The Colombia-Texas Global Environmental and Occupational Health Hub Collaborative (ColTex-GEOH) is a two year exploratory proposal that builds on two decades of a unique collaboration between The University of Texas School of Public Health (UTSPH) in Texas, USA, and the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (PUJ) Center for Ergonomic Studies in Colombia, a middle-income country (LMIC) as specified by the FOA. In Colombia, environmental and occupational health problems have long been a pressing public health concern, and there is an urgent need for practical, action-oriented interventions to address this concern. For the most part, these concerns have led to research and training responses to immediate urgent needs. To be effective, however, multidisciplinary actions should be planned according to priorities based on a clear assessment of needs and opportunities that foster the development of locally sensitive and available solutions, recognition of the sociopolitical context of work and how best to translate scientific research findings into effectiv policies. Building on previous collaborative work between UTSPH and PUJ, this proposal focuses on workplace safety and industrial hygiene, ergonomics and human factors and the psychosocial environment. During the project period, and with an emphasis on building sustainable and autonomous capacity-building, we will: (1) assess the needs and opportunities, including information and infrastructure capabilities, in the selected occupational areas in Colombia, in order to identify both the research and training priorities and the appropriate Hub partners;(2) identify high-quality, motivated, nationally recognized active groups within prestigious local institutions of higher learning, governmental departments and relevant private stakeholders, increasing the potential for the proposed ColTex-GEOH Hub's success;(3) develop an activities program and strategic plan, along the selected occupational health spectrum that emphasize the greatest applicability to future policy and program development;and, (4) prepare an evaluation and benefits plan demonstrating the potential improvements towards building and sustaining capabilities.
The project's public health relevance lies in the expected outcomes of establishing a Colombia-Texas GEOHealth Hub Collaborative to develop a strategic plan of priorities in the selected EOH areas based on a need and opportunities assessment to demonstrate the potential improvements towards building and sustaining capabilities with high policy impact.