30 September 2011

Environmental Medicine

“This is an important textbook in a field that has only recently become defined and which has been poorly served by books in the past. It is pitched very carefully to be useful to professionals practicing public health, occupational health, and those aspects of microbiology and toxicology applied to health protection giving a comprehensive view without the inclusion of large amounts of technical detail. It’s built around the practice and theory of environmental medicine and health protection. This is a ‘must have’ book for anyone working in health protection and the supporting medical and scientific fields. It’s comprehensive without being over technical and is bang up to date”.

BMA Medical Book Awards 2011: Highly Commended

Check out a preview by clicking here. 

It is currently cheaper at The Hut and Zavvi £84.04 compared to £128.25 on Amazon. So it's worth hunting round to get the best price.

Disclosure: A colleague, Fintan Hurley, and I have written an introductory chapter on HIA for this book. Apart from a free copy of the book we have not had nor will we get any other remuneration.

Read the (introduction to) HIA chapter by clicking here.
What's different about this introduction? It provides an outline of  (quantitative) environmental health impact assessment and how it fits within, and relates to, HIA as we talk about it on this blog.

25 September 2011

Evaluating Paid Sick Leave: Social, Economic and Health Implications for Seattle, USA

The report, produced by the Economic Opportunity Institute, takes a look at the numbers behind the discussion about paid sick days. A few highlights:

Paid sick leave would help reduce the incidence of foodborne illness. An estimated 190,000 people working in Seattle do not have any paid sick leave, including nearly 30,000 people in accommodation and food service; 20,000 retail and grocery workers; and close to 20,000 working in health services.

Paid sick leave would help strengthen the health and school performance of children in Seattle schools. Studies show children recover more quickly from illness with a parent present – but for 74.4% of school-age children (and 64.2% of preschoolers) in Seattle, all parents in the family are in the work force. Children in families with low incomes are much less likely to have a parent with access to paid sick days.

Paid sick leave would help support victims of domestic violence and/or sexual assault. Economic independence one of the best predictors of whether a victim will separate from her abuser. But nearly half of sexual assault survivors surveyed by the Department of Justice in 2009 lost their jobs or were forced to quit in the aftermath of an assault. Among stalking victims who had a job, one in eight lost time from work.

Paid sick leave would help increase employee retention and reduce turnover in all types of businesses. Estimated costs to replace just one full-time $12.00 per hour worker range from $6000 to $12,500. Policies that support flexible sick leave result in better retention and measurable declines in employee turnover in all types of businesses.

Hat tip toWashington Policy Watch. Click here to go to their article and download full report.

22 September 2011

HIA of waste management facilities in three European countries.

Click here to check out a more detailed diagram of the full chain of health impacts of waste management.

Click here to go to the full article.

Policies on waste disposal in Europe are heterogeneous and rapidly changing, with potential health implications that are largely unknown. We conducted a health impact assessment of landfilling and incineration in three European countries: Italy, Slovakia and England.

A total of 49 (Italy), 2 (Slovakia), and 11 (England) incinerators were operating in 2001 while for landfills the figures were 619, 121 and 232, respectively. The study population consisted of residents living within 3 km of an incinerator and 2 km of a landfill. Excess risk estimates from epidemiological studies were used, combined with air pollution dispersion modelling for particulate matter (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). For incinerators, we estimated attributable cancer incidence and years of life lost (YoLL), while for landfills we estimated attributable cases of congenital anomalies and low birth weight infants.

About 1,000,000, 16,000, and 1,200,000 subjects lived close to incinerators in Italy, Slovakia and England, respectively. The additional contribution to NO2 levels within a 3 km radius was 0.23, 0.15, and 0.14 μg/m3, respectively. Lower values were found for PM10. Assuming that the incinerators continue to operate until 2020, we are moderately confident that the annual number of cancer cases due to exposure in 2001-2020 will reach 11, 0, and 7 in 2020 and then decline to 0 in the three countries in 2050. We are moderately confident that by 2050, the attributable impact on the 2001 cohort of residents will be 3,621 (Italy), 37 (Slovakia) and 3,966 (England) YoLL. The total exposed population to landfills was 1,350,000, 329,000, and 1,425,000 subjects, respectively. We are moderately confident that the annual additional cases of congenital anomalies up to 2030 will be approximately 2, 2, and 3 whereas there will be 42, 13, and 59 additional low-birth weight newborns, respectively.

The current health impacts of landfilling and incineration can be characterized as moderate when compared to other sources of environmental pollution, e.g. traffic or industrial emissions, that have an impact on public health. There are several uncertainties and critical assumptions in the assessment model, but it provides insight into the relative health impact attributable to waste management.

