Community Outreach and Translation Core

Community Outreach and Translation Core (COTC): Description

Baby interview

The aim of the Illinois CEHC Community Outreach and Translation Core is to communicate with the public about reasonable actions a family, a child care provider, or a school can take to reduce children’s exposures to the everyday chemicals the Illinois CEHC is researching.  These chemicals may cause permanent harm to children’s health, so to protect children’s health, one tactic is to cut back on using plastics, tin cans, and aluminum cans.  These types of food and beverage packaging can shed endocrine disrupting chemicals into the body when we drink and eat.  Eating and serving more fresh food may be one protective alternative.  Other strategies aim to prevent children from inhaling chemicals or absorbing them through their skin.  This may involve opting away from manufactured fragrances and scents in cleaning products and personal care products, and adopting effective “green cleaning” regimens.  This research translation program also defines upstream policy opportunities to clear a child’s environment of chemicals whose effects on health and development may be permanent.

Community Outreach and Translation Core (COTC): Goals


1. To work bi-directionally with a Community Advisory Board (CAB) and the Illinois CEHC research teams.  The CAB and the Illinois researchers work together in an iterative manner using feedback from stakeholders.  Together, they develop dissemination materials and conduct policy scans, to identify policy opportunities for reducing children’s exposure to consumer chemicals that may harm their health and development.


2. To develop a dissemination plan of emerging knowledge about the effects of routine chemical exposure on the developing child thorough two conferences aimed at key stakeholders (early care and public health providers), a national E-extension parenting website, mobile platforms, and online seminars.


Meet the Outreach and Research Translation Team


Barbara Fiese, Ph.D., is a clinical and developmental psychologist whose research focuses on family factors that promote health and wellbeing in children. She holds the Pampered Chef, Ltd., Endowed Chair in Family Resiliency and is Professor and Director of the Family Resiliency Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with affiliated appointments in the Departments of Pediatrics and Psychology.


Telephone: (217) 333-7772






Brenda Koester, As Assistant Director of the Family Resiliency Center, Brenda Koester’s research and outreach place a particular focus on the effects of food security policies and programs in Illinois and nationally.  A complementary focus is on policies and capacity in early childhood care.


Telephone: (217) 367-2152

Lizanne DeStefano, is the director of the I-STEM Education Initiative. She specializes in the evaluation and

sustainability of innovative STEM, as well as other, educational programs; multi-site initiatives; and programs serving

special populations. She serves as the evaluator for the IKIDS project.


Telephone: (217) 333-9625





Learn more about the COTC

The first focus setting for the COTC’s outreach and translation program is child care, since the majority of children spend the majority of business hours in child care away from home.  To this end, two child care-focused efforts are underway:

Upcoming event: On April 21-22, 2015, the Illinois COTC will co-present a conference about environmental health in child care with COTC CAB member Illinois Action for Children.  The conference will be tailored to child care providers, but is open to all, and will be held in Springfield, Illinois at the Crowne Plaza.

COTC research: To describe baseline environmental health routines among child care providers in Illinois, the COTC is surveying 235 child care providers, and interviewing 50 of these providers.  The findings will inform COTC messaging and strategy going forward.

COTC: Contact Information

Family Resiliency Center

Community Outreach and Translation Core

Illinois Children’s Environmental Health Research Center

Doris Christopher Hall – Room 2021

904 West Nevada Street

Urbana, Illinois 61801

Tel (217) 333-7772 or (217) 300-3485

Fax: (217) 333-9061