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2024 Community Engagement Impact Funds

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The Office of Community Engagement supports Stanford faculty and senior staff working with community collaborators on projects that align Stanford's mission of research and education with community needs in the areas of affordability, education, health and sustainability.

Initially called OCE Seed Funds, the program in 2024 has been renamed the Community Engagement Impact Program, signaling Stanford's commitment to make a difference through projects that are co-created with community nonprofit organizations or public entities, and rely on relationships built over time. 

The 2024 community engagement impact projects were chosen by a campus community selection committee and focus on improving healthy and resilient communities in the Bay Area.  Through a partnership with the Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health this year, OCE is also contributing to two global projects. 

The 2024 projects appear, alphabetically by project title, below:

A woman at a sink holds a home water-testing kit

Participants in the project will use home test kits on their tap water for two periods in the spring and summer. Image credit: Allisa Hastie

Advancing Water Systems Failure Identification: Using Humans as Sensors to Reduce Inequities at the Tap

Community Collaborators: Nuestra Casa, We the People of Detroit and the Luskin Center for Innovation at University of California, Los Angeles

Stanford Leadership: Khalid Osman, Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability; Stanford School of Engineering 

This project joins the Osman Lab at Stanford, UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation, and the non-profits, Nuestra Casa in East Palo Alto and We the People of Detroit in collaboration. The project examines how individuals perceive the quality of their tap water and make decisions about household water use. OCE impact funds will pay for water test kits, computer tablets and compensation for each household to record data for four weeks at a time, in winter and summer. The  study will use residents’ interactions with, and observations of, household tap water quality to identify trends in tap water over time and space in East Palo Alto and Detroit to assess residents’ trust in their water and perception of risk. The results of this investigation can help validate the role of humans as sensors for predicting infrastructure failure. Additionally, results will help residents advocate for equitable infrastructure reform at the utility, county, and state levels, and provide insights into tap trust that may inform future investments.

Being the Bridge to North Fair Oaks

Community Collaborators: Generations United, Redwood City 

Stanford Leadership: Janine Bruce and Lisa Chamberlain, School of Medicine

This project aims to create opportunities for more purposeful and organized engagement between Stanford Medicine and the North Fair Oaks community. Generations United, a non-profit that serves the North Fair Oaks community adjacent to Redwood City, and the Office of Child Health Equity in the Stanford Department of Pediatrics. OCE impact funds will facilitate activities that include: 1) “listening” groups to identify specific health equity issues and 2) community workshops to begin to address those issues. Through these initiatives the project  intends to create a bridge to health between the North Fair Oaks community and Stanford Medicine to promote greater health equity and community well-being.


Logo of project Being the Bridge to North Fair Oaks

Image credit: Courtesy of Stanford Medicine and Generations United

ALAS folklorico group performing

Ayudando Latinos a Soñar, known as ALAS, started in Half Moon Bay with after school cultural arts programs, such as Ballet Folklorico de Tonántzin and has grown to provide mental health and case management. 

Image credit: Courtesy of ALAS

Colibrí Service and Participatory Research Action Program 

Community Collaborator: Ayudando Latinos a Soñar (ALAS), Half Moon Bay

Stanford Leadership: Ryan Matlow and N. Ewen Wang, School of Medicine

The Colibrí Service and Participatory Action Research Program is a partnership between the Stanford Medicine Immigrant Child Health Program and Ayudando Latinos a Soñar (ALAS), a grassroots organization serving the immigrant farmworker community on the San Mateo County coast side. This project aims to build ALAS’ general capacity and institutional resources for coordinating projects and acting as a full partner in conducting participatory action research (PAR). Through the partnership, ALAS seeks to “tell the story of our community through research,” to use PAR methods to capture the impacts of ALAS’ culturally-centered service offerings, and to identify additional community needs and concerns that inform advocacy efforts. With OCE support, this project will provide resources for staff development and training to institutionalize community research roles, community and youth advisory boards, and focus groups that guide ALAS’ service and program development.

