This headline caught my eyeA role for public and scientists in NIEHS research for one main reason, the NIEHS was were I a) started my career in tech after leaving academia and it's where I learned HTML and web design. Yes, this is where it all began for me.
Enough nostalgia, now to the meat of the article. The NIEHS (National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences) is where chemicals are tested to determine their effects on human health and the environment. In fact, research done at NIEHS revealed that the active ingredient in Ex-Lax was harmful to the liver. The new director of NIEHS wants to take their mission a step further, he wants the public to help guide them in their research priorities. What is it that the public, the American taxpayers, want to see researched. For Dr. Schwartz it comes down to this:
"Almost every complex disease, from diabetes, to obesity and heart disease, to many cancers, is, in part, caused by exposures from the environment," said Dr. Schwartz. "NIEHS is uniquely poised to improve the health of this nation. We are not limited by any one organ, system or disease -- we can use the breadth of our knowledge on environmental exposures to understand and intervene in the disease process. We can use science to reduce morbidity, extend longevity and improve an individual's quality of life."
This is an inspiring research goal. It, to me, encourages collaboration and creativity. And having worked one on one (and fixed the computers of) with the researchers of NIEHS, I can say these are a group of people who really deeply care about improving human health.
In the NIEHS Strategic Plan 2006 they want feedback on the following questions:
- What are the disease processes and public health concerns that are relevant to environmental health sciences?
- How can environmental health sciences be used to understand how biological systems work, why some individuals are more susceptible to disease, or why individuals with the same disease may have very different clinical outcomes?
- What are the major opportunities and challenges in global environmental health?
- What are the environmental exposures that need further consideration?
- What are the critical needs for training the next generation of scientists in environmental health?
- What technology and infrastructural changes are needed to fundamentally advance environmental health science?
Based on the publics responses and the decisions of the research team the research directions will be decided.
For more information on the NIEHS visit their homepage:National Institute of Environmental Health Science
Tris Hussey is a professional blogger and blog consultant, the Chief Blogging Officer for Qumana Software, and Managing Director of Qumana Services. He can be reached at tris AT qumana DOT com or tris AT trishussey DOT com.
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