Blog / December 1, 2020
By John Haynes, Juli Trtanj, and Helena Chapman (GEO Health Community of Practice)
The GEO Health Community of Practice (http://www.geohealthcop.org/) serves as a global platform to leverage expertise across sectors and geographic regions and to share Earth observation data and tools to support public health applications. Small Work Groups (http://www.geohealthcop.org/small-work-groups) offer a unique opportunity to bridge dialogue and action between the Earth and health science communities and encourage collaborations to address pressing environmental health issues.
These Work Groups allow contributing members to provide scientific and technical expertise on selected health-related topics for specific project tasks, projects, and activities (see table 1). The One Health concept – which describes the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health and promotes transdisciplinary collaborations to identify and mitigate risk to emerging health threats – serves as a holistic framework for collective discussion and activities of these Work Groups.
To address emerging global health issues, each Work Group aims to identify and engage health partners, clarify and address health needs for capacity building, and examine and address Earth observation and prediction gaps and needs. By purposively engaging with the health community and sharing valuable expertise across these work streams, members can identify robust Earth observation data and tools to build global capacity on monitoring environmental conditions and develop early warning systems that can predict outbreaks or other environmental risks. By galvanizing these energetic networks, the Work Groups can provide insight to decision-makers and stakeholders as well as inform ethical and appropriate long-term approaches for community resilience.
Future actions will include exploring public and private partnerships to share novel data and technology sources that are relevant to addressing scientific gaps and community needs. Additional activities aim to strengthen connections with the GEO Americas Caucus contributing members, especially as health was recently adopted as a fifth focus area. Notably, Work Groups will serve as multidisciplinary collaborations that connect experts and promote the use of innovative approaches that can enhance health decision-making and support timely environmental health applications that safeguard population health.
By joining a Small Work Group of the GEO Health Community of Practice, you can leverage your work with others who want to provide actionable research for decision-making activities. If interested, please subscribe to the community listserv (http://www.geohealthcop.org/join-community) and mention your preferred Small Work Group.
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