As part of the July 1, 2020 celebration of the 4th Annual Global Environmental Health (GEH) Day, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) announces/announced the launch of version 2.0 of its Climate Change and Human Health Literature Portal. The Portal contains state-of-the-science research on the human health impacts of climate change, as well as the drivers of these impacts. The 2020 GEH Day, focused on “Science at the Cutting Edge of Global Environmental Change and Health,” provides/provided an opportunity for NIEHS staff, and partners around the world to learn together from leading experts in the field. (Find out more at: www.niehs.nih.gov/gehday.)
To help make it easier to gain a deeper understanding about how climate change affects health, the newly expanded Portal addresses a significant challenge: research on climate change and health is broad, cross-cutting, inter-disciplinary, and multi-disciplinary. As a result, study findings are dispersed throughout the many disciplines engaged in climate change and health research, from biomedicine to the geophysical sciences. For public health, important studies also appear in the social and political science and economic literature as well. The NIEHS Portal offers one single access point to this broad body of global scientific literature. This comprehensive database includes more than 10,000 peer-reviewed articles and scientific papers published between 2007 and 2019. The Portal is available at: tools.niehs.nih.gov/cchhl.
“The Portal enables students, public health professionals, and government officials at all levels to explore the scientific basis of the effects of climate change on human health,” said John Balbus, M.D., NIEHS Senior Advisor for Public Health, and Director of the NIEHS-WHO Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health Sciences. “There really wasn’t a place where people could go to easily access those kinds of studies. We’ve created that place,” Balbus added.
Balbus explained the project’s goal: “To facilitate progress in research on climate change and health and its translation into public health action by creating a tool that makes it easier for people to find the information they’re looking for. By exploring the Portal, they may even find information they weren’t looking for, but which is very relevant to what they’re doing.”
The Portal also can be used to identify research on the health impacts of a variety of outcomes, ranging from the increased frequency of extreme weather, rising sea levels, and alterations in seasonal timing. It compiles index literature from databases including PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar. Relevant resources are tagged with keywords on topics such as adaptation, pollution, climate justice, economic costs, agricultural impacts, health implications, and many others. This curation helps users identify focused results of high-quality scientific research to inform their decisions and understanding about these critical issues.
Each entry is unique in the database, saving time and energy of spent sorting through duplicate search results. Results are provided as citations with abstracts and links to open-access or validated-source PDFs, when available. Search results can be exported, shared via e-mail and social media, and saved.
The Portal, which was originally created as a result of the Institute’s efforts to support the 3rd US Global Change Research Program’s National Climate Assessment (NCA), reflects NIEHS’ desire to make the evidence base that underlies the NCA more accessible to a global audience. Balbus commented, “We truly aim to facilitate broad access to the climate and health literature by offering studies from biomedical, climate, atmospheric, social and earth sciences, all in one location.”