Collections > Master's Papers > Gillings School of Public Health > An Examination of the Effectiveness of Video and Supplemental Materials for Introducing Public Participation Methods to Government Employees in the Environmental and Health Fields

Government employees face the regulatory requirement to involve the public in decision-making; however, effectively engaging the community in environmental decisions has been challenging for many agencies and/or their employees. One such challenge is limited training materials aimed at government employees on the topic of community involvement. In response to a stated need for assistance with public participation efforts on the part of government employees in North Carolina, the Research Translation Core of the UNC-CH Superfund Basic Research Program (SBRP) partnered with the Exchange Project (a group housed in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education in the UNC-CH Gillings School of Global Public Health) to develop an introduction and training video on the topic of public participation. A case study activity was created by the UNC-CH SBRP-RTC to supplement the video. To examine the impact of the training materials on a variety of characteristics associated with effective public participation, 154 state and local government employees in the environmental and/or health fields were divided into three treatment groups (Video-Only, Activity-Only, and Video-and-Activity). In total, 12 training sessions were held, and participants' responses to nine categories of outcome measures were collected prior to, immediately after, and 30-days following training. Scores were reported for all outcome categories including: 1) frequency of interaction with the public, 2) perceived effectiveness of interactions with the public, 3) perceived quality of interactions with the public, 4) personally-encountered challenges in interacting with the public, 5) individual values held on the topic of public participation, 6) responsibilities of a government employee in interacting with the public , 7) emotions experienced around the topic of public participation, 8) knowledge about public participation, and 9) future plans to implement lessons learned. The results suggest that providing an introductory training on public participation methods to government employees is beneficial and effective.