To identify the environmental and occupational public health concerns of Romania and other Eastern European LMICs, we will conduct a Needs and Opportunities Assessment. The One Health philosophy seeks understanding of the complex impact human-made and natural events have upon the environment. The overall aim of this assessment is to gain a better understanding of targeted LMICs’ public health needs, as they relate to environmental and occupational health.
The goal of the needs assessment is to provide the Internal Advisory Committee with accurate information necessary for engaging in meaningful research activities surrounding the focus areas of the GEOHealth Hub. Here we outline an evidence-based needs assessment for identifying key issues and topics for further investigation. We are mindful that there are many strategies to achieve such an assessment.28-31 For this GEOHealth Hub we will follow a multi-tiered process in this assessment. First, environmental and occupational problem data will be collected and compiled from 12 different institutional perspectives. Subject matter experts, policy officials, and stakeholders will be consulted in this process. A heavy emphasis will be placed upon collecting objective data but qualitative data will not be ignored. Second, these data will be analyzed, scored, and ranked by the Internal Advisory Committee (13 members from a total of 6 LMICs plus US GEOHealth Center Hub director). Finally, based on these rankings, training needs and One Health-oriented pilot research projects will be prioritized.
Communities, environments, and resources will vary by country as may the sources for collecting needs data. In general, needs assessment data will be gathered from reports/surveys/studies and people (e.g. experts, governmental officials, stakeholders) from each country (see Appendix for example surveys). In order to be included in the assessment, data must be reputable, relevant, and/or measurable. Specifically, the data will be derived from:
After the 36 GEOHealth Hub team members have identified and received their half-day training, they will begin conducting a needs and opportunities assessment in their geographical area. The GEOHealth Hub 3-member teams of trainees will seek to interview a minimum of 25 experts, government officials, and stakeholders in conducting this needs assessment survey. Each institution team will be asked to compile their data along with sources of data and to rank the top 10 problems in each of 3 categories (aquatic health, food safety, and zoonotic diseases) as best they can by citing, when possible, objective health indicator criteria such as Daily Adjusted Life Years (DALY), mortality rates, premature birth rates, etc that are associated with the problem. This process is expected to take 9 months.