This guest post was written by John Balbus, MD, MPH. He is NIEHS’ Senior Advisor for Public Health, and Director of the NIEHS-World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health Sciences. Dr. Balbus leads NIEHS’ efforts on climate change and human health, and serves as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) principal to the U.S. Global Change Research Program (GCRP). He co-chairs the Interagency Cross-Cutting Group on Climate Change and Human Health.
With 2020 on track to be the hottest year in human history, it is clear that the challenges of a changing climate are still with us. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) remains committed to helping scholars, students and the general public build knowledge of how climate change affects human health. I am excited to announce that as part of that commitment, on July 1, NIEHS will host its 4th Annual Global Environmental Health (GEH) Day, and launch an updated and expanded Climate Change and Human Health Literature Portal. The theme for GEH Day, “Science at the Cutting Edge of Global Environmental Change and Health,” reflects our desire to foster collaborations across the global health community on these important topics. The day will feature keynote sessions with Drs. Howard Frumkin and Kris Ebi of the University of Washington, and two panels of noted researchers on a variety of climate and health related topics. I hope everyone can join us online!
The Portal, which was originally created as a result of NIEHS’ efforts to support the 3rd U.S. Global Change Research Program’s National Climate Assessment (NCA), reflects NIEHS’ desire to make the evidence base that underlies the NCA more accessible to a global audience. The Portal offers a single access point to a broad body of global scientific literature on the impacts of climate change on human health.
The Portal is a useful resource for people interested in the intersection of climate change and human health to easily access global literature from the biomedical, atmospheric, ecological, and geophysical sciences, all in one location. Whether you are a student in search of information on how climate change influences health, or a government official trying to learn more about the health threats from climate change in your region, you will find the Portal to be an invaluable resource.
The Portal can be used to identify research on the health impacts of a variety of topics ranging from more frequent extreme weather events to climate-induced changes in the distribution of infectious disease vectors. Relevant resources are drawn from databases including PubMed, Web of Science, and Google Scholar, and tagged with keywords such as adaptation, pollution, climate justice, economic costs, agricultural impacts, health implications, and many others. This detailed curation helps users focus in on the high-quality scientific research they need to inform their understanding of these critical issues.
We are continually adding new literature to the Portal. More than 10,000 peer-reviewed research resources are currently included in the database, and new literature is being added on an ongoing basis. The Portal’s extensive search functions and tools and easy-to-use design mean that people can readily tailor their results to find answers to specific questions, guide decisions, and recommend programming on public health and climate change.
I invite you to explore the Portal to discover the ways in which it can help your work as a public health professional. We’re always interested in suggestions on how we can improve its functionality, so please share your thoughts and feedback with our team here.