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Your Environment. Your Health.

Theme Two: Promoting Translation – Data to Knowledge to Action

doctor examining young girl and data scientist

The NIEHS mission directive on information dissemination recognizes that the value of Advancing Environmental Health Sciences (EHS) knowledge can only be fully realized through its use by the public, health providers, regulators, and policymakers, to help inform their decisions. NIEHS restates dissemination in the phrase Data to Knowledge to Action, which reflects the translational cascade from research results into a collective body of knowledge that ultimately informs and supports public health action. This theme reiterates our commitment to ensuring that NIEHS research is directed toward improving people’s health.

Goals for Promoting Translation – Data to Knowledge to Action

  1. Creating Knowledge From Data: Integrating and synthesizing data and research findings in a way that will ultimately make a meaningful impact on public health is critical. One way of creating knowledge from data is the use of systematic review techniques to develop evidence-based assessments in a transparent manner. NIEHS is committed to integrating high-quality research findings into collective knowledge to inform solutions to EHS problems. The capacities outlined in the Data Science and Big Data goal are highly relevant to this one.
  2. Outreach, Communications, and Engagement: The strong lines of communication and relationships that NIEHS maintains with its stakeholder communities are an essential asset. Maintaining and expanding our outreach and engagement with these communities is critically important to ensuring the institute’s awareness and understanding of stakeholder priorities, concerns, and needs related to EHS, and to ensuring that community members and researchers work together on science that is important to both. These efforts also enhance our ability to share new findings with affected groups, as well as to gain their unique knowledge and perspectives through collaborations that benefit both EHS and them. NIEHS efforts in communication of environmental health information and promotion of EHS literacy are continuing priorities.
  3. Evidence-Based Prevention and Intervention: NIEHS research findings that identify and demonstrate the causes of environmentally related diseases and outcomes provide a critical part of the basis for actions to avoid, reduce, or eliminate impacts. Efforts will continue in promoting research findings to networks of scientists, community advocates, educators, healthcare providers, and public health officials, who can translate evidence into credible and understandable information and actions that individuals and communities can use to decrease their risk, prevent harm, and improve their health. This effort will be supported by research to develop, test, and validate evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies, to reduce or avoid exposures and their resulting health impacts.
  4. Environmental Health Disparities and Environmental Justice: EHS has long been at the forefront of efforts that recognize and seek to address the disparate health impacts of environmental hazards on disadvantaged and diverse communities. NIEHS remains committed to uncovering the exposure burdens that combine with other social determinants of health, such as age, gender, education, race, and income, to create health disparities, as well as working to ensure environmental justice. These efforts will be supported by all three NIEHS themes.
  5. Emerging Environmental Health Issues: We live in an increasingly complex environment in which new exposures and related health threats continuously arise, both locally and globally. Some, such as industrial accidents and weather-related disasters, pose acute public health emergencies that require the capacity for immediate action to understand and respond to them. Others, such as long-term climate impacts on health and pandemic diseases, create a need for both immediate response and ongoing study, to help prepare for future threats. NIEHS is strongly committed to addressing emerging environmental health issues through our research and translation goals, as well as by continuing to work with our public health partners to improve response, recovery, remediation, and resilience to EHS threats.
  6. Partnerships for Action: Promoting the Translation of Data to Knowledge to Action is critically dependent on building and sustaining effective relationships between NIEHS and a wide variety of partner organizations, including federal, state, and tribal public health and environmental agencies; patient groups and advocates for environmentally related disease research; community advocates and leaders from affected communities; and EHS research scientists around the world. Such partnerships allow NIEHS to integrate a wide range of complementary missions, capabilities, expertise, and perspectives needed to implement actions that will improve environmental health.
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