Forastiere et al.: Health impact assessment of waste management facilities in three European countries. Environmental Health 2011 10:53

21 September 2011

Live streaming of conference keynote presentations - assets for health and wellbeing across the life course

The international conference on assets for health and wellbeing across the life course is happening Monday and Tuesday next week - 26-27th September 2011 - in London, England.

To enable individuals who are unable to join us at this event at the British Library conference centre in London next week we are streaming all four keynote presentations LIVE via the internet. You must register to access this live streaming by sending your name and email address to healthassetsconf@herts.ac.uk - you must register your interest ASAP, by Friday 10am at the latest.

Details of the keynote speakers and timings for the four presentations can be found on the conference website http://www.healthassetsconf.org.uk/.

Confirmed Keynote speakers:

Prof Michael Resnick
Professor of Paediatrics and Public Health, University of Minnesota
'Internal Strengths, External Supports': The Case for Promoting Resilience and Healthy Youth Development.

Sir Dr Harry Burns
Chief Medical Officer for Scotland
The importance of early years in creating life long wellbeing

Dr Anja Baumann
WHO Regional Office for Europe
Empowerment as an asset for mental health

Prof. Mel Bartley
Professor of medical sociology, University College London
Resilience as an asset for health across the life course

20 September 2011

HIA in Oregon, USA

Oregon, USA are doing some interesting work on HIA. The Oregon Health Authority has a general information page on HIA work in Oregon. The page has HIA webinars and slides, HIA reports as well as a link to join the Oregon HIA Network.

The Oregon HIA Network is a diverse group of over 250 professionals from government agencies, nonprofit and advocacy groups, health care organizations, and private sector companies. They share a common interest in incorporating health into decision making. The Network meets four times a year to increase communication, encourage collaboration and build our collective capacity for HIA.

Click here to go to the web page. 

16 September 2011

Environmental Health Analyst Job (USA)

The Analyst, Environmental Health, assists the Director, Environmental Health, with project deliverables for federally funded environmental health projects. The Analyst specifically works on projects related to Safe Water (e.g. drinking and recreational water, wastewater, water security) and the Built Environment (e.g. healthy community design). In addition, the Analyst supports the Director, Environmental Health on projects related to toxicology, chemical safety, and other environmental health issues, as needed.

Application process: Please submit resume, cover letter, and writing sample not to exceed two pages.
Contact information: No phone calls please.
Association of State and Territorial Health Officials
2231 Crystal Drive, Suite 450
Arlington,VA22202 (USA)
Fax: 571 527 3189
Email: resumes@astho.org

For more details click here.
Hat tip Nancy Goff, via Linkedin

Issue of IAPA on "emphasising enhancement in all forms of impact assessment"

There's new issue of Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal out on "Emphasising enhancement in all forms of impact assessment":

Emphasising enhancement in all forms of impact assessment: introduction to a special issue
Joao, Elsa; Vanclay, Frank; den Broeder, Lea
Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal (ISSN: 1461-5517); Volume 29, No. 3, pp. 170-180(11); September 2011

Maximizing benefits for biodiversity: the potential of enhancement strategies in impact assessment
Rajvanshi, Asha; Brownlie, Susie; Slootweg, Roel; Arora, Roshni
Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal (ISSN: 1461-5517); Volume 29, No. 3, pp. 181-193(13); September 2011

Enhancing benefits in health impact assessment through stakeholder consultation
Tamburrini, Ame-Lia; Gilhuly, Kim; Harris-Roxas, Ben
Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal (ISSN: 1461-5517); Volume 29, No. 3, pp. 195-204(10); September 2011

Enhancing the benefits of local content: integrating social and economic impact assessment into procurement strategies
Esteves, Ana Maria; Barclay, Mary-Anne
Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal (ISSN: 1461-5517); Volume 29, No. 3, pp. 205-215(11); September 2011

Converting project risks to development opportunities through SIA enhancement measures: a practitioner perspective
Rowan, Marielle; Streather, Tom
Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal (ISSN: 1461-5517); Volume 29, No. 3, pp. 217-230(14); September 2011

Application of a contribution to sustainability test by the Joint Review Panel for the Canadian Mackenzie Gas Project
Gibson, Robert B.
Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal (ISSN: 1461-5517); Volume 29, No. 3, pp. 231-244(14); September 2011

15 September 2011

INSPQ Bulletin politiques publiques et santé, 12 septembre 2011

Le colloque 2011 aura lieu les 15 et 16 septembre à Sherbrooke et mettra en lumière la richesse de l’intelligence collective locale. Le programme traitera la participation, le développement durable, les écoles citoyennes, l’urbanisme, les stratégies de mobilisation, le bénévolat et les médias sociaux, entre autres sujets, avec comme toile de fond ce postulat : ensemble on peut faire plus et aller plus loin.
Cette réunion, qui aura lieu à Washington du 29 octobre au 2 novembre 2011, est le plus grand rassemblement de professionnels de la santé publique dans le monde, attirant plus de 13 000 médecins, infirmières, administrateurs, éducateurs, chercheurs, épidémiologistes et autres spécialistes. Le programme aborde les questions actuelles et émergentes en matière de politique de la santé et de pratique.

