Most environmental health issues are multi causal with complex non-linear relationships between the environment and health. New tools and methods are needed to assist policy and decision making that cut across traditional policy making structures and support collaboration by different agencies at different administrative and spatial scales. This project is aimed at developing a new environmental health decision making model to support integrated policy and action in environmental health, especially at a local level. We are piloting the model using both a setting based approach (Housing domain) and a health outcome approach (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disorder). The proposed decision making model is based on four stages: problem framing, environmental health intelligence, model building and appraisal. The problem framing stage involves conceptualising the problem using an ecological framework. The second stage involves developing environmental health indicators. The third stage involves converting the conceptual model into a simulation model using a system of differential equations and systems dynamics modelling. Appraisal represents the final stage in assessment, and provides the point at which results are synthesised and interpreted by the stakeholders. Results of the model will be presented at the conference. The aim of the decision making model is to enable stakeholders to understand the dynamics of environmental health issues and simulate and compare and evaluate different policy decisions and their financial and health impacts. This project will improve on current methods and tools to assess policy relevant problems that have implications for working across the environment and human health interface.
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