Engaging State Policy Makers on EHS Issues: Strategies for translating research results to inform policy development

American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting

Monday, November 2, 2015: 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Oral
A considerable amount of environmental health policy is made at the state level. However, state legislators often lack the necessary time, resources, and investigative staff to become fully informed about the current science surrounding critical environmental health issues. Due to this trend of increasing environmental policy development at the state level, approaches for fostering bi-directional communication between scientific experts who can provide evidence-based information and the policy makers who could benefit from it are urgently needed. While some legislative bodies have research resources, these are often predominantly focused on political and/or historical aspects. The extensive research conducted by academic biomedical, environmental and public health researchers, who are actively involved in studying the impacts of environmental exposures on human health, represents an untapped resource that could assist legislators in better understanding critical health impacts of environmental exposures. The proposed session will discuss ongoing strategies for bridging this gap, and describe successful and ongoing approaches for providing accurate scientific information and translating current research results on significant environmental health issues facing state policy makers. These initiatives include methods for collecting and assimilating data to establish strategies for identifying the educational needs of policy makers and for responsively providing this information in a timely and comprehensible fashion.

 
Session Objectives: Discuss efforts to introduce state legislators to university based EHS research and to assist them in leaning about the science surrounding environmental health issues and exposures. Describe the development and implementation of workshops for state legislators that focus on environmental health issues such as hydraulic fracturing, threats to the water supply, renewable energy and climate change. Identify methods and techniques for translating complex research results for use by the public and policy makers. Discuss strategies to foster ongoing collaboration between researchers, governmental agencies and policy makers.

 
Organizer: Heather Reddick, DrPH
Moderator: Heather Reddick, DrPH

 
8:30am Strategies for addressing EHS policy issues at the regional level
David Osterberg, MS, MA

 
8:50am Working effectively with state legislators
Doug Farquhar, JD

 
9:10am Translating research results for policy makers and the public
Robin Fuchs-Young, PhD

 
9:30am Engaging environmental protection agencies at the state level
Heather Reddick, DrPH

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