health research to produce major societal benefits has led the committee to conclude that multiagency funding for collaborative research will achieve greater disease prevention than will traditional single-agency funding. The committee recommends that—in order to achieve the innovative research at the intersection of public health and earth science required for societal benefit and protection—the intellectual and fiscal resources presently existing within a number of agencies should be reallocated to a shared interagency pool to support an interdisciplinary public health and earth science initiative. The ultimate goal is to enhance interdisciplinary collaboration, both across federal agencies and across academic and other research institutions, so that society can benefit from the nation’s considerable expertise in earth science and public health.
The interface between the earth sciences and public health is pervasive and enormously complex. Collaborative research at this interface is in its infancy, with great potential to ameliorate the adverse health effects and enhance the beneficial health effects from earth materials and earth processes. The earth science and public health research communities share a responsibility and an obligation to work together to realize the considerable potential for both short-term and long-term positive health impacts.