Workshop Objectives and Charge to Participants

The members of the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine hail from academia, industry, and government. Their perspectives range widely and represent the diverse viewpoints of researchers, federal officials, and consumers. They meet, discuss environmental health issues that are of mutual interest (though sometimes very sensitive), and bring others together to discuss these issues as well. For example, they regularly convene workshops to help facilitate discussion on a particular topic. The Roundtable’s fourth workshop continued the theme established by previous Roundtable workshops, looking at rebuilding the unity of health and the environment. The workshop comes at a pivotal time in environmental health when federal agencies, state agencies, private organizations, and other interested parties are discussing the emerging needs of environmental health. The workshop explored current monitoring efforts by industry; private organizations; international organizations; and U.S. federal, state, and local governments. The summary of this meeting has been prepared by the workshop rapporteur to convey the essentials of that day’s events. It should not be construed as a statement of the Roundtable—which can illuminate issues but cannot actually resolve them—or as a study of the Institute of Medicine.

In this workshop, participants asked questions about how to build a national tracking system that can bridge the gap between health and the environment. The workshop was not intended to be a forum for detailing which indicators should be included in a national monitoring system because many organizations are already engaged in this work. Rather, the overall tasks of identifying, developing, and using indicators to monitor environmental health were considered.



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OCR for page 7
Environmental Health Indicators: Bridging the Chasm of Public Health and the Environment, Workshop Summary Workshop Objectives and Charge to Participants The members of the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine hail from academia, industry, and government. Their perspectives range widely and represent the diverse viewpoints of researchers, federal officials, and consumers. They meet, discuss environmental health issues that are of mutual interest (though sometimes very sensitive), and bring others together to discuss these issues as well. For example, they regularly convene workshops to help facilitate discussion on a particular topic. The Roundtable’s fourth workshop continued the theme established by previous Roundtable workshops, looking at rebuilding the unity of health and the environment. The workshop comes at a pivotal time in environmental health when federal agencies, state agencies, private organizations, and other interested parties are discussing the emerging needs of environmental health. The workshop explored current monitoring efforts by industry; private organizations; international organizations; and U.S. federal, state, and local governments. The summary of this meeting has been prepared by the workshop rapporteur to convey the essentials of that day’s events. It should not be construed as a statement of the Roundtable—which can illuminate issues but cannot actually resolve them—or as a study of the Institute of Medicine. In this workshop, participants asked questions about how to build a national tracking system that can bridge the gap between health and the environment. The workshop was not intended to be a forum for detailing which indicators should be included in a national monitoring system because many organizations are already engaged in this work. Rather, the overall tasks of identifying, developing, and using indicators to monitor environmental health were considered.

OCR for page 7
Environmental Health Indicators: Bridging the Chasm of Public Health and the Environment, Workshop Summary The charge for speakers and participants was to take a critical look at a variety of potential indicators of environmental health status, examine the proposed calls for a national environmental health monitoring system that would expand current human exposure monitoring and health surveillance efforts, foster a dialogue on the benefits and limitations of a national environmental health monitoring system, and discuss the steps needed to create this system.