9 September 2011

Strategic Environmental Assessments of Mining

Came across an interesting blog post via the Linkedin IAIA Group by Mehrdad Nazari:

"...One SEA which caught my attention is a recent SEA study completed in 2011 for the ‘Central Namib Uranium Rush’. It describes itself as the first ever SEA for a mineral province. However, it also notes that this “SEA differs from most others conducted elsewhere because the development in question is neither a policy, plan nor programme, but rather a collection of projects, each being conducted by individual companies that are not related to each other, and in many cases, undertaken in isolation of each other”. This made me wonder if the Namib SEA could also have been called a (Strategic) Cumulative Assessment. Also, this SEA arrived perhaps a bit late to the party. It seems that many key decisions have already been taken in advance of the SEAs.

As apparently characteristic for SEA studies, the Central Namib Uranium Rush study was also financed by a donor. In this case, Germany, through the Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR which is Germany’s Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources), appears to have provided the funding for the SEA study..."

Check out the full blog post here.

Photo courtesy of Babakathy on Wikipedia.

Improving Health in the USA: The Role of Health Impact Assessment

The US National Research Council has released a report on HIA. They were funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the California Endowment, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop a comprehensive process for HIA. It "calls for increased education and training, more emphasis on stakeholder involvement and reducing health disparities, and collaboration at all levels of government to support the incorporation of health considerations into decision-making".

I'd be interested to know what you think. Much of the report's content will seem familiar to those who have developed HIA guidance elsewhere. I think the process of developing contextually-specific guidance, and the discussions and debates had as part of that process, are often more important than their actual content. Worth a look.

7 September 2011

Online Public Health Courses at the People's Open Access Edu Initiative

Really interesting organisation providing reasonably priced/cheap online public health courses. They are not a university but they are accredited by the UK Royal Society for Public Health. As a fellow of the RSPH I'm really pleased that they are supporting this but I heard of this through a LinkedIn Group and not them!

If you have taken one or more of their modules I'd love to know what you thought of them in the comments.

Enrolling in a Peoples-uni module/unit costs £30 each - after 6 modules/units you are eligible for a Diploma and may be eligible to take the Dissertation for the Masters degree (which is equivalent to 3 modules/units) so the total cost of a Peoples-uni Diploma is £180 and Masters is £270.

Check out their website by clicking here.

Foundation sciences of Public Health.
Evidence Based Practice
Evaluation of Interventions
Introduction to Epidemiology
Public Health Concepts for Policy Makers
Public Health Ethics
Health Economics
Inequalities and the Social Determinants of Health

Public Health Problems.
Disaster management and emergency planning
Maternal Mortality
Preventing Child Mortality
Communicable disease
Non-Communicable Disease - CVD and Diabetes
Patient safety
Public Health Nutrition

4 September 2011

A Guide to Assessing the Health and Wellbeing Impacts of Opencast Mining

The Wales Health Impact Assessment Support Unit (WHIASU) has just published new research entitled ‘A Guide to Assessing the Health and Wellbeing Impacts of Opencast Mining’.

It has been written by WHIASU to help, support and advise individuals and organisations (local authorities, community members, voluntary organisations, local health boards, private developers/consultants and others) undertaking or considering undertaking a health impact assessment on an opencast mining proposal.

It is a best practice guidance document containing advice on conducting a HIA on any opencast proposal and contains the findings of a comprehensive literature review in a usable format for those wishing to follow the process.

The research is now available on the WHIASU website – www.whiasu.wales.nhs.uk

Public participation is good for science (and impact assessment)

A review of a decade of environmental citizen science – where the general public are involved in science as researchers – concludes that its benefits to science and society far outweigh concerns over data quality. Challenges can be overcome through volunteer training and should not be used to devalue citizen science programmes, say the researchers. Community-Based Monitoring (CBM) schemes have increased in popularity worldwide over the last decade. The two main types are: (i.) population monitoring, where non-expert citizens collect species data on birds, fish, amphibians and plants, or (ii.) ecosystem monitoring, where they monitor processes, such as water and air pollution.In the new study, scientists carried out an extensive review of published scientific research, official websites and non-academic literature to assess the contribution of CBM programmes to environmental programmes in the last decade.

Article: Conrad, C.C & Hilchey, K. G. (2011). A review of citizen science and community-based environmental monitoring: issues and opportunities. Environmental Monitoring Assessment. 176: 273-291.

Summary: http://tinyurl.com/3odfkrd