For decades, Naples, Italy, was plagued with inadequate trash collection, uncontrolled open burning of uncollected trash, and illicit dumping of waste, including chemical and other hazardous materials. In response to concerns expressed by the U.S. military and civilian personnel assigned to Naples, the U.S. Navy launched a public health evaluation. Under the guidance of the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center located in Portsmouth, Virginia, the program included the collection of air, water, soil and soil gas samples throughout the region to identify whether there are potential health risks. The program also included three epidemiological studies and a food study. An important aspect of the public health evaluation was to communicate health risks, the Navy’s actions and recommended precautionary health preservation measures to stakeholders. This group included U.S. military and civilian personnel and their families living in Naples, U.S. Navy chain of command, U.S. Consulate, local Italian and American media, and local and regional Italian health and environmental government agencies and elected officials.
K&A included a risk communications specialist on the team to guide the overall strategy for environmental health communication efforts, such as drafting communications plans and informational materials and reviewing materials developed by the Public Affairs office.