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IJERPH, Vol. 12, Pages 16-31: Applying an Ecohealth Perspective in a State of the Environment Report: Experiences of a Local Public Health Unit in Canada

23 Dec 2014

We applied an Ecohealth perspective into a State of the Environment report for Grey Bruce Health Unit and summarized environmental and health data relevant for public health practice. We aimed for comprehensiveness in our data compilation, including: standard media categories (e.g., air, water, land); and ecological indicators (e.g., vectors, forests, wetlands). Data sources included both primary (collected by an organization) and secondary (assembled by others). We organized indicators with the Driving forces-Pressure-State-Exposure-Effect-Action (DPSEEA) framework created by the World Health Organization. Indicators of air, water and land quality generally appeared to point towards a healthy state. Vector-borne diseases remained low. Forests and wetlands appeared to be in good condition, however more monitoring data was needed to determine trends in their ecological indicators. Data were not available on biodiversity and fish conditions. The results of our application of the DPSEEA framework suggest that routinely collected environmental and health data can be structured into the framework, though challenges arose due to gaps in data availability, particularly for social and gender analyses. Ecohealth approaches had legitimacy with broader healthy community partners but applying such approaches was a complex undertaking.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health