The World Health Organization estimates that 24% of the global burden of disease stems from environmental exposures. In Colombia, air pollution remains the most pervasive environmental factor affecting morbidity and mortality, with approximately, 6000 deaths/year attributed to outdoor and 1100 more to indoor air pollution. Additionally, Colombia has the highest landslide-related risk of death in South America, and climate change may exacerbate this risk. Poorly designed cities also pose other health risks related to chronic diseases, which represent 76% of total disability adjusted life years in Colombia. The contribution of environmental and occupational exposures to the burden of chronic diseases in low- and middle-income countries remains uncertain. We therefore propose to determine priorities for policy-relevant research and training in climate change, air quality, and the urban environment for this 2-year planning grant. We will convene a network of investigators and institutions to establish a 5-year strategic plan for analysis and capacity building activities of a new global environmental and occupational health (GEOHealth) Hub. Our overarching goal is to design an interdisciplinary GEOHealth) Hub to serve the Latin American region. To achieve this goal, we will pursue three Aims: 1) Too assess the needs and opportunities in the area of environmental and occupational health within Colombia;2) To establish a collaborative network of investigators and institutions addressing GEOHealth issues for the purpose of conducting advanced research and developing comprehensive training programs;in so doing, we will create a center of excellence in this scientific domain for the region;and 3) To formulate a plan for research and capacity building, based on results from Aims 1 and 2, that will define the early agenda of the GEOHealth hub for the development and long-term sustainability of focused efforts in the field of global environmental and occupational health, sorely needed to inform both near and long-term policy decisions. The proposed GEOHealth hub closely matches current Colombian environmental goals and would generate the knowledge and training needed to achieve informed, science-based environmental health decision-making.

Public Health Relevance

Environmental exposures contribute substantially to chronic diseases in Latin America. Health risks from climate change, air pollution and poorly designed cities have been identified concerns for Colombia. We will conduct a needs and opportunities assessment from an institutional consortium to plan for a Global Environmental &Occupational Health (GEOHealth) Hub for Colombia and the broader region.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Fogarty International Center (FIC)
Resource-Related Research Projects (R24)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1-SET-D (GH))
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Jessup, Christine
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Santander Industrial University
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Rodríguez-Villamizar, Laura A; González, Beatriz Elena; Vera, Lina María et al. (2015) Environmental and occupational health research and training needs in Colombia: A Delphi study. Biomedica 35 Spec:58-65