Strategic plan to further develop NIEHS
The vision of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is to discover how the environment affects people in order to reduce risks in the public from environmental, occupational, and food contamination by chemical, physical, and biological agents.
The missions of NIEHS should include the following,
1. To detect and respond to emerging environmental agents that potentially affect human health, on both a domestic and global scale.
2. Understand susceptibility in humans to complex health conditions as a result of exposure to the general and working environment, by basic studies, population studies, and translational studies, to prevent and reduce public health burden.
3. Strengthen and broaden the spectrum of exposure science, incorporating the knowledge in dose-response relationship and biological pathways, to develop complete scheme for risk assessment for environmental agents in the general population.
4. Communicate and cross-talk with health researchers, public health workers, governmental authorities, to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration in investigation, analysis, knowledge dissemination, as well as the development of novel methodologies and technologies.
5. Communicate with stakeholders, e.g., policymakers, intervention and prevention practitioners, clinicians, and the public to understand the demands for knowledge related to environmental health issues, to develop methods of knowledge managements and transferring, and to disseminate required knowledge.
6. Identify, inspire and train the next generation of EHS leaders from diverse backgrounds.
7. Assess economic impact of practices, behaviors, and policies that reduce exposure to environmental agents, through preventing diseases and disabilities, and to determine how prevention improves public health and minimizes disease and economic burden.
8. Understand fundamental mechanisms or biological pathways, e.g., oxidative stress, inflammation, epigenetic changes, mutagenesis, etc., underlying diseases caused or contributed by environmental exposure, to enhance preventive and intervention strategies.
To accomplish these mission, the future strategic plans of NIEHS should include,
1. Coordinating the research personnel of NIEHS into organized efforts. The expertise in research in environmental health science has been established to certain level in individual PIs of NIEHS. The connection to the national and societal needs will have to be enhanced. In addition, research efforts in environmental health should be considered not only remediating, but also preventive measures. Therefore, it is important to foresee potential environmental health problems in Taiwan and globally, investigate the nature of the problems, and develop strategic plans for solving the problems based on research findings.
2. Coordinating research resources domestically and internationally. The research resources from NHRI should be considered a seed, and be combined or coordinated with those from Ministry of Health, Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Labor, and other interested authorities, to expand the capability of environmental health research. A good example will be the US NIEHS
3. Coordinate research capabilities from academic institutions, medical centers, research institutes, to develop ground-breaking research technology and methods. Connections between NHRI and many academic institutions, medical centers, and research institutes have been established. These connections will be further developed from environmental health sciences perspectives. Recruitment of long-term follow-up cohorts will be encouraged and facilitated. Biological samples will be banked with adequate Institutional Reviews, which will provide opportunity for rechecking background exposure levels and their effects on health when newly contaminants are identified.
4. Facilitate international research collaborations and teaching exchanges related to environmental health sciences. The DEHOM and ETC have established significant international collaborations. These will be utilized as the starting point and will be expanded to solidify research output as a result of these collaborations. Long distance education and research exchange will also be established as a regular activity.
5. Establish food safety forum which gathers, investigates, and disseminates information and knowledge related to food safety. Regular exchange and collaboration with food safety-related authority will be warranted.
6. Provide regular policy recommendations to Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor, Environmental Protection Agency, and relevant policymakers.
7. Strengthen core laboratories and personnel for basic science, toxicology, analytical technologies, epidemiology, and exposure assessment.
8. Develop new technologies for detecting, measuring, bio-monitoring environmental agents; and well as new methods for determining health effects associated with exposure to these agents.