Day of Science at College of San Mateo April 2023

Day of Science at College of San Mateo in 2023 was organized by the Community College Outreach Program for community college students to learn about opportunities for research and careers in science. Image credit: Lisa Chung

Community College Outreach Program 

Community Collaborators: Cañada College, Redwood City;  College of San Mateo, San Mateo; Mission College, Santa Clara

Stanford Leadership: Anne Villeneuve, Sarah Stern, Megan Agajanian; School of Medicine

Community colleges enroll students from a diverse range of demographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, including low-income students and those who are the first generation in their families to attend college. The Community College Outreach Program (CCOP) works with local community college partners to provide hands-on, first-time research opportunities and scientific and career mentorship to these students, who remain underrepresented in STEM fields. OCE impact funds will help support CCOP’s annual Day of Science Symposium, which is hosted at the College of San Mateo and provides scientific presentations by Stanford scientists and career panels, all of which feature the voices of past CCOP student interns and community college graduates. The intent is to help students visualize themselves in CCOP research opportunities at Stanford, and break barriers between Stanford and surrounding communities.

Educating and Engaging Our Community in STEM 

Community Collaborators: Peninsula Family Service, San Mateo

Stanford Leadership: Philip Fisher, and Kathryn Beauchamp, Center on Early Childhood, Graduate School of Education

The Stanford Center on Early Childhood (SCEC) will partner with Peninsula Family Service (PFS) to develop, expand, and plan an additional parent engagement component of PFS’ existing STEM from the Start program. STEM from the Start provides specialized training to teachers in STEM-based instruction to facilitate STEM learning experiences in their early education classrooms. The goal of the proposed work is to collaboratively explore how best to directly support and engage parents in the STEM from the Start program through the classroom and at home. OCE impact funds will support that inquiry, from the convening of focus groups and workshops to providing translation services and personnel needed for all phases of the learning evaluation work. With a new parent engagement component of STEM from the Start, PFS seeks to establish strong, goal-oriented strategies to directly engage families and build effective partnerships grounded in advocacy to help families and children thrive.

Three pre-school age children huddle over a piece of paper for a STEM task

Pre-schoolers work on an exercise in STEM from the Start program, October 2023. Image credit: Ana Duenas 

Two facilitators in masks stand before a group of parents during 2021 community engagement session at a San Francisco YMCA in a past year

A facilitator and interpreter host a community engagement session during San Francisco Unified School District's student assignment policy development in 2021. Image credit: Courtesy of SFUSD

Engaging SFUSD Stakeholders in Increasing Equitable Access to Schools

Community Collaborator: San Francisco Unified School District 

Stanford Leadership: Irene Lo and Itai Ashlagi, School of Engineering; Francis Pearman, Graduate School of Education

Despite the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Brown vs. Board of Education, finding school segregation unconstitutional, public school systems throughout the United States, including the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), continue to experience segregation by race and income. The Stanford Impact Lab on Equitable Access to Education has built a strong collaborative partnership with SFUSD, through which the school district staff, jointly with the Stanford team, developed a new policy for student assignment to improve diversity, predictability, and proximity of school assignment. The parties are working toward implementing the elementary student assignment policy for the 2026-27 school year, also known as Board Policy 5101.2, which the school board approved in 2020. OCE impact funds will directly support upcoming community engagement on the zone policy, including creating community engagement materials and tools, compensating participant families, providing food and transportation at engagement events, and funding research assistants and facilitators.

Equity Forward Anchor Network 

Community Collaborators: Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Mountain View 

Stanford Leadership: Jeremy Weinstein, Stanford Impact Labs; School of Humanities and Sciences

The Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF) launched Equity Forward as a multi-sector movement to close the racial wealth gap in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Stanford Impact Labs (SIL) is partnering with SVCF to bring to life the Equity Forward Anchor Network — a new collaborative of 12 public and private colleges and universities in the region, building relationships to shift institutional practices to expand equitable economic development in the region. OCE impact funds support Stanford’s role in convening and activating this higher education collaborative. The group is activating anchor institution strategies using a racial equity lens as its foundational framework. The vision is for Black, Indigenous, and other people of color to thrive in our region by default, and for place-based organizations such as higher education institutions to be at the forefront of making that a reality.

