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Background: Research on potential exposures and health effects associated with unconventional oil and gas development (UOGD) should be grounded in a good understanding of not only exposure assessment, epidemiology, and the operations themselves, but also how to respectfully conduct research in communities potentially affected by UOGD. Researchers, policymakers, and others would benefit from understanding how research fatigue plays into relationships with rural communities living near energy development.
Overview of the Webinar: HEI Energy hosted a webinar to review the current understanding of research fatigue in rural energy communities. The speakers described best practices for researchers, policymakers, operators, and others to effectively engage communities to mitigate research fatigue. The primary goal was to discuss the challenges and opportunities in engaging communities in decision-making and dissemination to ensure the utility of research activities.
This webinar was part of our ongoing series, Energy Production and Human Health: Surveying Current Knowledge about Exposures from Unconventional Oil and Natural Gas Development. This series of webinars provides impartial information about human exposure and health effects associated with UOGD with two primary objectives:
- Inform policymakers, communities, and others making health-based decisions about UOGD.
- Raise the level of understanding of UOGD operations and, in so doing, help to ensure the utility and relevance of future human exposure and health research.
Katie Bills Walsh, Cornell University
Dr. Walsh is an environmental social scientist with expertise in natural resource management, energy geography, the social and environmental legacies of resource production, and stakeholder engagement. She recently transitioned from her role as a Postdoctoral Research Social Scientist with the Northern Plains Climate Hub at USDA-ARS to the position of Research Associate at Cornell University's Center for Conservation Social Sciences.
Julia Haggerty, Montana State University
Dr. Haggerty is Associate Professor of Geography in the Department of Earth Sciences at Montana State University, where she holds a joint appointment in the Montana Institute on Ecosystems. She received her BA from Colorado College in Liberal Arts and her PhD from the University of Colorado in History. Haggerty teaches courses in human, economic, and energy resource geography at MSU. She also leads the Resources & Communities Research Group in studying the ways rural communities respond to shifting economic and policy trajectories, especially as they involve natural resources. Haggerty has expertise in diverse rural geographies including those shaped by energy development, extractive industries, ranching and agriculture, and amenity development and conservation. Partnerships and collaboration with diverse stakeholders are central to her approach. Prior to joining MSU, Haggerty was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Otago in New Zealand (2005-2007) and a Policy Analyst with Headwaters Economics in Bozeman, Montana (2008-2013).