Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Environmental Health Sciences

First Advisor

Dwayne Porter


Public health and environmental sustainability are interlinked. Three pillars of sustainable development are society, environment, and economy are supported and reinforced by healthy populations. Balancing these values in a long-term vision and application requires active involvement of communities and stakeholders in decision-making process of management of environmental resources and personal health choices. Transdisciplinary sustainability science provides a framework for addressing complex issues in sustainability and generates actionable knowledge to link science and policy and involved stakeholders in the scientific process. Transdisciplinary research processes use co-design, co-production, and co-implementation framework to create and re-integrate useful knowledge into practice on a local level. Socio-environmental report cards use the transdisciplinary research framework to communicate complex scientific information about environmental quality and engage communities. However, these efforts have not been assessed systematically. This research assesses the implementation of Socio-environmental report card practice in facilitating community engagement on a case study of Murrells Inlet, SC. The study uses mixed methods research design to assess community engagement progressions through socio-environmental report card development practice (including both product and process) and formative evaluation based on the logic model. The research aims to contribute to the development of geographically and thematically transferable tools to aid science-based decision-making and taking action toward improving environmental conditions, enhance economic vitality, and protect public health. The research takes a mixed-methods approach in evaluating socio-environmental report card practice as community engagement and science communication tool on the case study of Murrells Inlet, SC. The report card process provides multiple opportunities for engagement and collective action for the participants. The product of the report card becomes a boundary object that communicates the meaning of environmental quality beyond the science sphere. Volunteer water quality data benefits by identify water quality measures and grades; in addition, input from the community for social and economic indicators that aligned with community vision is necessary. This dissertation research conducted a series of activities that build on each other and create a deeper understanding of socio-environmental report card product and process and how the practice can engage communities in achieving sustainable outcomes.


© 2024, Ekaterina Negodyaeva Altman