A woman leads a discussion in front of several participants sitting in a U-shaped conference table conference table configuration

Stanford has held two convenings of the Equity Forward Anchor Network, comprised of 12 institutions of higher education. Participants are working on shifting institutional practices to expand equitable economic development in the region. Image credit: Hanna Yimer

Expansion and Evaluation of Recovery Incentives Program at LifeMoves Shelters

Community Collaborators: LifeMoves, Santa Clara County and San Mateo County

Stanford Leadership: David Chang, School of Medicine

This project, in collaboration with LifeMoves, the largest shelter network in Silicon Valley, aims to address the significant challenges related to access and retention in Substance Use Disorder (SUD) care among unhoused populations. The project leverages Stanford's expertise in clinical care, epidemiological research, and data-driven program design. It is further complemented by LifeMoves' extensive experience in client care and case management. The initiative is designed to improve SUD care and treatment through a novel contingency management program, building upon the pilot of this program launched in early 2023, which has successfully retained dozens of unhoused individuals in SUD services. OCE impact funds will support client participation in focus groups, stipends for a “Lived Experience Advisory Council,” drug tests, graduate student stipends to analyze data, and program oversight costs associated with managing logistics across multiple shelters in two counties. Ultimately, the project aims to develop evidence for a scalable model that reduces the prevalence of untreated SUDs among unstably housed adults.

A case manager speaking to a client in an office at LifeMoves

LifeMoves case manager with client. Image credit: Courtesy of LifeMoves

Youth researchers work toward a pilot program to help students in their transition to high school.

Under the direction of staff from the Gardner Center for Youth and their Communities in 2023, Vianca Lopez and other student researchers from Sequoia Union High School District summarized key findings from their study of student mental health. 

Image credit: Courtesy of the Gardner Center 

Fostering Belonging Across the Middle-to-High-School Transition

Community Collaborators: Ravenswood City School District, East Palo Alto; Redwood City School District, Redwood City and Sequoia Union High School District, Redwood City

Stanford Leadership: Kristin Geiser; Sebastian Castrechini, John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities, Graduate School of Education

Many youth struggle to feel a sense of belonging when they transition from one level of schooling to another, particularly when moving from smaller, more homogenous middle schools to larger, diverse high schools. Years of collaboration between the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities, Sequoia Union High School District, and the Redwood City and Ravenswood City school districts have identified this challenge and the lack of systemic supports to help marginalized youth in this regard. Gardner Center researchers will convene staff from all three districts to 1) develop a shared agenda for fostering a sense of belonging in the transition into high school; 2) pilot approaches to advance this goal; and 3) evaluate the success of those efforts. OCE impact funds will support these convenings and also provide materials, services and stipends for youth researchers from the schools, as they collect and analyze data about what belonging looks like in their environments and how the interventions devised in the pilot are perceived by their peers.

Healing and TRANSFORMing Racial Stress and Trauma in Schools

Community Collaborator: East Palo Alto Academy, East Palo Alto

Stanford Leadership: Farzana Saleem, Graduate School of Education 

TRANSFORM, which stands for Trauma and Racism Addressed by Navigating Systemic Forms of Oppression with Resilience Methods, is a group-based intervention designed to heal and address racial stress and trauma. The current phase of the pilot project will involve about 30 students in a small-scale efficacy study to pave the way for a larger randomized control trial with partner schools at a later time. TRANSFORM is designed to improve outcomes for historically underserved students of color to 1) Increase cultural pride and appreciation of other groups, 2) Reduce stress and trauma-related symptoms, 3) improve self-efficacy/skill to manage racial stress and trauma and 4) Increase ability to recognize and analyze systems of racial inequality. OCE impact funds will be used to supply TRANSFORM student groups with materials, provide participant compensation and/or tokens of appreciation, support the research team's implementation and evaluation of the study, and services related to data analysis and visualization after data collection.

Closeup of pens and notebooks of a student study group around a table
Research assistants will conduct career path awareness sessions with high school students

Jill Helms with Stanford research assistants, who will relate their experiences as first-generation students in the medical field to 9th and 10th grade students from the Mountain View Los Altos High School District. 

