How do we engage communities in our research?

Silent Spring has developed an innovative field of research and practice that considers how study participants are affected by their involvement in research and explores the many benefits of community engagement.

Our work is grounded in the ethical principles of autonomy, justice, and beneficence. For instance, our evidence-based strategies for sharing personal results with study participants support their “right to know” and increase their access to environmental health information. These same principles are reflected in our community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods, in which we engage communities in developing research questions and approaches that address and respect the concerns and desires of the community.

Related Projects


As a pioneer of “report-back,” Silent Spring Institute remains on the cutting edge of research on the ethical reporting of personal exposure results and the development of guidelines for best practices.

DERBI is an interactive web-based tool for creating personalized chemical exposure reports so that study participants can learn their results, what they mean, and what actions they can take to protect their health. 

Understanding the relationship between environmental exposures and human health is the first step to taking action.

Sharing people’s health, genetic, or environmental exposure data through large online databases can accelerate biomedical research and support policy-making. It also creates privacy risks.