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International Public Health Symposium on environment and health research

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Texto de bienvenida del International Public Health Symposium on environment and health research (Madrid, 20-22 de octubre de 2008):

The relevance of environment and health (EH) research to policy making is well appreciated by researchers and policymakers alike. The constant progress in EH research provide a challenge to policy makers to find ways to address newly identified EH problems. On the other hand the public’s demand for policies to address their concerns requires tailor made research which may not have the same focus as that of the research community.

The WHO Regional Office for Europe has always recognized the need to close these gaps between research and policy making and to strengthen multi-disciplinary research approaches for public health and especially environmental health practice in order to effectively tackle the environmental health challenges. In addition there is a need for adequate communication strategies to address the general public in case of emerging environmental health crises.

For this reason, the WHO Regional Office for Europe and the Institute of Health Carlos III of the Spanish Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs with support of DG Research, Directorate Environment have agreed to organize an International Public Health Symposium with a special focus on Environment and Health in Spain in 2008. This symposium will provide an opportunity for discussion of the most recent developments in research on environment and health since the ‘An environment for better health’ conference which took place in Aarhus in preparation for the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in Budapest in 2004. It aims to bring together a wide range of scientists, research professionals, policy makers and representatives from non-governmental organizations from the WHO European Region that will ensure interesting discussions on how to better translate future research into policy making whilst continuing to identify emerging issues and research needs.

Since the public opinion plays an important role in emerging environment and health crises, representatives from the media will be involved in the symposium as well. A separate media workshop will be organized back to back with the symposium focussing on how to translate environment and health research issues for the general public in order to create better understanding and raise public awareness of this topic.

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