(Officers Only) Call:

EPA Announces the Small Communities Big Challenges:
Rural Environmental Health Needs Competition

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the launch of the Small Communities, Big Challenges: Rural Environmental Health Needs Competition, which invites local governments to demonstrate innovative strategies for engaging with rural communities to collaboratively identify their environmental health needs. The competition will expand community engagement, stimulate new partnerships with local communities and increase understanding of rural environmental health needs to help protect human health and the environment.“

Rural communities across the country face unique environmental health issues,” said Chris Frey, Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “This competition will highlight innovative strategies for engaging and collaborating with these communities to identify and understand their environmental public health concerns and needs.”

Eligible participants for this competition include local government organizations, such as city and county health departments, local environmental agencies, and utility providers. Applicants are asked to collaborate with rural communities to identify where enhanced scientific understanding could help combat environmental health issues the community faces.

Ten submissions will receive a cash award of $25,000 for a grand total of $250,000. Additionally, five of these winners will receive a one-year membership to the National Environmental Health Association, which will provide them access to education, credentials, and an advocacy platform within the environmental health workforce.

The competition is a partnership between EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, and the National Environmental Health Association.

The Small Communities, Big Challenges: Rural Environmental Health Needs Competition is now open and will close on January 31, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Interested applicants will have the opportunity to attend the informational webinar held on November 29, 2023, to ask questions and connect with subject matter experts.