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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(12), 12866-12895; doi:10.3390/ijerph111212866

The Public Health Exposome: A Population-Based, Exposure Science Approach to Health Disparities Research

1
Research Center on Health Disparities, Equity, and the Exposome, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, 66 N. Pauline, Memphis, TN 38105, USA
2
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, College of Public Health, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
3
Vertices, Inc., 317 George Street 411, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA
4
Department of Family & Community Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN 37208, USA
5
Department of Sociology, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN 37209, USA
6
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
7
National Space Science and Technology Center, Universities Space Research Association, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL 35805, USA
8
National Space Science and Technology Center, University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL 35805, USA
9
Department of Ophthalmology, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, CA 90059, USA
10
Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MA 20742, USA
11
Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, 1440 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 August 2014 / Revised: 12 November 2014 / Accepted: 27 November 2014 / Published: 11 December 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eliminating Health Disparities to Achieve Health Equity)
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Abstract

The lack of progress in reducing health disparities suggests that new approaches are needed if we are to achieve meaningful, equitable, and lasting reductions. Current scientific paradigms do not adequately capture the complexity of the relationships between environment, personal health and population level disparities. The public health exposome is presented as a universal exposure tracking framework for integrating complex relationships between exogenous and endogenous exposures across the lifespan from conception to death. It uses a social-ecological framework that builds on the exposome paradigm for conceptualizing how exogenous exposures “get under the skin”. The public health exposome approach has led our team to develop a taxonomy and bioinformatics infrastructure to integrate health outcomes data with thousands of sources of exogenous exposure, organized in four broad domains: natural, built, social, and policy environments. With the input of a transdisciplinary team, we have borrowed and applied the methods, tools and terms from various disciplines to measure the effects of environmental exposures on personal and population health outcomes and disparities, many of which may not manifest until many years later. As is customary with a paradigm shift, this approach has far reaching implications for research methods and design, analytics, community engagement strategies, and research training. View Full-Text
Keywords: exposome; public health; health disparities; trans-disciplinary; exposure science; social-ecological; combinatorial analysis; CBPR; geographical information systems; PPGIS exposome; public health; health disparities; trans-disciplinary; exposure science; social-ecological; combinatorial analysis; CBPR; geographical information systems; PPGIS
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Juarez, P.D.; Matthews-Juarez, P.; Hood, D.B.; Im, W.; Levine, R.S.; Kilbourne, B.J.; Langston, M.A.; Al-Hamdan, M.Z.; Crosson, W.L.; Estes, M.G.; Estes, S.M.; Agboto, V.K.; Robinson, P.; Wilson, S.; Lichtveld, M.Y. The Public Health Exposome: A Population-Based, Exposure Science Approach to Health Disparities Research. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 12866-12895.

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