We propose a one day thematic conference on occupational and environmental factors in neurological disease, coupled with practical workshops and an opening gathering with educational programming the afternoon and evening proceeding the main conference day. The goal of the conference is to advance the field of occupational and environmental health through a focus on occupational and environmental factors in neurological disease. It is intended to bring together a cross-disciplinary group of health care practitioners and researchers including physicians, nurses, industrial hygienists, and public health professionals. By addressing knowledge gaps relating to occupationally-related and environmentally-caused neurological disease, this conference will have importance in and relevance to clinical practice, epidemiological and experimental research, and public policy. The conference will provide a series of thematic presentations by recognized experts on a full range of topics covering the subject of occupational and environmental factors in neurological disease. It will integrate the disparate topics covered into an overarching framework that will address shared structure-activity relationships and mechanism for toxicants and common issues in clinical and epidemiological assessment. The conference content also will highlight the primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention of work-related and environmentally- caused neurological illness and injury (including regulatory strategies to do so). In addition, the program will includ non-didactic educational experiences to further promote these goals, including hands-on workshop opportunities and an opening reception including audiovisual programming that will highlight past neurotoxic outbreaks that impacted U.S. workers. A core group of leaders in the field of occupational and environmental neurology have been identified with outreach successfully indicating likely participation. The conference will be publicized using a combined strategy of multiple outreach mechanisms whose centerpiece will be an internet-based emphasis on the transmission of meeting announcements and the distribution of the preliminary program, using an approach we have previously employed successfully. We have also timed the meeting to leverage the national American Public Health Association meeting that will be held in the same host city, ending just before the proposed conference. We will evaluate attendees'educational experiences through structured assessment forms that will be systematically analyzed. We intend to disseminate the core content of the conference beyond its actual participants through audio-recording distribution.
Neurological illness and injury represents an important but under-appreciated group of occupational and environmental health problems among U.S. workers and the wider public. The goal of this conference is to increase awareness and broaden the knowledge base on this topic among occupational and environmental health professionals, including clinical practitioners, researchers, and policy makers.