community engaged; environmental justice; geographic information systems; geospatial mapping.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Community Participation*
  • Decision Making*
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Environmental Health*
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Social Justice
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Washington