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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(4), 3600-3614; doi:10.3390/ijerph120403600

Integrating Environmental and Human Health Databases in the Great Lakes Basin: Themes, Challenges and Future Directions

1
Toronto Public Health, Toronto, ON M5B 1W2, Canada
2
Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5T 3M7, Canada
3
Department of Family Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8P 0A1, Canada
4
Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA
5
School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 26 February 2015 / Revised: 23 March 2015 / Accepted: 23 March 2015 / Published: 31 March 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [688 KB, uploaded 31 March 2015]   |  

Abstract

Many government, academic and research institutions collect environmental data that are relevant to understanding the relationship between environmental exposures and human health. Integrating these data with health outcome data presents new challenges that are important to consider to improve our effective use of environmental health information. Our objective was to identify the common themes related to the integration of environmental and health data, and suggest ways to address the challenges and make progress toward more effective use of data already collected, to further our understanding of environmental health associations in the Great Lakes region. Environmental and human health databases were identified and reviewed using literature searches and a series of one-on-one and group expert consultations. Databases identified were predominantly environmental stressors databases, with fewer found for health outcomes and human exposure. Nine themes or factors that impact integration were identified: data availability, accessibility, harmonization, stakeholder collaboration, policy and strategic alignment, resource adequacy, environmental health indicators, and data exchange networks. The use and cost effectiveness of data currently collected could be improved by strategic changes to data collection and access systems to provide better opportunities to identify and study environmental exposures that may impact human health. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental hazards; health outcomes; surveillance; database integration environmental hazards; health outcomes; surveillance; database integration
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

Bassil, K.L.; Sanborn, M.; Lopez, R.; Orris, P. Integrating Environmental and Human Health Databases in the Great Lakes Basin: Themes, Challenges and Future Directions. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 3600-3614.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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