HGBEnviroScreen: Enabling Community Action through Data Integration in the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria Region. Academic Article uri icon


  • The Houston-Galveston-Brazoria (HGB) region faces numerous environmental and public health challenges from both natural disasters and industrial activity, but the historically disadvantaged communities most often impacted by such risks have limited ability to access and utilize big data for advocacy efforts. We developed HGBEnviroScreen to identify and prioritize regions of heightened vulnerability, in part to assist communities in understanding risk factors and developing environmental justice action plans. While similar in objectives to existing environmental justice tools, HGBEnviroScreen is unique in its ability to integrate and visualize national and local data to address regional concerns. For the 1090 census tracts in the HGB region, we accrued data into five domains: (i) social vulnerability, (ii) baseline health, (iii) environmental exposures and risks, (iv) environmental sources, and (v) flooding. We then integrated and visualized these data using the Toxicological Prioritization Index (ToxPi). We found that the highest vulnerability census tracts have multifactorial risk factors, with common drivers being flooding, social vulnerability, and proximity to environmental sources. Thus, HGBEnviroScreen is not only helping identify communities of greatest overall vulnerability but is also providing insights into which domains would most benefit from improved planning, policy, and action in order to reduce future vulnerability.

published proceedings

  • Int J Environ Res Public Health

altmetric score

  • 12.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Bhandari, S., Lewis, P., Craft, E., Marvel, S. W., Reif, D. M., & Chiu, W. A.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Bhandari, Sharmila||Lewis, P Grace Tee||Craft, Elena||Marvel, Skylar W||Reif, David M||Chiu, Weihsueh A

publication date

  • February 2020