Image credit: Courtesy of MVLA

Healthcare Career and Patient Care Awareness Paths for High School Students

Community Collaborators: Mountain View Los Altos High School District, Mountain View

Stanford Leadership: Jill Helms, School of Medicine

Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District (MVLA) and Stanford School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery have joined to create a healthcare pathway program to introduce high school students, including those who are historically under-represented in medicine, the first in their generation to go to college, or socially disadvantaged in those fields. A key feature is hands-on, real-life experiential learning that will particularly benefit MVLA’s Career and Technical Education Patient Care Pathway and AVID students; at the same time it provides  opportunities to Stanford’s student mentors and coaches. Through story-telling and personal, lived experiences, healthcare providers at all stages of training will share the essential skills, competencies, and personal qualities needed to excel in the roles, as well as describe the work environment and opportunities for advancement with their young mentees. OCE impact funds will support field trips, interactive workshops, poster presentations, and some summer internships. All program elements are collectively aimed at deepening exploration into all fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine and related ancillary professions. It is hoped that this program will be a model for others to increase representation across all healthcare professions.


Local Solutions for Inclusive Clean Energy Programs

Community Collaborator: Acterra, Palo Alto

Stanford Leadership: Mark Z. Jacobson, School of Engineering; Holmes Hummel, Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability

To accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and home energy upgrades, Acterra, in partnership with Stanford’s  Haas Center for Public Service and the Precourt Institute for Energy, will involve students and community collaborators in financial incentive clinics for the public. They plan to reach out in multiple languages for a series of programs that focus on reaching income-qualifying renters and households. This includes expanding participation in programs offered by local community choice aggregators such as Silicon Valley Clean Energy, Peninsula Clean Energy and the City of Palo Utilities. Additionally, they plan convenings and workshops through Partnership for Climate Justice in the Bay, which connects Stanford faculty, staff and students with community partners to build equitable climate solutions. OCE impact funds will support joint community engagement events with Acterra, sponsor student participation in Acterra convenings, and provide honoraria for guest speakers in courses on campus or in the field.

Attendees in a parking lot at Stanford examine the open hoods of several electric cars on display

The Explore Energy House hosted Acterra members in fall 2023 for an Electric Vehicle Rally, a hands-on learning opportunity for the campus community similar to the education and engagement events Acterra offers around the South Bay Area.  Image credit: Courtesy of Explore Energy

Black farmers in the Central Valley with Stanford R&DE leadership

Stanford R&DE leadership meet at the Blue Ridge Ranch in Guinda with its nonprofit partner, distributor, and farmers who supply Stanford (left to right): Steve Gaskin (Blue Ridge Ranch), Eric Montell (R&DE), Diane Mavica (R&DE), Shirley Everett (R&DE), Elaine Smith (Farms to Grow, Inc), Chris Kouretas (Daylight Foods, Inc.), Will Scott Jr. (Scott Agriculture LLC.), Paul Gaskin (Blue Ridge Ranch). 

Image credit: Keith Uyeda

R&DE Stanford Food Institute Black Farmers Initiative: Capacity Building and Scaling Impact

Community Collaborators: Farms to Grow, Inc

Stanford Leadership: Shirley J. Everett, Stanford Residential & Dining Enterprises, Sophie Egan, R&DE Stanford Food Institute, and Diane Mavica, Stanford Residential & Dining Enterprises

Systemic racism in U.S. land, lending, and market policies have caused a devastating loss to Black farmers. In 1920, about 1 in 7 U.S. farmers was Black; today, that number is 1 in 100. The Residential & Dining Enterprises (R&DE) Equitable Harvest program and Black Farmers Initiative — a long-term partnership between Oakland-based nonprofit Farms to Grow, Inc and the R&DE Stanford Food Institute — aims to provide equitable market access for Black farmers. In 2023, Stanford and Farms to Grow, Inc collaborated to create two toolkits: one guiding food-purchasing institutions in purchasing from Black farmers, and the second helping Black farmers enter wholesale food-purchasing markets. In 2024, the project will facilitate new partnerships between Black farmers and higher education institutions in the Equity Forward Anchor Network and greater Northern California. OCE impact funds will pay for a part-time contractor who will support farmers with capacity building and document the purchasing impact and scaling potential of the program. OCE funds will also pay for honoraria and travel for three Black farmers to come to campus for educational events and new supplier networking. R&DE will continue to diversify its farm suppliers and lead efforts to scale into neighboring colleges and universities, to remove barriers and help farmers reverse the trend of Black land loss, expand their farming enterprises, and grow their intergenerational wealth.

