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NIEHS Center for Oceans and Human Health and Climate Change Interactions at the University of SC

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We are pleased to announce a new collaborative effort between the Center for Coastal and Environmental Human Health (CCEHH) at the College of Charleston and the recently-founded NIEHS Center for Oceans and Human Health and Climate Change Interactions (OHHC2I) at the University of South Carolina. OHHC2I is focused on assessing the impacts of climate change on harmful algal bloom occurrence and virulence as well as microplastic waste in coastal waters. CCEHH will contribute to the work of OHHC2I through the work of Dr. Paul Sandifer, CCEHH's Founding Director, who will serve as Deputy Center Director in the Administrative Core of OHHC2I and help steer the work of the center and its collaborators as they work to meet their goals and objectives.

To learn more about OHHC2I click on any of the following links:

GOMRI Synthesis Workshop:

Developing an Operational Community Health Observing System for the Gulf of Mexico States

Since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010, numerous studies have investigated the environmental and human health consequences of this natural disaster. However, most of these studies lack baseline health data for the impacted region to facilitate comparisons of human health status before and after the natural disaster. This workshop will gather a diverse team of scholars from a range of fields to conceptualize a potential Community Health Observing System for the Gulf of Mexico states for disaster preparedness, prevention, and response.

  • When: November 14-16 2018
  • Where: Consortium for Ocean Leadership, Washington, DC, USA
  • Participation: by invitation only

Background: Numerous studies of human health consequences in Gulf state communities of the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill were launched almost immediately following the event and persisting to the present time. A common feature of these studies was that there was very little, and in most cases no, relevant, Gulf-wide baseline health information to facilitate before DWH-after DWH comparisons. Despite the paucity of baseline data, there is a considerable history of community health studies in the Gulf states, none of which were motivated by investigating responses to an oil spill. Since the spill a number of other studies of health effects, especially for psychosocial impacts, have been conducted. Now the central question is whether or not the diverse collection of data sets could be organized in such a way that they would present a good approximation of nearly adequate baseline data for natural disasters looking ahead, as well as for some reanalysis of data from studies stimulated by the DWH event. Most important is the potential for organizing available data, ongoing health information collection efforts, and technology into a comprehensive Community Health Observing System(s) for the Gulf of Mexico states that includes mental health indicators to increase preparedness for, response to, and recovery from future disasters in the region.

Assessing the human health consequences of future natural disasters, whether they be oil spills, hurricanes, flooding, or industrial accidents, requires the availability of a minimal core set of measurements. Specifying such a set of essential elements and practical data collection plans to facilitate community-level assessments is a core challenge for the work proposed here. We pose a series of questions, based on available information history and consideration of current experience with health observing systems elsewhere, that will provide foci for the project.

Joint Ocean Commission Initiative (JOCI):

Ocean Action Agenda

The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative (JOCI), a bipartisan, collaborative group of senior ocean leaders, recently released the Ocean Action Agenda, an interactive digital report available at The report includes 29 recommended actions that the Trump Administration and Congress should take to effectively manage America’s ocean and coastal resources, as well as 37 stories from across the United States that highlight the importance of the oceans and Great Lakes to the lives of all Americans. JOCI’s recommendations were informed by input gathered at Regional Ocean Leadership Roundtables convened in the U.S. Arctic and East, West, and Gulf Coasts. At these roundtables, JOCI brought together hundreds of local, state, tribal, and national leaders representing diverse industry, government, and nonprofit interests to identify creative solutions to critical ocean and coastal issues.

JOCI response to ocean policy executive order

- Click here to read the op-ed published in The Hill