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USGS Publishes its First Environmental Health Science Strategy

Learn more about our science strategies. A strategy was developed for each of the USGS Mission Areas.

Diagram showing three spheres - physical environment, living environment, and human health
The USGS defines environmental health science as the study of the interrelations among the quality of the physical environment, the health of the living environment, and human health.

The new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Environmental Health Science Strategy is one of seven recently released science strategies that span the portfolio of USGS science.

  • Climate and Land Use Change
  • Core Science Systems
  • Ecosystems
  • Energy and Mineral Resources
  • Environmental Health
  • Natural Hazards
  • Water

The Environmental Health Science Strategy summarizes national environmental health priorities that the USGS is best suited to address, and will serve as a strategic framework for USGS environmental health science goals, actions, and outcomes for the next decade. Implementation of this strategy is intended to aid coordination of USGS environmental health activities with other Federal agencies and to provide a focal point for disseminating information to stakeholders. The Toxic Substances Hydrology Program is a major contributor to USGS Environmental Health Science.

Vision, Mission, and Goals

The Science Strategy defines a vision, mission, and goals for USGS environmental health science:

Vision – The USGS is a premier source of the environmental health science needed to safeguard the health of the environment, fish, wildlife, and people.

Mission – The mission of USGS in environmental health science is to contribute scientific information to environmental, agricultural, natural resources, and public-health managers, who use that science to support sound decision making. USGS provides the science to:

  • Goal 1 — Identify, prioritize, and detect contaminants and pathogens of emerging environmental concern.
  • Goal 2 — Reduce the impact of contaminants on the environment, fish, wildlife, and people.
  • Goal 3 — Reduce the impact of pathogens on the environment, fish, wildlife, and people.
  • Goal 4 — Discover the complex interactions and combined effects of exposure to contaminants and pathogens.
  • Goal 5 — Prepare for and respond to environmental impacts and related health threats of natural and anthropogenic disasters.
Diagram showing relationship among environmental drivers and exposure to disease agents
The USGS Environmental Health Science Strategy addresses the relationship among environmental drivers, exposure to disease agents (contaminants and pathogens), and the complex responses to contaminant and pathogen exposure that result in environmental disease in wildlife, domesticated animals, and people.

Strategic Actions

The science strategy also includes 13 strategic science actions to achieve these goals. These actions will provide new tools and fundamental knowledge for managing the release, mitigation, management, and remediation of the most significant environmental contamination problems facing the Nation. The actions will characterize the factors that affect transmission of diseases and inform decisions to reduce the spread and adverse health outcomes of disease among free-ranging populations of aquatic and terrestrial organisms, domesticated animals, and humans.

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Page Last Modified: 27-Jun-2018 @ 07:15:37 PM EDT