Ravenswood - Stanford Live Arts Learning Partnership

Community Collaborator: Ravenswood City School District, East Palo Alto

Stanford Leadership: Deborah Cullinan, Office of the Vice President of the Arts and Stanford Live 

As Stanford Live continues its long-standing partnership with the Ravenswood City School District, the programs include the work of resident teaching artists from Quinteto Latino, who work with music teachers in all district schools. An infusion of a new cadre of teaching artists through Quinteto Latino’s new Fellowship program will assist in the individualized support for, and collaboration with, each teacher, plus coaching and support for students, and collaboration and side-by-side performances with students on creative music projects. Students from each Ravenswood school attend performances in Stanford Live’s student matinees on campus, to experience the work of diverse artists from around the world. District teachers participate in Stanford Live’s professional development workshops, which share approaches for integrating arts-based learning into classrooms. New elements this year will include first-time collaborations between Quinteto Latino and the middle school jazz band and mariachi ensemble, performing newly commissioned works together. The OCE impact funding will pay for the work of the teaching artists and provide ticket and bus transportation for students from Ravenswood schools to attend Stanford Live performances.

A group of four musicians lead children in raising their arms to clap along with the music being played by a flute, oboe and bassoon

Musicians of Quinteto Latino are a key part of the music instruction in the arts learning partnership between Ravenswood City School District and Stanford Live. Image credit: Lisa Chung

Samaritan House logo for 50th anniversary

Samaritan House opened its doors as a nonprofit 50 years ago, in 1974, to bring services to people inneed in San Mateo County.  Image courtesy of Samaritan House

Samaritan House Free Clinics: Charting Change with Patient Voice

Community Collaborator: Samaritan House Free Clinics of San Mateo and Redwood City, San Mateo County 

Stanford Leadership: Jonathan Shaw, School of Medicine and Baldeep Singh, School of Medicine and Samaritan House

With Samaritan House Free Clinics of Redwood City and San Mateo, the Department of Medicine, Community Partnership Program (DoM CCP) are joining to forge a healthcare model that centers patient voice, fosters inclusivity, and promotes equitable access to quality care for all. Samaritan House Free Clinics are a vital service provider, bridging the healthcare gap for San Mateo County’s medically underserved and uninsured residents, particularly those from diverse racial and ethnic minority backgrounds. With the stark health disparities highlighted by the pandemic, especially among these historically marginalized communities, this initiative seeks to amplify their voices. By expanding Samaritan House’s patient advisory council, this project will incorporate patient voice within its clinical operations. OCE funding will support patient feedback survey development and dissemination; Theory of Change implementation of roadmap; and expansion of the patient council by providing stipends and meeting cost support. The goal is a more equitable, responsive, and patient-centric healthcare ecosystem, where patient voices are not only heard but integral to the very essence of clinical operations.

STEP-Peninsula Bridge Summer Teacher Fellowship

Community Collaborator: Peninsula Bridge, San Mateo 

Stanford Leadership: Ira Lit, STEP, Graduate School of Education

The Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) and Peninsula Bridge share a commitment to assisting under-resourced K-12 students in achieving college and career success through transformational educational opportunities. STEP and Peninsula Bridge will collaborate in supporting Peninsula Bridge’s summer school programs in San Mateo County. STEP will recruit and support teachers from its most recent graduating classes to serve as educators in the Summer Bridge program. OCE impact funds will partially support six summer STEP teaching fellows, matched by Peninsula Bridge funds, an instructional coach for the fellows, and administrative support. STEP-prepared teachers will bring additional strength and diversity to the teaching corps for Peninsula Bridge, and help build a pipeline of educators to support their programs. In turn, the Peninsula Bridge summer program experience will provide hands-on practical teaching experience, expert mentoring, financial support and opportunity for young STEP alums within the successful, holistic Peninsula Bridge program model.


