Dean of the University of Washington's College of the Environment, Dr. Lisa Graumlich, highlighted MARINA Lab's Eddie Allison for his inclusive approach to research and engagement with communities in her Dean's Letter published today.
In particular, Dean Graumlich highlighted Professor Allison's work that shed light on the pervasiveness of HIV/AIDS in Ugandan fishing communities and the subsequent reduced motivation of fisher folk to develop community-based management for stewardship of their natural resources. The fisher folk did not know if they would live long enough to see results achieved from investment in newly-initiated management efforts.
"Working with global health experts, Eddie has brought the issue of HIV/AIDS in fishing communities to the attention of those working on targeted prevention as well as to groups promoting fisheries development in the low-income countries where HIV/AIDS is prevalent," noted Dean Graumlich.
Professor Stanley Asah, of the School of Environment and Forestry Sciences, and Robin Reid, a professor from the University of Colorado, were also commended for their work of a similar nature. Work by Professor Asah and colleagues chronicled the use of Oregon's Deschute's National Forest and challenged the bias that homeless people are inherently problematic, leading to a drastically different understanding of stakeholder priorities. Professor Reid has highlighted the importance of trust and humility in the success and perception of boundary organizations.
Dean Graumlich asserts that "deep and thoughtful engagement can completely reorient our research" and that "inclusion spurs innovation and drives implementation." As a call to action in closing, she challenges, "How can we be leaders in the design of more socially just and ecologically sustainable approaches to environmental issues? It will require new thinking and new ways of conducting research. Knowing that innovation is the key to dealing with the complexities of our environmental problems, the only way to turn that key and unlock our collective problem-solving prowess is through inclusion."