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Oceans and Human Health Public Health Workshop, January 2006

Assessing Public Health Risks: Coastal Observations for Decision Making January 23-25, 2006 St. Petersburg, Florida <br/><br/>As our coastal waters and beaches become more developed, multi-use areas, they are subject to a combination of human and environmental stressors, the impact of which is often unclear and difficult to manage. At the same time, scientists are working to better understand, monitor, and predict these complicated systems.<br/><br/>With support from this award, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) will organize a workshop to bring together managers, coastal public health officials, and scientists to identify observations and environmental information needed for ecosystem-based decision making for public health issues related to coastal waters. A key goal of this workshop will be to develop a blueprint for building an integrated global ocean observation and disease surveillance system that can deliver useful and timely information about ocean and coastal public health risks to managers and decision-makers. While the need for observations to address a suite of public health issues is apparent, this workshop will focus on issues broadly related to beach management, including pathogens, marine diseases, harmful algal blooms and marine biotoxins, and will introduce the use of sentinel species issues as they related to the above topics.<br/><br/>The format for this 2.5 day workshop will be interactive with a combination of presentations from managers, scientists, and the observation community, as well as a series of targeted working groups focused identifying solutions to key knowledge gaps related to ocean observations and predictions. A report will be produced for beach and coastal public health managers, and used in the planning process for the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS). The results of this workshop will also inform planning processes, funding activity, regulations, and the evolution of operational capabilities of agencies working at the interface of oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes, and human health.

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