A teacher and a young male student during Summer Explorations at Sunnyvale School District

STEP teacher candidate with a student at the Sunnyvale-STEP Summer Explorations program. 

Image credit: Joe Mazza Photography

Half Moon Bay students worked on a Safe Routes to School project in 2023

Students from Half Moon Bay High School’s AP Environmental Science class worked with San Mateo County Office of Education-Safe Routes to School and Stanford on an Our Voice project to co-create solutions to address traffic safety.  

Image credit: Zakaria Douieri

Students as Agents of Change: An Experiential Curriculum for Building Community Health

Community Collaborators: San Mateo County Office of Education, Redwood City

Stanford Leadership: Abby C. King and Ann Banchoff, School of Medicine

Collaborating with the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE), the Our Voice Initiative aims to deliver an innovative curriculum integrating an evidence-based citizen science method into elementary, middle, and high schools across four San Mateo County schools, with a focus on socio-economically disadvantaged student populations. Co-created with SMCOE’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS), the curriculum focuses on SRTS programming, allowing students to drive changes that promote active transportation (such as walking and biking) within and around their schools and communities. OCE impact funds will support curriculum development, Stanford student training, tablets for classroom use and the engagement of both Stanford and public school students as community leaders. The project aims to document, share, and assess its impacts, ultimately creating a replicable model for promoting a healthier and more equitable Bay Area, which in turn can drive health-enhancing changes in other regions. This partnership underscores the need for positive, data-driven changes that foster health equity and community well-being.

Survey Completion Community Socials

Community Collaborator: Qmunity, Santa Clara; Office of LGBTQ Affairs, County of Santa Clara, San Jose 

Stanford Leadership: Mitchell R. Lunn, Juno Obedin-Maliver, PRIDEnet; School of Medicine

This project aims to make the process of completing a health research survey, which can be isolating for many, into an experience that is more community-connected and supportive. PRIDEnet, based out of Stanford Medicine, the Santa Clara County Office of LGBTQ Affairs, and the nonprofit Qmunity will collaborate to co-design, implement, and evaluate in-person events —Socials— in three different locations in Santa Clara County. OCE impact funds will support Socials that include: 1) Community-building activities, such as interactive games, facilitated conversations, and entertainment for LGBTQIA+ attendees; 2) Dedicated time for attendees to individually complete The PRIDE Study Annual Questionnaire, and/or the upcoming 2024 Status of LGBTQ Health in Santa Clara County Survey; and 3) Connection to resources such as mental health supports on site, computers and secure WiFi. The project partners will provide capacity-building training for local LGBTQIA+ community leaders who will serve as “Community Connectors” for the Socials in which they will help to bring people from their community to the event and support aspects of co-facilitation.

The Pride Study conducted outreach at the Health Matters fair im May 2023

Outreach for The Pride Study was conducted at fairs and events in 2023. In 2024 the effort will expand to Community Socials that are structured to encourage participants to fill out surveys on site, and boost completion rates. 

Image credit: Lisa Chung


A man supervises a prescribed burn

Prescribed burns are seen as an important risk mitigator against wildfire, but air quality impacts are not well understood. 

Image credit: Kristy Peterson, Hamey Woods Forestry

Understanding the Air Quality Impacts of Prescribed Fires to Advance Wildfire Risk Management

Community Collaborators: Swanton Pacific Ranch of California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo 

Stanford Leadership: Chris Field, Stanford Doerr School for Sustainability; Deborah Sivas, Stanford Law School; Michael Wara, Michael Mastrandrea, and Jessica Yu, Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability

Today’s lack of standardized methods for assessing smoke impacts from prescribed burns hinders broad application and study comparisons. Collaborating with Swanton Pacific Ranch and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Stanford researchers from the Woods Institute for the Environment and the Environmental & Natural Resources Law and Policy Program are seeking low-cost ways for land managers to measure air pollutants and smoke exposure. In the winter and spring quarters of 2024, they will create and test a protocol for air quality data collection during prescribed fires, aiming to inform and improve safety practices for fire management and community health, especially in underserved areas. By implementing a new air quality data collection protocol and exploring equitable policy solutions, the project’s goal is to improve fire management practices and foster community resilience against smoke impacts.